Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Hartford Business: Sol De Borinquen Bakery
We have long meant to take a trip inside Sol De Borinquen Bakery on Park Street. On our many journeys to El Mercado Grocer we noticed long lines in the bakery and figured it had to be worth checking out. So when Pete Sopressata sent us a message saying he had found "the best sandwich in Hartford" at Sol De Borinquen, we decided it was time to finally make our way over there.
As soon as we walked into the bakery we knew it had to be good. A line of about 30 people snaked throughout the entire space. We started in line too far away from the case to glimpse the food, but we could see from the pace of the workers that this bakery was used to being busy. While we waited in line we noticed that almost every customer left with a loaf of fresh baked bread.
We had been told that the "pepusa" was the "best sandwich in Hartford" so that was an automatic. We also decided on a cubano sandwich for $1.75. The baked goods were extraordinarily inexpensive. A piece of cheesecake fo 75 cents? With all due respect to Mozzicato's and Modern Pastry, Sol De Borinquen is selling awesome pastries at a fraction of the price.
For the English speaking only like ourselves, the menu was a little daunting. There is a wide variety of items on the menu and no english translation. While we have heard Spanish spoken almost exclusively in the bakery, we have always managed to get by ordering in English.
And, when we did get to the display case, we were impressed.
On subsequent trips we would get a loaf of fresh baked bread that everyone seems to leave with and can confirm that it is excellent. This trip though was about the pepusa and to see if it is in fact the best sandwich in Hartford. The cubano sandwich we ordered was $1.75 and the pepusa $6.50. The reason for the disparity was clear when we got our sandwiches, the pepusa was about four times the size of the cubano. The idea of being able to pick up a small sandwich for under $2 if one isn't in the mood for a full size sandwich is an excellent option.
Apparently a pepusa is a sandwich with about four different types of meat. It was good. Really good. The cubano was also very good. We also left with an unbelievably inexpensive slice of cheesecake and a cannoli, both excellent. While we can confidently give a Sad City recommendation to Sol De Borinquen, we aren't willing to hand over the title of Hartford's Best Sandwich to the pepusa. The search has been going on for over a decade and we have yet to find a hands down winner. But rest assured, we will keep trying.