Opening Guatemalan Bakery Fulfills Hartford Woman's Dream

Karen Valenzuela says she has saved since moving to the U.S. 10 years ago to make Aurora's Bakery a reality.

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Throughout the pandemic, restaurants have faced significant struggles. Yet, some eateries are opening brand new.

Aurora’s Bakery has now been open for two months. Wednesday the owners were able to do something it couldn’t when they first opened the doors - hold a proper grand opening.

Joined by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Aurora’s Bakery owner Karen Valenzuela ceremoniously christened a business she had dreamed about for years.

“I have been saving forever for this moment,” said Valenzuela.

Inside the bakery are authentic Guatemalan delicacies. Pastries and sweets are sold alongside savory traditional dishes.

These are all things Valenzuela first learned to make as an 11-year-old girl working at her uncle’s bakery in Guatemala. When she arrived in the U.S. at 14 that came to a halt.

“I tried looking for a job as a baker, but I was too young. Nobody wanted to hire me,” she said.

Valenzuela is now 24 and after saving for 10 years, has opened Aurora’s with her mother, sister and brother-in-law. Hartford business leaders say this is the perfect fit for the Frog Hollow community.

“People want a different cuisine,” said Shannon Mumley, small business development director for the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why a Guatemalan bakery opening up is one of the most perfect things that could happen right now.”

Aurora’s is one of a handful of Hartford eateries that have opened amidst the pandemic.

“People are seeing that things are going to be turning around soon and I think people are taking advantage of that and thinking about what they can be doing and opening up,” added Mumley.

Valenzuela and her family’s dream business are open and are hoping the comfort food of their homeland will provide some comfort here too.

“We want people from everywhere we want you to try something new a different flavor and homemade,” said Valenzuela.

The menu of what is served inside is long. It includes breakfast lunch and early dinner and ranges from sweet to spicy.

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