As if we don’t have enough delicious options in town, Denville is about to gain another with the addition of Vikingos Cake Shoppe & Bakery. Jillian VanStrander has teamed up with Jesus Gomez of El Mejicano to open up the newest eatery in town. With Jillian’s culinary background and Jesus’ business acumen, their bakery is sure to be a hit in our community.
What is the most unusual treat customers will find in your bakery?
Hmm. I think our most unusual confection that we will be offering on our regular menu would have to be our “Apple Pie Churro Tacos.” My favorite trick is popping them back in the oven before serving & adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream. That’s how the pros do it!
Vanilla or chocolate?
From a personal taste standpoint, chocolate all day. Chocolate for breakfast! However, I do like working with vanilla better just for the endless possibilities it provides to build off of.
What prompted you to open up your bakery in Denville?
We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time given the location of Jesus’s restaurant next door. This opportunity was presented to us and we were able to act fast to secure it as our own pretty seamlessly. The Denville community couldn’t be more welcoming. I am so excited to be here and become a part of it myself!
What is your favorite meal to grab in town?
I may be biased, but enchiladas verde from El Mejicano are my go to order. I can’t forget “disco tots” from Thatcher’s for Sunday morning brunch though. I’ve also been known to keep an extra steamed dumpling or two from Bubble In Paradise in my purse. No joke.
What special things will set YOU apart from other bakeries in the area?
I think there are two major things that are going to set Vikingos Cake Shoppe & Bakery apart from other bakeries. The first being an ever changing & fresh menu. I’m not bringing in anything frozen or premade. If you’re seeing a lemon curd filling, it’s because someone stood there zesting & juicing lemons by hand to make it. I’m that someone, it’s me zesting the lemons. Secondly, I would have to say sheer community drive. When I say that, not only do I mean taking custom orders & creating what people want, but we’re looking to make this a community place. We want to hold events. We want to take your kids off your hands for an afternoon cupcake class. We want to do it all.
What words of wisdom would you give to someone opening up their own business?
The best piece of advice I could offer would simply be to “expect change.” We started this journey a year ago—a global pandemic was never written in our business plan. We have had to adapt so many times, I’ve lost count. Write all of your ideas down and visualize them, but be prepared to turn the paper over and start again. It is a beautiful, chaotic process. One that I am extremely grateful for.
And perhaps the most important question of all: how do you pronounce Vikingos?
VI- KING- OHS. It’s super fun to say once you’re used to it. Especially when you try to say it ten times fast.