BERLIN — Family is more than just part of the name for the newest bakery in town, run by two brothers with plenty of help from relatives and an expanded menu drawing from their own upbringing.
Danny and Nelson Donell opened Family’s Bakery and Restaurant last month at 259 New Britain Road, formerly the home of Lili's Bakery and Cakes. While they’re still continuing to serve cakes, cookies and confectionaries, the brothers have brought in more variety with Hispanic foods that can serve as a whole meal, such as rice and beans, mofongo and empanadas.
Family is so important to them that Daniela Gonell, Nelson Gonell’s daughter, returned from Miami to help her relatives bring the dishes she grew up cooking and enjoying with them to customers in Berlin.
"We're extremely family oriented and food is a huge part in our family. It's a key factor in what brings us together, just reuniting and having nice meals," she said.
Among the foods she grew up on that they’ve added to the menu are grinders, salads, chicken, pork, sweet plantains and soups. Add in the cupcakes, bread and baked sweets her father specializes in and you’ve got a unique mix anyone can enjoy, Gonell said.
"I think it's inviting for everybody. If somebody doesn't want to have a meal and they want some sweets instead, they can come here. If they don't want any sweets and they want to have food they can also come here,” Gonell said. “So it's just inviting for anyone who's looking to have anything to eat, basically, because we have the restaurant, we have the salad bar, we have pastries, we do custom cakes. Any kind of food for any person.”
Business has already been strong in the first few weeks, with customers coming in to get pastries for Thanksgiving and some regulars already forming.
Economic Development Director Chris Edge said he’s excited to see the bakery re-open under new ownership and a menu that provides new cuisine to the area. The large number of employers nearby and commuters who travel on New Britain Road makes lunch offerings especially promising to him.
“There's a number of people in that area that could get bakery goods lunch and the like at the new bakery,” he said. “I think it would be a nice benefit for them to be able to offer a full lunch, i think it would be tremendous.”
Drop in on any given day and the menu will also offer up new dishes, from rotating soup choices to entirely new entrees suggested by customers.
"We're just incorporating different options every day and seeing what people like, what people don't like ... for example the empanadas we did not have the first week and a couple people have mentioned them, so we started making them and now it's going to be a staple option in our restaurant, because we have to remake them all the time — they always sell out really fast," Gonell said.