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Vicente Sacramento and Graciela Rojas
Emian's European Bakery
on

Credit:Susan Kepecs

Occupation: Co-owners, bakers, cooks and everything else!

Where: Emian's European Bakery, 4544 Monona Dr.

Why you should go: Sacramento and Rojas, who've been on the Madison restaurant scene for years, recently sold the Sacramento Bakery on Odana and took over Emian's. They're worth following.

How come you swapped your panaderÃa mexicana for a Euro-style bakery?

Sacramento: I worked so many years in a Mexican bakery ' I wanted something new. Learning European recipes from Emian's ex-owner was lots of fun.

Rojas: We were thinking about selling the Sacramento when Emian's came up for sale. We came in and sat down like regular clients and had coffee. We liked the place, and right then and there we decided to buy it. We had ups and downs with the Sacramento, but fortune is smiling on us here. The American system of structuring businesses helped us. This bakery was very well-organized, with lots of wholesale clients, including Steep & Brew and Cool Beans. When I took over I was overwhelmed by all the bookkeeping, but I've got it under control now. Finally, we're going to have some time to relax with our family.

European baking is very decorative. I love making and eating cheese danish and strudels! It's easier than Mexican baking ' to make a full line of pan dulce (Mexican sweet rolls) you have to prepare many different doughs every day. For European baking we make several kinds, but not as many.

Vicente and I met in a bakery in Puebla, Mexico, 19 years ago, and here we are ' still in a bakery! At first we were afraid the regular customers would be surprised by the change of owners at Emian's, but it's been fine.

So you've given up pan dulce?

Rojas: Never! We still make a nice variety ' conchas, cuernos, rebanadas, empanadas de crema and other favorites. And we still have our famous flan, but now we do chocolate mousse, too.

We'll do some holiday specialties ' fruitcakes for Christmas, and on Jan. 6, Epiphany day, we'll have rosca de reyes, a coffee cake that's traditional in Mexico. It's like the king cakes they make in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

Sacramento: Ubaldo Mora makes our cakes. He's been baking since he was born. His grandfather and his dad were bakers in Mexico. When he came to the States looking for work in a Mexican bakery, he found us. He makes all kinds ' tres leches, chocolate, vanilla, wedding ' sometimes we even get requests for divorce cakes!

You also serve breakfast and lunch?

Rojas: We have all the old Emian's specialties ' eggs, cinnamon bread French toast, panini, soups and sandwiches. I was delighted to discover lunch croissants with feta and spinach.

Sacramento: We're adding dinner hours, starting Dec. 7. We'll have new menu items, and there'll be some Mexican specialties ' quesadillas, burritos and, of course, our signature cemitas.

Rojas: Sen. Feingold loves those. Once I asked him, 'When you're president, will you still come to eat cemitas?' He laughed. I hope he'll find us, now that we're in Monona.

How do you manage to do so much?

Rojas: It's not just us. Our whole family ' our parents, our older kids ' has been with us since the start. They all have a lot of experience in this business.

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