Customers lined up early before the official opening of San Diego’s first Starbread Bakery in Chula Vista, eager to buy fresh-out-of-the-oven Spanish bread, also known as señorita bread, which is the specialty of the famous Filipino bakery chain that’s based in Northern California.
Baked in small batches to ensure peak freshness, the bite-sized pastries, enriched with melted butter and sugar, are a fixture at Filipino family gatherings and parties; at Starbread, the señorita bread is available in multiples, from bags of 5 pieces all the way up to boxes of 60.
Open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the shop also sells pandesal, or Filipino rolls, as well as cookies, cupcakes, croissants, and a variety of doughnuts that include Filipino-style bitso-bitso. Beyond the Spanish bread, its bestsellers are malasadas, the Portugese fried dough treat that’s also popular in Hawaii; here, they’re offered with tropical fillings like coconut, guava, mango, and pineapple.
Area residents Paolo and Eleanor Seen and Jeff and Nikki Bangsal are overseeing Starbread’s San Diego expansion, and plan to add coffee from a local roaster along with other items like ube señorita bread and a savory version made with hot dogs. The partners are also hoping to open more stores in San Diego; the Mira Mesa neighborhood may be next.