WEST ORANGE, NJ – Since opening their first restaurant in 1992, Isabelino and Martha Machado knew that they wanted to expand their culinary offerings to serve as many people as possible. The couple was finally able to do that with the opening of La Celeste Bakery & Restaurant in West Orange in January 2019, and recently celebrated the bakery’s first anniversary with friends, family and several local dignitaries participating in a commemorative ribbon cutting ceremony.
“[I knew that] I’d always like to have a bakery with my husband,” said Martha, explaining that La Celeste—named after the Uruguayan flag’s nickname, “The Sky Blue”—was opened at 292 Main Street after the couple had already opened three successful restaurants in surrounding towns. “Before we had a small place [in Dover], and my husband wanted a huge place. That’s why we opened a place in Elizabeth [which is] a barbeque, bakery and pizzeria.”
She added that she and her husband were inspired to finally open a standalone bakery in West Orange because of the sizable Uruguayan population in town. In addition to serving traditional Uruguayan treats, however, the Machados also sought to attract people of all backgrounds by selling a variety of baked goods, including custom cakes, savory pastries, and the standard Italian and French fare often served at other bakeries.
“We cater to everyone,” said Martha. “I want to serve as many people as possible…not just one culture.”
Very much a family affair, the Machados also include their children, John and Bryan, in running the family business, with Bryan also handling the bakery’s social media accounts.
Complimenting the work ethic of the husband and wife team, Downtown West Orange Alliance (DWOA) Executive Director Megan Brill also said she “love[s] the way they’ve decorated” at the bakery.
“They’ve done a great job in showcasing their cakes,” said Brill. “Most bakeries have that book for you to look through; [but] it’s all digital…so the presentation is just great.”
Brill added that the DWOA is “always excited to celebrate [West Orange’s] new businesses to downtown.”
“We’re especially happy to celebrate one year at La Celeste on the historic Tory Corner,” she said. “I think that what’s important about La Celeste is that it’s not just a bakery. They sell bread, lunch and dinner items—like quiche and pies and custom order cakes.”
After recording a Facebook Live video highlighting La Celeste as a business to watch, Councilwoman Susan McCartney said, “I’m sorry to say I don’t speak Spanish, but I do understand the delicious pastries and the food that is being offered here.”
Fellow Councilwoman Michelle Casalino added that she was appreciative of the fact that the Machados decided to invest in downtown and wished the family much success.
“Every time I drive by, I always see that the store’s busy; and with the few samplings that I’ve had here, I understand why,” said Casalino.
West Orange Resident Stacey Reese stated that the Machados “are amazing people” and told her fellow residents that the family will “go out of their way to make sure you’re happy.
To learn more about La Celeste’s offerings, follow the bakery on Facebook.