Tortilla bakery and factory

The former home of a Latino radio station at 1823 S. Park St. may soon be the site of a tortilla bakery and factory. Luis and Lupita Montoto want to make flour and corn tortillas to sell to retail customers and to area restaurants.

BARRY ADAMS, STATE JOURNAL

For nearly two decades, Luis Montoto has been the voice of Madison's Latino radio station, but his heart has always been in baking.

Montoto and his wife, Lupita, have no plans to abandon their La Movida, WMLV-AM 1480 but are moving forward with a plan to bring Luis Montoto's passion to fruition.

The serial entrepreneurs, who came to Madison in 1999 with nothing but an overdrawn checkbook but last year were named one of Wisconsin's Latino power couples by Madison365, have announced plans for a tortilla factory and bakery that will supply fresh tortillas to retail customers and restaurants in the Madison area.

They plan to base the business in 8,440 square feet at 1823 S. Park St. in the former studios of the radio station that now operates out of Midwest Family Broadcasting's facility at 730 Rayovac Drive.

"I was born a baker. I come from a family of bakers. All my aunts and uncles on my dad's side are bakers in South Texas," Luis Montoto said. "I’m coming full circle. I'm going back to my roots with flour tortillas."

Luis Montoto is the morning announcer and program director at the radio station, while Lupita is in sales and marketing at the station. Their other ventures have included a janitorial service, a Spanish language newspaper and a company that provides a range of services to primarily Spanish-only speakers, including help in sending packages and money to Mexico. The Montotos are asking the city for a conditional use permit for their bakery, La Capital Products, which employ 10 to 20 full- and part-time employees. 

Luis Montoto said he plans to specialize in flour tortillas but also produce corn tortillas and take-home dough for sopes, gorditas and tamales. He also plans to use vintage equipment that was used by his father in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas, for decades but has been in storage for 15 years following his father's death. His sister had moved the equipment to her garage in North Carolina with plans for her own bakery but didn't pursue the plan after the birth of a child. 

Montoto rented a truck, drove to North Carolina and collected the equipment that includes a 1940 Hobart mixer, a 1930s dough divider and rounder, a tortilla oven and a wood work table. If Montoto gets approval from the city's Plan Commission on Monday, he hopes to begin production next month and take market share from larger bakeries in the Chicago that are supplying tortillas to the Madison area.

"This is our retirement," Montoto said. "All I want to do is be the tortilla king in Madison. I don’t want to conquer the world."

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to badams@madison.com or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.