Locally owned and operated since 2008 in Brandon, Moreno Bakery might just be this area's best kept secret when it comes to a variety of Cuban-inspired pastries, sandwiches, breads, coffee and more.

'Secret' might be debatable, but altogether appropriate considering this quaint bakery's pretty-much-hidden location near the giants it sits amongst like Publix, Burlington Coat Factory, and The Rack in this jumbled shopping/dining/retail fortress off Brandon's Highway 60.

If you're in the know, I might be beating a dead horse here, but Moreno Bakery is definitely worth the visit if you're looking for a bakery that's miles beyond the standard grocery store fare when it comes to freshness, originality, and affordability.

Step in to Moreno's quaint, but small setting (no seating for drinking or eating, unfortunately) and you're instantly surrounded with a wall-to-wall assortment of colorful cookies, pastries, tarts, pies, the list goes on and on.

Of all people, my lovely Jewish grandmother from Sarasota first sung the praises of this Cuban bakery to me (there's a joke in there somewhere), raving about their pastries and authentic Cuban bread, baked with palm fronds and all.

I gave it a shot with a taste of Moreno's classic Cuban sandwich and, rather unsurprisingly, got everything I love in a solid Cuban - fresh bread pressed to perfection - none of that crumbly, bland excuse for Cuban bread more than enough places feel like they can get away with - thick-sliced roast pork, salami, swiss, lettuce/tomato (optional), and crunchy dill pickles with a spread of Moreno Mayonaise, which I think was just the standard mustard/mayo spread you get on a Cuban.

The 9-inch Cuban clocks in at just 6 bucks, which is right on the money if you're looking for quality and affordability.

Have you been to Moreno Bakery?  Want to give it a try now?  Let us know your thoughts with a rating and review on the Moreno Bakery 813area business listing.