Vicky Bakery has just conquered one more corner, this time in Coral Gables.
Its new location at 243 University Dr. is equipped with the popular side window where coladas and café con leches are the order of the day. Locals stop in to grab their daily coffee before heading to work.
Inside the bakery, display cases show off an assortment of guava pastelitos, ham croquetas and other treats along with Cuban sandwiches and birthday cakes.
“The reaction of people in the neighborhood to our bakery has been positive,” said Mike Belaustegui, one of the owners. “There aren’t many places in the area where you can grab a cup of coffee for $1.”
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Belaustegui and his business partner Jose Soto said the 13th location of the bakery chain, which is owned by members of the Cao family, is a precursor to an expansion leaning toward a national franchise.
Vicky Bakery opened its first shop in Hialeah 42 years ago, a dream come true for owners Antonio y Gelasia Cao. The couple, who emigrated from Cuba to Miami with their two children in 1968, had always wanted to have their own business.
They had already made a name for themselves working in La Vencedora, a popular bakery in Cardenas, Cuba. Antonio was a baker and Gelasia worked as a cashier.
In 1972, they were able to buy a small bakery in Hialeah and started making guava pastelitos, using the same recipe that Antonio learned in Cuba and hasn’t changed in all these years.
“Our grandparents started a bakery that didn’t produced baked goods and provided them to lunch trucks,” said Antonio J. Cao, 30, grandson of the founder and son of Pedro Antonio Cao, president of Vicky Enterprises. “Because of licensing issues, they had to open to the public and that’s how the first bakery was inaugurated.
“My grandpa is 82 years old now and he’s the one who’s in charge of quality control.”
Cao is determined to turn his family’s legacy into a franchise that extends to other cities throughout the United States. He knows the business well and started learning it as a child.
“I grew up watching my family work in this field. I used to put on my apron when I was 8 years old and I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
“We see ourselves expanding,” Cao said. “For now, we’re working on obtaining licenses to open other businesses but the next thing is franchising.”