It is hard to argue that, of all things, San Antonio needs more bread. But La Panadería on Broadway fills an empty space in Alamo Heights that is already saturated with flour tortillas and cupcakes. This “Bakería/Pastelería/Lonchería” makes an array of fresh breads daily and the taste is straight outta Mexico City.
Owners Jose and David Cacéres grew up selling bread on the street in Mexico’s capital and eventually became bread suppliers to that country’s Walmart stores. After years of culinary school in Mexico City and San Francisco, the brothers decided to bring their talents to San Antonio.
What they achieved at La Panadería is clean, open and comfortable. Helpful signs indicate how you should go about choosing and purchasing a loaf of bread or pan dulce, and the menu is stripped down and easy to navigate while you wait in line. But what you will notice first, undoubtedly, is the aroma. Upon walking through La Panadería’s doors, I felt immediately at ease, gripped by the smell of fresh bread and espresso.
The lunch menu offers several familiar sandwich options like the Cuban, egg and ham, and turkey as well as more traditional Mexican choices like milanesa de pollo. Lunch-goers have a choice of three breads for each sandwich: a telera, birote (both similar to a bolillo or baguette) or croissant.
I played it safe and opted for the pollo sandwich on a telera, which included cilantro mayonnaise, queso asadero, mixed greens and avocado dressing. As expected, the star of my meal was the pan. Fresh and warm, savory but light, and did I say fresh?—these guys don’t mess around. The slices of chicken were generous and, strangely enough, a little bit sweet. This was a surprise, but the flavor worked well with the cheese and cilantro mayo. Sandwiches come with a side of soup or salad. I chose the black bean soup, which included onions, bacon, tomato, cilantro and sausage. The size and cut of the sausage made it look like hotdog slices, but it was spicy and flavorful like Spanish chorizo—this was no ballpark frank.
This meal was more than enough to satisfy my hunger, but, unfortunately, I was sitting next to the pan dulce. David noticed my lingering stares and came over to explain the sweets that especially piqued my interest. Overwhelmed by cajeta-nuez cookies, bisquet de chocolate and what seemed like 50 other tasty treats, I decided that I couldn’t pass up a tequila almond croissant, which I ordered with a cappuccino; my self-restraint was out the window at this point. The croissant was super soft, and the sugary tequila filling in the center was heavenly. This is not an understated dessert, and after one bite, I didn’t want it to be.
If you make your way to La Panadería, go hungry and don’t hesitate to try something new. I spotted a milanesa from a few tables away and immediately knew I would need to make a return trip.