MoCo Hidden Gems: Gardenia’s Café
When you enter Gardenia’s Café in Gaithersburg you are immediately given a warm welcome from owner, baker, and lifelong Gaithersburg resident Gardenia Ortega. She, along with her parents Fernando and Maritza, opened Gardenia’s Café this past February. Gardenia says “walking in those doors is just like walking into my house. From the bright colors, cleanliness, flowers, the smell of fresh food, and fresh ingredients.”
The menu is described as homemade, multicultural cuisine made with clean ingredients. Breakfast is served all day and they feature a rotating selection of cakes, pies, muffins and whatever else Gardenia feels like baking that day. For lunch and dinner, they offer a variety of burgers (veggie, lamb, beef), cheesesteaks, seafood, pastas, salads, and pastelles (Mom’s recipe). The café also includes a wide variety of vegan and gluten free dishes to choose from.
Both of Gardenia’s parents immigrated to the United States from El Salvador in the 1980’s. Before opening the café, Gardenia’s father Fernando worked as a sous chef at Columbia Country Club; “My Father Fernando decided to quit his job of 30 years to pursue a dream of ours. Our dream has always been to spread love and happiness through food. I have always dreamed of having my own bakery, but I did not imagine I would be owning a business at the age of 23 with my family. To be honest, I did not think I was ready for the challenges and responsibilities. Until one day I realized that you are never really ready and if you wait until you are, it’ll probably be too late. All I could do was give my business everything I have in me in order to succeed and to keep an open heart.”
The food is delicious, but the genuineness of the family is what will make you a regular after the first visit. We recommend the banana bread pudding, wings with yuca, and anything off the breakfast menu.
Visit them at 8377 Snouffer School Road in Gaithersburg.
Mon 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wed 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thu 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fri 9:00 am – 6:00 pm