As La Monarca Bakery prepares to open its twelfth location mid-July, its hard to believe the Mexican bakery first opened in 2006. The owners have a community-minded strategy when choosing a new location: find a neighborhood lacking in pan dulce, coffee, and a cafe, and open a new one. The newest outlet is located east of the 5 Freeway on Broadway and Daly in Lincoln Heights, and opens on July 10.
The 1,000 square foot cafe is easily the largest of all stores, and functions the same as the others. La Monarca preps all the pastry at a central kitchen in Gardena, and each store proofs and bakes all pastries on site, including pan de elote or cornbread, and concha. They do more than just traditional Mexican sweet pastry, with salads, tacos with hand made tortillas made with flour milled in Sonora, plus cakes with no preservatives or lard.
In recent years, La Monarca upped its caffeine game by selling cafe de olla, a cold brew steeped overnight with cinnamon and piloncillo, or cane sugar from boiled and evaporated cane juice. La Monarca now sells cafe de olla by the pound, along with a tres leches latte, horchata latte, and Mexican hot chocolate. It sources all organic beans from a single farm in Mexico.
Owners Ricardo Cervantes and Alfredo Livas both hail from Monterrey, Mexico, meeting at Stanford Business School, and developing the plan for La Monarca. Cervantes and Livas choose neighborhoods where they see a need, hire from within the community, and prefer areas accessible to public transit. While there are two locations near the Gold Line at Mariachi Plaza, two are in very tony areas like Santa Monica and South Pasadena.