It’s noon, and Maria Tello is putting each pastry in its respective display case with delicate hands while Graciela Echeverria furiously mops the floor as though it will never be clean enough; the women are preparing for the afternoon rush of customers at Pierre’s Bakery in Chicago’s Logan Square. The bakery is making adjustments to adapt to the rapidly changing community, while remaining true to its Mexican roots by expanding its menu to include foods from different cultures.
Pierre’s Bakery is not new to Logan Square. It has been on the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Spaulding Avenue for 25 years. The bakery is a staple in the Latin community for being upscale and modern in a neighborhood that is not there yet. Its marble floors and countertops make it stand out from the neighboring businesses along with its spotless glass display cases that showcase the elaborate breads and deserts. Manny Guzman, manager and head chef at the bakery, is extremely proud of how the business has evolved while staying true to its original clientele.
“There is no bakery or café that can compete with what we have to offer here,” he says. “The majority of our customers are Latino, but the neighborhood is changing very fast. In order to keep up with community we have added different kinds of foods and drinks from other cultures, but we are maintaining the Latin culture of the bakery.”
Guzman’s employees note the change in the community and the bakery. Graciela Echeverria is a cashier at the bakery sees the changes as a good from a financial standpoint.
“All of the changes that we have made to the menu have been good for business,” she says. “Our new customers are more diverse and are interested in different things, but our regular customers have remained content and continue to come back again and again.”
Guzman sees the financial advantage of expanding Pierre’s menu to create more demand for the more diverse population that has taken residence in Logan Square.
“We need to cater and offer something different to everybody,” he says. “It is hard to do that, but we are trying. We are seeing a lot of different people coming in all the time and that is a very good thing for business.”
Pierre’s Bakery’s customers consist of a lot of regulars who come to the business for every special occasion or to pick up a Mexican pastry. One of Pierre’s Bakery’s regular customers is Vanessa Delgado. The college student has been coming to Pierre’s for six years and is not bothered by the decision to include other foods from different cultures in the menu.
“I really love this place,” she says. “Every time someone in my family has a birthday, we come here and now more people will too. You don’t see many upscale, Latino owned businesses like Pierre’s in this community, so what ever they need to do in order to stay relevant, is fine with me. I will definitely keep coming back.”
Pierre’s Bakery currently has three locations and plans to expand by adding more locations in the next few years. The Logan Square location is going to expand the menu even more by adding sandwiches and different kinds of drinks in order to cater to the ever-changing population, but will continue to mainly focus on Mexican pastries and deserts.