Meet Rafael Castro of
Rafael Castro has been around food his whole life, having worked in strawberry, lettuce, broccoli, and asparagus fields in previous jobs. However, it was not until moving to Rogers that he found his true passion – baking.
The co-owner of Gaby’s Bakery, which is named after his wife and business partner, has operated the business for nearly a decade in Rogers, but originally had no plans to settle in Arkansas. He was driving through Rogers on his way to Chicago 17 years ago when he found a bakery that needed help. Castro fell in love with the atmosphere and being in the kitchen and decided to stay in his new profession.
Shortly after, Rafael and Gaby started baking doughnuts from home, selling them around the neighborhood, charging $1 for three doughnuts. Rafael eventually opened a bakery in Noel, Missouri, but left after three years to work at another bakery in Rogers. He bought the business from the owner and opened Gaby’s Bakery with his wife, which is now at 780 W. Pine Street in Rogers.
Rafael credits the Northwest Arkansas community with inspiring him and helping his business grow and assists with fundraisers to support the region. Even though the bakery is open from 4am to 10pm daily, Rafael said he treats his work as an art and to him it is well worth waking up hours before the rest of the community.
“We are here today thanks to our customers,” he said. “They are always number one. We are overcoming obstacles for them, so they can see the possibilities are here. Love is baked into each pastry.”
The most popular items on their menu include:
- Bolio – a savory bread served with hot chocolate or coffee that is a Mexican-style take on French bread
- Concha – a “shell-like” round sweet bread that consists of two parts: a sweet bread roll and a crunchy sugar topping
- Dona (doughnut) – sweet bread coated with cinnamon sugar or granulated sugar, or dipped in chocolate
- Churro – sweet bread doughnut sticks adopted from Spain that are fried in oil and rolled in cinnamon sugar
Their recipes are influenced by Mexican culture and they also offer Salvadorian-inspired bread and traditional Mexican croissants filled with queso fresco. Gaby’s Bakery sells approximately 3,000 baked goods a day. They also offer cakes, custom catering for weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, and assistance with fundraisers.
“My wife and I want to thank Northwest Arkansas for your continued support and for choosing our products,” Rafael said. “We are nothing without our customers and we encourage you to visit if you haven’t tried us yet.”