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Monona Bakery and Eatery

Monona Bakery and Eatery is set to open Friday at 4544 Monona Drive. 

A longtime Madison chef, who most recently worked as a line cook at Estrellón, is opening a new bakery and restaurant on Monona Drive.

Vicente Sacramento, who also worked as a baker at La Brioche, plans to open Monona Bakery and Eatery at 4544 Monona Drive on Friday.

"He'a a super guy. I'm stoked for him," said Estrellón owner Tory Miller. "I'm excited he's finally opening his place."

The Monona restaurant was supposed to open Wednesday, but Sacramento and his wife and co-owner, Claudia Santos, didn't want to interfere with the "Day Without Immigrants," formerly called "Day Without Latinos," strike on Thursday. So the restaurant will open Friday instead.

"We are Latinos, too, and many people close the business, so if we are open maybe it's not good," Sacramento said. A number of local restaurants are expected to close as many employees turn out for the rally.

Santos calls the food at Monona Bakery and Eatery "Latino food," because she is from Honduras, and Sacramento is from Mexico. So the menu will have both components.

"I'm trying to do something different here," Santos said. She's been looking for Honduran food, but can't find it in Madison. She calls Honduran cuisine similar to Puerto Rican cuisine. "It's Caribbean food."

The menu will feature baleadas, a traditional Honduran dish with a thick, flour tortilla and deep-fried beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, cheese and cream; and tostones, or double-fried plantain slices.

The Mexican side of the menu will offer tilapia, shrimp and other seafood. Both of them are from coastal areas, she from Atlántida, Honduras, and he from Veracruz, Mexico, Santos pointed out.

"I love his food," Santos said about her husband, who will also do the baking. "He makes amazing, amazing desserts."

For the past three years, Sacramento has baked at La Brioche. At the same time, in the last year and a half, he's worked at Estrellón. Sacramento was at the former Spanish restaurant La Paella in Fitchburg for 13 years, 10 years as chef. "All my life there," he said.

The Monona restaurant will also serve American-style breakfasts, Santos said.

Everything at the restaurant will be homemade, she said. "It's our priority to make everything fresh and from scratch."

Sacramento owned Emian's bakery in the same Monona Drive location from 2005 to 2008. The location was most recently El Bolillo, where Sacramento worked for a short time.

He's put in a new floor, new kitchen, new tables and new chairs. "We changed everything," Sacramento said.

Sacramento had an accident in December, falling from the roof of the yet-to-open restaurant, which set back its opening. He's still wearing a neck brace.

When Santos moved to Madison in 2006, she found a full-time cleaning job, but applied for a second job at Sacramento's bakery, Emian's.

Sacramento wanted to know why Santos was looking for another job when she already had full-time work. She told him that as a single mother she had to work harder to support her two young daughters better, and he said, "Really? You want to leave something better to your daughters? Give time."

He told her that her daughters needed her more than she knew. "In that moment I didn't understand," Santos said.

But she began to understand what a good person Sacramento was. The couple got married last year, but have been together 11 years.

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