Latinx Heritage Month: Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant

In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and projects connected to Seattle’s Latinx community.

When sisters Aminta Elgin and Ana Castro came to Seattle, they dreamt of opening an eatery that would provide a taste of home to Salvadoreans in the area and share the traditional meals and customs of El Salvador with the broader community.

The sisters can track their passion for baking to the large brick oven built by their grandfather and the well-known bakery their grandmother managed in El Rosario de La Paz, El Salvador where everything was scratch-made. Because they had the largest oven in town, their grandparents would welcome the community in to use it whenever they needed. This allowed Aminta and Ana to get involved with baking at a young age and exposed them to a variety of recipes and dishes.

Their family was very close and supportive of each other. When civil war broke out in El Salvador in the late 1970s that threaten their livelihood and their lives, they knew they couldn’t stay. Ana and her husband came to the United States in 1980 and she became a citizen five years later. Soon after, she brought her family one by one to Seattle starting with Aminta. The sisters worked as surgical technicians during the day and took classes to learn English at night.  Aminta still remembered the family recipes they learned as children, and as they noticed the lack of El Salvadoran restaurants in the area they began to set a plan in motion to open their own bakery.  

In order to determine a location for their bakery, they conducted a survey among a group of Salvadoreans for feedback. They landed on White Center, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the greater Seattle area. In 1996, they opened the Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant and have been a staple of the neighborhood serving up their country’s sweet treats and savory favorites ever since. Aminta oversees the baking while Ana cooks and manages the front.

In the same way their grandparents gave back by lending out their oven to neighbors, Aminta and Ana seize many opportunities to give back to their community. The restaurant offers discounts to nonprofits and local school events, donates food to the West Seattle Food Bank, and supports local youth soccer programs both locally and in El Salvador. Aminta, a major soccer fan, supports teams at nearby Highline and Chief Sealth High Schools’ and works with a friend in El Salvador to help youth teams there with everything from equipment to field maintenance and sending money to players’ families for groceries throughout the pandemic.

“We share our success with the people, the community, and our family,” Ana said in a recent interview with the Intentionalist. “Here we are, two women providing to the community, to the city of Seattle, to the state of Washington that with hope and effort, you can overcome any bad situation.”

To learn more about Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant visit www.thesalvadoreanbakery.com.