Silverthorne’s Panaderia La Escondida, ‘The Hidden Bakery,’ now sells authentic street tacos, tortas in addition to baked goods
Panaderia La Escondida has beefed up its menu with a food item practically everyone loves — tacos — and the bakery is doing it at a price that’s kind to just about anyone’s budget.
“It’s been a week now and the word is just starting to go out,” said Kevin Pelen, owner of the off-the-beaten-path bakery in Silverthorne that recently started turning out tacos along with pastries, muffins, dessert empanadas, loaves of bread and other baked goods.
The last time the Summit Daily News caught up with Pelen, he was building a strong local following after opening the bakery at 252 Warren Ave. inside the same shopping complex as the ReSaddled Thrift Store in fall 2017.
Now, the sweet smells wafting about the bakery are met with the savory scent of carne asada and chorizo, just a couple of the proteins being plated inside Pelen’s Mexican-style tacos.
Loaded on small flour and corn tortillas with cilantro, diced onions, salsa and guacamole, these are “authentic street tacos,” he boasted, adding that he’s always looking to measure his tacos against the best ones he can find on his regular trips to Mexico.
Originally from Guatemala but a resident of Summit County for more than 17 years, Pelen is no stranger to tacos. In fact, he opened the Tacos Tequila Restaurant in Dillon before Panaderia La Escondida, which translates to “The Hidden Bakery,” but said he decided to sell the Dillon business to better manage the responsibilities of a growing family.
Pelen said his regulars missed his tacos so much that, after some pushing, they have convinced him to put them on the bakery’s menu. It took a couple of years for Pelen to pull the trigger on the idea, and the bakery is now doing tortas and quesitacos in addition to the street tacos.
Pelen knows full well that tacos have become hugely popular across America. He can’t pinpoint exactly why everyone seems to love them so much, but he thinks it might have something to do with the familiarity of the dish.
“I feel like tacos are like the (Mexican version) of pizza. I know pizza is from Italy, but I feel like Americans, we eat more pizza than Italy. Tacos are like pizza: You can’t beat tacos. They’re just good.”
Unlike many local businesses in Summit County, Pelen’s restaurant relies almost exclusively on locals to stay afloat. He estimates as many as 95% of his customers at the bakery live in or around Summit County, and he said he has tried to keep his prices down — $2.50 per taco — in hopes of better serving the community.
“There are people here who make $12 an hour, so you have to think about those people, too,” he said, adding that he knows what it’s like going out to eat with his family and running into a $100 bill.
And for anyone who enjoys supporting local businesses, the bakery-turned-taco-shop is the epitome of a family-owned, family-run business. Pelen’s father, Byron; his wife, Anyela; and the couple’s 6-year-old son all lend a hand at the bakery, along with a few other workers.
The bakery opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes for the night at 8. During summer, the bakery is closed Sundays.
Considering the bakery’s prep work can bring Pelen in as early as 4 a.m., it makes for some long days for the 32-year-old business owner. But if you ask him, he doesn’t seem to mind.
“Oh, I have to” work long days, he said as he broke into a smile. “I have no choice, right? I have a family to support.”
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