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Restaurants & Bars

Nena Postreria Turns to Its Future Customers to Help Open Its Doors

After family funds got held up in a surprise dispute, chef-owner Diana Zamora is hoping her community can help.
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Pastry chef Diana Zamora is a veteran of some of Dallas’ favorite restaurants. Claire Baxter, clairebaxterphoto.com / courtesy Diana Zamora

Diana Zamora’s bakery, Nena Postreria, is so close to opening that she can see it. The walls are going up in her East Dallas space, and she can see the window where baked goods will be passed from the kitchen to the front pastry counter. She can see an even bigger window, in the hallway to the restroom, where customers can stop to watch baking in progress. She gestures to where she’ll put tables for baking classes and workshops. She points to the wall where she’s going to hang photographs of her mother, Reyna Margarita, who taught Zamora many of her signature desserts, and who died of cancer a year ago.

But her funding for the last stage of the bakery’s construction has hit a snag in the form of a family dispute over her mother’s estate. Though the dispute only concerns 20 percent of the money in question, it delays the release of the rest. Now Zamora is turning to crowdfunding to get her bakery over the finish line, in the form of a GoFundMe.

Though Nena Postreria would be Zamora’s first solo business, she’s cooked and made desserts for many Dallas restaurants—more even than many of her fans would know about. Including consulting and recipe development, she’s been involved in spots like Revolver Taco Lounge, José, Stock & Barrel, Encina, Mot Hai Ba (for events and catering), Xaman Café, the Statler Hotel, Vidorra, and the now-closed Mockingbird Diner. She was most recently at now-closed Cry Wolf.

Nena Postreria will be, she says, a “cultural hub for this part of East Dallas.” She plans to sell her baked goods retail and wholesale, teach baking classes, and host community events. On weekends, the bakery will stay open late for people who want to grab dessert on their way home from something else. And in the mornings, she’ll be open for breakfast.

“We’re going to make dope-ass cafe de olla, a good hot chocolate, and we’ll make tepache because I always have pineapple scraps,” Zamora says. “It’s not mainly going to be a coffee shop, I just want to bring people together.”

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Pan dulces represent just a small fraction of Zamora’s output, which also includes her mother’s legendary carrot cake. courtesy Diana Zamora

Like seemingly every new business, Zamora has had long delays fighting with the city of Dallas to be able to get her doors open. The most preposterous one, as usual, involves parking: she had a parking survey conducted to prove to the city that there was plenty of space around the building for people to put their cars, submitted that survey to city officials, paid for expedited processing, and still waited 12 weeks for the city to add the completed parking survey to her file.

Business owners know to expect problems from the city. But the new delay, with a significant amount of Zamora’s cash held up by a title company, left her needing to bridge the gap. If she’s able, she plans to open Nena Postreria by Christmas so she can sell holiday takeout packages. Several Dallas restaurants have turned to GoFundMe in recent years, especially during the pandemic, while Bishop Cider is the product of a Kickstarter. One local bakery successfully dabbled in a novel strategy: issuing bonds so that donors would have small stakes in the opened business.

With a little luck and a little help from her community, Zamora hopes all of this is behind her in just a couple of months, and hopes we’ll all be enjoying her gansitos in early 2024 without thinking about the stress of this construction crunch. Walking around the site with her, it’s very easy to share in her enthusiasm.

Pointing at the walls of the future cafe, she says, “I want to put pictures up of my mom, my whole family. I have handwritten recipes from her, and I want to make copies of those and put copies on the wall. There’s pictures of me and my sister blowing out candles on birthday cakes that she made. I want to put those up there. And then my own shit. The chola goth shit. I’m going to be a little cheesy now. I know this is cheesy. But this right here—this bakery—is the reason that my family came to the United States. To be able to do something for their children. This is the beginning for me. I’ve got so many other ideas in my head so I can build on them for my own kids. This is just the start.”

Author

Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

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