Sultry Sweets Bakery, located at 7023 20th Avenue, on the corner 71st Street, has been open just a month, but it’s already getting plenty of buzz.
The charming, purple-stucco building – formerly a panini spot called Brunch Box – serves up piping hot empanadas; milky, caramel-y South American baked goods; as well as freshly brewed coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos.
Since the family-owned business is located smack between the neighborhood’s two most popular Italian bakeries (Remini Pastry Shoppe on Bay Parkway and Villabate Alba on 18th Avenue), Sultry Sweets focuses mostly on distinctively Argentine treats – though the cuisine has a strong Italian influence – so as not to compete with its neighbors.
“There are a lot of [Argentine desserts] that Italian people recognize, but when it comes to traditional-traditional, there are certain things that only we have, like facturas, and tortas, and empanadas,” said co-owner Marilena Papa-Lopez.
The bakery mostly sells desserts, but they also offer ham and cheese sandwiches on crustless, Argentine-style, milk bread. Just month after opening shop, Sultry Sweets is already seeing a steady flow of loyal customers, including many from Argentina.
“This whole time, we had no idea there were so many Argentinians around here,” said Papa-Lopez. “It’s kind of cool.”
Papa-Lopez and her family moved to Bensonhurst 15 years ago from Mendoza, where her father, Daniel, owned a bakery. While her dad spent many years working as a baker in Brooklyn, the family would often travel to Queens to find the pastries they grew up on. Then, last year, they decided to open their own wholesale business for Argentine baked goods. Customers went crazy for Daniel’s alfajoras – crumbly, cornstarch sandwich cookies filled with sweet dulce de leche. Through word-of-mouth, Sultry Sweets’ customer base expanded, and pretty soon they were opening their first store. Papa-Lopez told us the best part was discovering just how many other Argentinians there are in the neighborhood.
“They just started showing up and were like, ‘we don’t have to go to Queens anymore!’” said Papa-Lopez.
Visit Sultry Sweets at 7023 20th Avenue, or place an order by calling (917) 933-9911.