The word secret is used as a double-entendre for this new local bakery. Owners Adriana Negrón and Jose Torres have worked tirelessly to expose the secret of traditional Puerto Rican flavors in an approachable manner through their homemade pastries and doughnuts. However, the real “secreto” to this shop’s success is the artistic approach to food design and guava sourced directly from Puerto Rico.
While both owners have separate careers rooted in the culinary arts that span over 11 years, they met working in a restaurant in Florida. After moving to Colorado just a little over three years ago, the duo merged their passion for baking and introducing traditional Puerto Rican flavors to the Denver food scene.
Though both Negron and Torres were left without a job due to COVID-19 related closures last year, this setback led to their golden opportunity to explore a budding idea that took over 12 months’ worth of planning. Without any friends or family in Denver, the team took initiative and gave out free samples, relied on word of mouth and social media to get honest feedback. It wasn’t until December 2020 that El Secreto fully launched with a fully working website equipped for online ordering.
Similar to so many bakeries that popped up in the last year, El Secreto is a pick-up and delivery service exclusively working out of a commissary kitchen. With plans to open a bakery in the future, Negron and Torres have found success with their unassuming delivery service.
With seasonal flavors sporadically marking the menu, a few classics remain at the forefront from mallorcas ($3-$3.50 each) to quesitos ($2.50 each). Aside from the fun and funky doughnut flavors like piña colada and peanut butter and jelly to a strawberry shortcake and crème brûlée, 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 rolls coiled into a familiar cinnamon roll shape. These mini breads can be found plain or stuffed with queso crema at El Secreto.
As insanely delicious as those other desserts may be, it’s the guava pastry that really catapults this bakery into the limelight. The guava pastry (4 for $6) is exactly what it sounds like—flaky puff pastry stuffed with guava paste from Puerto Rico and dusted with finely powdered sugar.
The beauty of these pastries is their flexibility to be enjoyed at any time of the day, they aren’t reserved specifically for dessert.
“We take inspiration from childhood flavors. In Puerto Rico, anybody can enjoy these at any time,” Negron said.
The real inspiration behind one of the Denver’s best-kept secrets is the team’s passion for crafting unique doughnut flavors that appeal to the masses while also introducing Puerto Rico’s classic sweet treats.
More information about pricing and delivery for El Secreto can be found online here. Delivery is expected within 24 to 72 hours to ensure same day freshness.
All Photography by Brittany Werges.