Tourists from all over the country come to visit Panaderia Nuevo Leon, one of Pilsen’s oldest and most beloved bakeries. Since 1973, Nuevo Leon has carried the tradition of a mexican-style bakery where customers come in, grab a tray and tongs, and serve themselves. No matter what time of day it is, your sense of smell is instantly awakened from the sweet scents of conchas, churros, empanadas, and pan dulce (sweet bread) baking.
The bakery offers a plethora of pastries, along with homemade flour tortillas that come in a variety of flavors such as black bean and jalapeno. The pastry that regularly brings a sea of people in Nuevo Leon’s is the gordita dulce.
“Gordita dulces are like pancakes, usually used for breakfast in Mexico. You can dip them in coffee,” Artemio Casa, manager, said.
Made from masa harina, a corn flour also used to make tortillas, flour, egg yolks, and baking soda. At first glance, they appear to be just a flat, round-shaped piece of plain bread. However, gordita dulces are known to satisfy that, impossible to ignore, craving for anything sweet.
As soon as you walk in, you are welcomed with a “hola” and a friendly smile from the cashier. In a variety of bright colors, papel picado (decorations used for Day of the Dead) is strung along the ceiling, giving the bakery a festive vibe. To the left there are dozens of glass-window cases containing the freshly-baked bread and pastries. “We bake all day, the bakers usually get here at 4 o’clock in the morning”, Casa said.
Nuevo Leon is located at 1634 W. 18th St. The bakery is open Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.