When Phil and Jema Soria first walked into Jeff Liotard’s restaurant he thought that they were spies.
Still clad in their white culinary school aprons, the couple had just finished delivering a wedding cake to Copperopolis when they stopped in and had a brief conversation with the Manteca businessman.
Unsure of what the two young chefs were up to, Liotard was naturally curious. But it didn’t take but five minutes before the conversation turned from inquiry to intrigue – the pairing of minds where a successful businessman realized the potential in two young and eager future culinary stars that could bring an amazing product to a community that didn’t have anything like it.
Panfino Patisserie was born.
“I’m a bit of a romantic, but the entire thing was magical. I knew when I saw Jeff walk out that something good was going to happen,” Phil Soria said. “We didn’t quite know what it was yet. But we knew it had to do with bringing something good to the people here in the valley – something delicious that melts in your mouth. Something that’s more than a bakery. That’s what we’ve created here.”
And it’s not your standard bakery.
Instead of the standard fare of pies, cupcakes and cookies, the bakery has a beautiful assortment of delicacies that are both beautiful to look at and amazing to taste.
Fruit-topped cakes and Jema Soria’s intricate works fill trays inside of a case that owner Tevani Liotard says are more reminiscent of what she remembers looking at in bakeries when she was a child.
And it makes sense why. Soria grew up in a bakery. Her father worked as the head of a large bakery chain and currently runs a successful Stockton operation and taught her many of the things that she carried with her to the Sacramento culinary academy that she graduated from.
Her mother, who has worked as a chef at various restaurants, is in charge of the bakery’s food menu and has helped create an expansive offering that includes soups made from scratch and sandwiches that use house-made bread – sourdough, French and Dutch Crunch rolls.
The combination of the two – coupled with coffee and an early-morning opening and breakfast offerings – will help make the bakery the only one of its kind in town.
“Manteca doesn’t have anything like this and we wanted to do something that was different,” Jeff Liotard said. “What they do is amazing and the product is great and it’s something that people is really going to enjoy.”
Panfino Patisserie is located at 273 W. Louise Avenue and is open from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For more information call 209.624.0077 or visit www.facebook.com/panfinopatisserie.