Chef’s Special: The Tina’s Bakery

PARK CITY, Utah. – Valentina and Agostina, owners and founders of The Tina’s Bakery located in Tanger Outlets, didn’t move to Park City thinking they would become owners of a small business.

Valentina is from ­­­­Misiones, Argentina and runs the savory side of the business. She officially moved to Park City in 2013 with her husband and started to make empanadas as a hobby. The recipe was taught to her by her mom and grandma.

Agostina, the sweets and desserts master, came to Utah from Buenos Aires, Argentina, five and a half years ago. She moved to Utah for family and left a career as a lawyer. “It was super difficult. The beginning was really tough, but then I just fell in love with the mountains.”

She also learned to bake from family; her aunt became her baking mentor. “I always liked to bake. It kind of runs in my family, my auntie she is the pastry chef of the family, and she’s still helping me out.”

The two ‘Tinas’ met when a mutual friend put them together after Agostina’s move. At small gatherings with friends, the two would bring cakes and empanadas, respectively. With a passion for their cooking and baking hobbies and encouragement from friends, the two began an Instagram page.

Agostina was the instigator, she said to Valentina “Don’t worry, we’ll have one order a month or something like that, so we said OK, and started with Instagram.”

“It just went crazy,” said Valentina. “We started getting a lot of orders per week. After a month, I quit my job and started doing this full time…When I moved here, I started making empanadas just kind of as a hobby, but I always had the idea of opening an empanada place. Not with the sweet options, but it works perfect.”

The pair rented kitchen space in Salt Lake City to keep up with the orders coming in from their Instagram page and quickly realized their client base was very strong in Park City, where they were making deliveries. They decided to find a kitchen closer to the market.

“Originally, we were looking for just a kitchen that we could look for online orders,” said Valentina. Valentina knew of a potential kitchen in the outlets that was virtually empty during COVID. The Tinas ended up with the kitchen space and the storefront and evolved the business.

The bakery side sticks with traditional Argentinian roots; dulce de leche is used, and Argentinian classics like marquise, rogel, and alfajores are made daily. Agostina notes the difference between American and Argentinian baking lies in our focus on buttercream and sponge cake.

Valentina’s empanadas also hold true to their country of origin with traditional flavors like malbec beef, spicy chicken, and traditional beef with onion, egg, and olives. The favorite flavor for the two owners is the butternut squash and corn empanada, but the malbec beef comes in as a close runner-up.

“In Argentina, we are similar to European culture, said Agostina. “So, the coffee time, the teatime is super [important to] us. Every Latino person coming to the store is like, ‘oh my gosh, I really needed a place where I can sit down, have a coffee with a cake!’ So that’s why people are stopping by and telling us this is something that the town really needed.”

“I would love to introduce our culture a little bit more to Park City,” Agostina said. “We have maté and Valentina, and myself are spending a lot of time with each customer telling our story, explaining where we are coming from, and starting our roots there… I’m looking forward to the soccer matches where we like, hang out together and see all the matches of the World Cup. Looking forward to doing that with more people at the store.”

“Everything is very artisan,” Valentina said. “We make everything from scratch every day.”

The storefront offers maté, teas, coffees, espressos, a bright atmosphere, and, of course, savory and sweet baked goods. Tina’s Bakery also has frozen empanadas for an easy dinner or for entertaining. Pastries are available a la carte but can be ordered online in advance.

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