The sweet taste of success

Marcel and Brittany Maldonado have built on eight years of baking distinction by opening Milk + SUGAR.

Brittany Maldonado has found herself low on sleep this month, but the owner of Milk + SUGAR, 1501 S. Fifth St. isn’t fretting over it since she’s living out her dream. Along with mother Marcel, the Newbold resident is in her third week of actualizing an eight-year dream of adding a brick-and-mortar space to a successful food truck operation. You can join the festivities this weekend as the shop holds their official grand opening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, August 14. 

“We’ve definitely been working a lot, but that’s what we had wanted to be doing, so we’re taking everything in now and doing our best,” Brittany said recently from her Dickinson Square area establishment. “Putting in that effort in an area that has meaning to us, too, is pretty important to what we’re doing here as well.”

The duo has roots in the neighborhood, with Marcel residing a stone’s throw from their business. Since their August 1 opening, the mother-daughter duo have sweetened the environs with a well-received menu featuring cupcakes, cookies, and other treats. The Maldonados had been hoping to expand their culinary business since 2013. They were close to realizing their quest last year when the pandemic hit.

“Sometimes, I can’t believe that we reached this point [of owning a spot], and other times, I wonder what took us so long to do it,” Marcel said of the process that included an Indiegogo campaign. “Now that we’re here, I feel so blessed to have come this far, especially since we made it through a pandemic to do so. There’s nowhere but up from here.” 

Now, with even more fire in their bellies, they are preparing goods that Brittany says give people a touch of nostalgia. “People have said that certain things take them back to times when they were younger,” she said, noting the bourbon pecan bread pudding and banana pudding as the chief attention grabbers. “That nostalgic feel is key for us.” 

The bread pudding is one of the shop’s top sellers, along with a chocolate salted caramel cupcake and the kitchen sink cookie, complete with potato chips and pretzels.

As the summer concludes, the two aim to add salads and grab-and-go sandwiches to the menu. Their shop can fit around 20 guests. Classes geared toward improving everyone’s baking bravado could come just in time for the holiday season. Finally, once they add staff, they plan to expand their hours and days, which are currently 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.  

“We looked at a few spaces before settling on this one,” Brittany said from the serene location. She and her mom still use their truck for catering endeavors and will excitedly take on larger projects, like wedding cakes. “Now that we’ve added this new role, we just want to connect with the community and make an already great area even better.”

Milk + SUGAR
1501 S. 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147