Monday, May 27, 2024

Dulce De Leche Bakery


1769 Broadbridge Avenue
Argentinian Classic’s

Dine In or Take Out
Monday – Saturday: 8am – 6pm
Sunday: 9am – 2pm

By Barbara Heimlich

It caught my eye – the Argentine flags flying and draped over a car.  It was the semifinals of the World Cup, and, as a Lionel Messi fan, who was playing for the Argentine National Team, I had to stop in – after all, who doesn’t love cafes and the opportunity to talk all about The Beautiful Game?

Dulce De Leche is an Argentine cafe run by a Mendocino family. They offer various American and Argentine foods, such as facturas, vilgilante, media luna, miguelitos, sandwhiche de miga, empanadas and many more.

Everything I have bought there is delicious.  I have become addicted to their spinach and tuna empanada (though apparently the beef empanadas are the top seller).  If you aren’t familiar with Argentine food (and I’m not) they also have cannoli’s, bite sized cupcakes, brownies, and beautiful cakes.

Dulce De Leche Bakery is charming.  You can bring a laptop and spend time eating breakfast or lunch while sipping on one of their specialty coffees.  It’s immaculate, they sell Argentine coffee so you can brew your own at home.

So just how did an Argentine bakery spring up in a neighborhood that does not have an Argentine population?

In 2012, Laura Castro started baking cakes for her kid’s birthday parties as a hobby. Word spread and people started following her Facebook page, and she began to sell cakes through her Facebook page. For the past 10 years she has created amazing, delicious, and detailed cakes. She fell in love with bringing ideas to life, to her making cakes is an art.

In April of 2020, during a worldwide pandemic, the Castro family decided to take a risk and invest in a small corner property on Broadbridge and Canaan Rd. that later became the start of a new journey, the creation of Dulce de Leche.

Laura and her family took a leap of faith and began working on this business. They faced many obstacles in the process but in the end they created a restaurant that represent their culture and the sense of family that they bring with them.

On opening day Estrada said she and her husband, Diego Castro, were shocked that the bakery, believed to be the first of its kind in Fairfield County, had been an immediate hit.  “All of my product ran out,” she said. “Everything ran out. I don’t know when I started to bake again to refill it,” Estrada said.

“That shows us that there’s been something that this community has been missing that I think we definitely put out there now that people love it,” said Mathew Castro, one of the couple’s sons. “All types of cultures come in. They enjoy food, enjoy the atmosphere, the pastries. People enjoy it.”

Estrada and Castro were born in Argentina. With the country in a severe economic depression in the late 1990s early 2000s, there were few economic opportunities to be had. The two emigrated to Yonkers, New York in 2000 and moved to Stratford in 2018. Castro worked various jobs from construction to newspaper delivery and at an auto shop. Estrada worked as a school bus monitor to make ends meet.

One day, Estrada said she bought a cake for one of her sons. She didn’t like it.  “It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted something else, something special for my son,” she said. “So I started to make them. I liked it so much I started taking courses. I couldn’t go to school so I took online cooking courses with the money I had.”

They bought the property in 2020, during the pandemic, then spent more than a year renovating it, with the entire family working weekends to get the interior ready and to source commercial baking equipment.

Estrada said her oldest son, an industrial design student at the University of Bridgeport, designed the website and the logo for the bakery. Castro said he was able to use his construction experience to remodel the property. Everyone in the family he said, participated in the cleanup and renovation.

Put a stop to Dulce De Leche Bakery on your “to do” list.  Well worth it.


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