Panoteca San Miguel

Panoteca San Miguel, which used to be a ghost bakery that operated on an order-pickup basis, now has its very own spot in Avenida José de Diego, in the Monacillo Urbano area of San Juan. The bakery has opened its doors to greet customers with new offerings of wine, cheese, jams, freshly made sandwiches and pizzas, as well as quality coffee with a barista in house.

“The idea is to offer clients a baker’s breakfast. Small pastries, fresh bread and coffee to start the day for early risers,” said owner Diego San Miguel.

Opening a locale was something San Miguel saw further down the line, but as production started growing and so did the need for more space and bigger ovens, the baker quickly found himself looking for the next place Panoteca San Miguel could call home.

The new space, with an investment of $200,000, has tall ceilings, ideal for a bakery, and a welcoming atmosphere that will entice neighboring wanderers with its delicious aromas. Freshly made, straight-out-of-the-oven croissants, doughnuts, mallorcas, “bobois” and more can be found early in the morning, as well as the classics: baguettes and Campesino bread, a Panoteca San Miguel signature item.

By 10:30 a.m., sandwiches and focaccias start rolling out of the back for those who are looking for a quick bite for lunch. The Jambon Beurre sandwich is a staple and a must-try with cornichons, Grana Padano cheese, Prosciutto Cotto and butter. Simple, yet delicious.

For San Miguel, using local and fresh ingredients is at the forefront of the bakery’s philosophy, teaming up with local delivery service PRoduce, to ensure only the freshest herbs, vegetables and fruits are used in his pizzas and sandwiches that are made fresh every day.

Following that philosophy, he also partnered with local coffee roasters Baraka Coffee Co., a small batch roasting company that uses refined and locally grown coffee beans. From the breads, to the sandwiches and the coffee, all ingredients are locally sourced, meaning your visit also supports the local farming industry.

Sticking to his roots, San Miguel wants to offer simple yet flavorful bites. The baker recognizes the new space is an opportunity to hone down on the classics, but also experiment and try new things.

“For me, it has been a learning process and I’m excited to continue learning and trying new things. Exploring opportunities with cheese is something I’ve always wanted to try as cheese and bread go well together, and the same thing happens with wine,” he said.

The entrepreneur is grateful to the many local restaurants and businesses that have supported his work from the start three years ago, giving him the space to explore and figure out what works. He’s especially grateful to his loyal customers, who week after week, made the transition from a ghost kitchen into a brick-and-mortar business a reality that now employs 10 people. The baker realized being able to offer a more human experience, chatting with his customers and seeing their faces gave meaning to the whole process.

Before, customers would make their orders through the Panoteca San Miguel Instagram page and then pick their goods up at the ghost bakery on Paraná Street where it was located. Now, having a store where a little community of bread lovers can come and pick up some quality coffee to go with their purchases and other goods on the way, is a priceless experience.

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