Comadre Panadería, one of Austin’s best bakeries in pop-up form, is going to open a permanent space in East Austin. Currently, the Eater Austin Award-winning spot operates out of Nixta Taqueria’s patio in the Chestnut neighborhood, and Comadre’s new bakery space will be found next door at 1204 Cedar Avenue.
But before Comadre’s new home can open, founder and James Beard Award semifinalist baker Mariela Camacho has to buy equipment for the empty kitchen. Hence, she launched a GoFundMe campaign in order to help her buy equipment and fix up the space.
It’s through Comadre that Camacho explores and shares her Latinx roots with people via ridiculously amazing and thoughtful baked goods. There are conchas made with tahini and chocolate, masa sugar cookies, poundcake made with banana cornflour doused in a cajeta glaze, tepache fritters, and so much more.
Camacho wanted to open this actually permanent space in order to be able to properly keep up with the demand for her baked goods (which often sell out) and share her food with people in a more accessible way. Currently, she’s been baking out of random kitchens (her own kitchen, a friend’s, or a commissary one). “We’ve been able to exist by staying small,” she tells Eater. “The threat of having my livelihood being taken away is always kind of gloomed over my head. Now I’m really tired of just trying to survive. I want more for myself, my family, and for the people that want to be involved in this.”
The new Comadre will become a community space where people can walk up and buy pastries while also just chatting and gossiping while also allowing Camacho to produce more baked goods. “It’s going to make us even more efficient,” she tells Eater. “I just want to be able to bring some good nourishing food to the neighborhood and keep being able to talk shit and call people out and be part of uplifting my neighbors.” She wants to offer the kitchen for other pop-ups as well as collaborations with other bakers.
Camacho plans on expanding days and hours from just the weekends. She’ll start off with Mondays (in order to be able to serve her industry friends who tend to have the first day of the week off), and then eventually Fridays. She also plans on expanding the menu to include breakfast tacos paired with her excellent tortillas.
Staying in the East Austin neighborhood was especially important to Camacho. “People keep getting pushed out,” she says. “It’s already hard for me to afford to be here. And it’s frustrating and I don’t want to keep getting pushed out. And I think of myself as a pretty privileged person,” and still it’s difficult for her. She had lived in East Austin before too. “I really like East Austin and I want to continue to be part of it.”
Securing the new space happened quickly: Camacho signed the Cedar Avenue lease last week. She applied for business loans, and it’s been difficult. “It’s just not really ideal for independent small businesses that want to do things on their own terms,” she says.
Camacho is seeking $20,000 through GoFundMe. Once the goal is met, she’ll buy the equipment which should be secured within a week and she will immediately start baking. She’s hoping to be able to open by the end of April, and in the meantime, she’ll continue to host her weekend pop-ups at Nixta.
Camacho started her baking career in San Antonio in 2009; she later moved to Austin where she worked in the pastry departments of sibling seafood restaurants Clark’s and Perla’s. She moved to Seattle where she worked at Amandine Bakeshop while working on her own recipes. That’s where she started Comadre, which became a roaming pop-up. She moved back to Texas in late 2019 to continue that plan, but the pandemic halted that. So, much like many bakers at the time, she launched a delivery bakery service from San Antonio. She eventually connected with Nixta’s Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi via Instagram, who offered their space to her as a pickup destination. “They’re stupid generous and kind and always down to uplift people,” Camacho says of Rico and Mardanbigi. “They just became advocates for what I was trying to do.”
Right now, Camacho shares that she’s “just really excited and nervous.” But once everything is set up, “I’m really looking forward to really digging our roots into the city and getting a bunch of baby bakers and passing on our knowledge and resources to the next generation.”