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Young entrepreneur who learned in mom’s kitchen opens bakery in Riverhead

Daniela Saavedra, 31, learned to bake at her mother's side in their home kitchen. This week she fulfilled her dream of opening her own bakery, Celeste. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A new bakery in town quietly opened its doors this week for a soft opening after a year-long renovation in a Route 58 shopping plaza.

Celeste Bakery, offering a wide variety of treats, from sweet breads and French bread to cupcakes, cookies and cheesecakes baked on premises, is located in the shopping center on the corner of Ostrander Avenue and Old Country Road, behind Peconic Bay Diner — and is the first bakery in Riverhead to offer not only traditional baked goods like rye and wheat bread, but also specialty items like “Pan Chapin,” a type of sweet bread that is traditional in Central America, flan and “Tres Leches” cake.

The bake shop is the dream of Daniela Saavedra, 31, of Riverhead.

“My idea was to incorporate different types of baked goods from America, but also from Central America, even though they are prepared differently. We have a diverse community in Riverhead and I want people to try all of our products and enjoy them,” Saavedra said.

Celeste Bakery’s kitchen, where yesterday bakers were busy working to fill the display cases with fresh-baked breads, pastries, cookies and other treats. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Saavedra chose the name — the middle name of one of her daughters  — because it’s close to the word “celestial.” The name is honoring God — something she says is very important to her.

Saavedra comes from a family of bakers. It’s a craft she first learned as a child from her mother, with recipes passed down generations.

“Baking has always been in my life and I love it,” she said.

Today, her mother Itza Medrano is working alongside her.  “I am very proud of my daughter, she followed her dream and made it happen,” Medrano said.

Saavedra, who immigrated with her family from Costa Rica when she was four years old, decided to open her own bakery after a trip she made to Rhode Island about three years ago. There she went to a bakery that it was so good, she couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

“The bread was great, the place was beautiful, there was a lot of people and it smelled delicious. I knew in that moment that I wanted to open up a bakery just like that back home in New York,” she said.

Saavedra knew she would need help for that dream to come true. She joined forces with her mother and other relatives as well as some members of her church and formed a team of people that supported her all the way — and today work with her in the bakery.

“This is a labor of love,” Saavedra said. “It’s a family operation.” 

Daniela Saavedra, left, with her mother Itza Medrano and her staff and family members at Celeste Bakery yesterday. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The location of the new bakery was very important, Saavedra said. She wanted to find a place somewhere in Riverhead, where she resides with her husband and two daughters, that was accessible and easy to find.

“We looked at a lot of places but finally decided this spot would be perfect for what we wanted to do. We just had to fix it,” she said. 

And fix it they did. The top-to-bottom renovation took a year to complete.

Today the completely revamped bakery consists of a spacious and warm entrance with space for some tables and chairs, plus a long row of display cases and a state-of-the-art kitchen with several ovens.

Celeste Bakery will celebrate its grand opening, featuring free samples of baked goods and other products, on tomorrow, Aug. 27 from 12 to 6 p.m.

The bakery’s hours of operation are Monday to Thursday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The double storefront in the shopping plaza on Route 58 and Ostrander renovated over the past year by Daniela Saavedra, owner of Celeste Bakery. Photo: Maria Piedrabuena
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Maria Piedrabuena
María, a multimedia reporter, graduated from Stony Brook University with degrees in journalism and women and gender studies. She has worked for several news outlets including News12 and Fortune Magazine. A native of Spain, she loves to read, write and travel. She lives in Manorville. Email Maria