Courtesy La Monarca Bakery & Cafe

Panaderías are the heart of Latino neighborhoods across the U.S. From conchas to orejas to elotitos, the taste of truly good pan dulce can transport you to another place and time. And that was exactly the mission that Mexican entrepreneurs Ricardo Cervantes and Alfredo Livas had in mind when they founded La Monarca Bakery & Cafe in 2006.

Born and raised in Mexico, Cervantes and Livas wanted to bring the sweet flavor of Mexico to Los Angeles communities.

After graduating from Stanford Business school, Cervantes and Livas had a dream of creating a panadería that could serve as a “bridge” between Latin American and Anglo cultures. Thus, La Monarca was born. The founders named their new bakery and cafe after the Monarch Butterfly, who makes the 3,000 mile trek between Mexico and Canada twice a year. And that’s not the only reason the Monarch Butterfly is significant to the Los Angeles cafe. A portion of each of La Monarca’s sales go to the ECOLIFE Conservation, which in turn helps preserve the Monarch Butterfly population across the Western Hemisphere.

The first La Monarca location was located in the Latino-centric neighborhood of Huntington Park, Los Angeles — a neighborhood in which 97% of its residents are Latino and roughly half were born outside the U.S. When Cervantes and Livas announced that they wanted to launch their business in this specific area, people told them that they were crazy.

“They told us, and it’s true, that if you draw a circle of a three-block radius, we had 11 direct competitors,” Cervantes told LA Magazine in 2015. “But, we said, ‘That’s fine.’ We really want people to compare and contrast immediately.” And since then, this little-panadería-that-could has become a local institution.

But it isn’t just an institution in Hungtington Park. La Monarca has twelve locations all across Los Angeles, from Whittier all the way to Santa Monica.

What makes La Monarca so different from your run-of-the-mill panadería is the made-from-scratch approach that its founders have insisted upon from the beginning. Rather than rely on pre-made mixes that so many panaderías use in the interest of convenience, La Monarca hand-crafted its own recipes from a unique blend of all-natural, fresh ingredients that includes instantly recognizable flavors like coconut, agave nectar and tequila.

The commitment to both excellence and authenticity has made La Monarca the premier Mexican bakery in Los Angeles. A quick glance at their Facebook page shows how beloved this bakery chain is all across Los Angeles. “All of the rave reviews from clients and friends rang true,” wrote one happy customer. “Delicious coffee and pastries, good prices, modern inviting location, great friendly service and free wifi!” said another.

And now, the pan dulce of La Monarca is available to everyone — not just Angelenos. La Monarca sells organic, single origin and Fair Trade coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as Mexican hot chocolate, galletas and their famous cafe de olla online. You can enjoy La Monarca’s cinnamon cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, polvorones and orejitas from the comfort of your own home and wash it down with una taza of their Oaxacan Reserve café. Believe us — you’ll taste the spirit of Mexico in every bite.