The word secret is used as a double meaning for this new local bakery. Owners Adriana Negrón and Jose Torres have worked tirelessly to uncover the secret of traditional Puerto Rican flavors in an approachable way through their homemade pastries and donuts. The real “secret” to the success of this business, however, is the artistic approach to food design and guava that comes straight from Puerto Rico.
While the two owners have had different careers rooted in culinary art for over 11 years, they met at a Florida restaurant. After moving to Colorado a little over three years ago, the duo merged their passion for baking and introduced traditional Puerto Rican flavors to the Denver food scene.
Although both Negron and Torres were unemployed due to COVID-19-related closings last year, that setback resulted in their golden opportunity to explore a burgeoning idea that took more than 12 months to plan. With no friends or family in Denver, the team took the initiative and distributed free samples using word of mouth and social media to get honest feedback. It wasn’t until December 2020 that El Secreto fully launched with a fully functional website for online orders.
Much like so many bakeries that popped up in the last year, El Secreto is a pick-up and delivery service that works entirely in a commissioner’s kitchen. With plans to open a bakery in the future, Negron and Torres have had success with their nondescript delivery service.
With seasonal flavors sporadically marking the menu, some classics from Mallorca ($ 3 to $ 3.50 each) to Quesitos ($ 2.50 each) remain in the foreground. Aside from the fun and funky donut flavors like piña colada and peanut butter and jelly, to strawberry shortcake and creme brulee, some of the real stars of the menu include desserts that reflect Puerto Rican culture. The quesito is a puff pastry filled with queso crema, and the mallorcas are sweet buns wrapped in a familiar cinnamon roll shape. At El Secreto, these mini-breads are simple or filled with queso crema.
As delicious as these other desserts may be, it’s the guava pastry that really catapults this bakery into the spotlight. The guava pastry ($ 4 for $ 6) is exactly what it sounds like – puff pastry filled with guava paste from Puerto Rico and dusted with fine powdered sugar.
The beauty of these baked goods is their flexibility, which you can enjoy at any time of the day. They are not specifically reserved for desserts.
“We are inspired by the flavors of childhood. In Puerto Rico, anyone can enjoy this anytime, ”said Negron.
The real inspiration for one of Denver’s best kept secrets is the team’s passion for creating unique donut flavors that appeal to the masses while introducing the classic sweet treats of Puerto Rico.
More information on pricing and delivery for El Secreto can be found online here. Delivery takes place within 24 to 72 hours to ensure freshness on the same day.
All photographs by Brittany Werges.