Jan 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

A South Austin mainstay panadería is closing

La Mexicana Bakery in Austin.
The outside of La Mexicana Bakery in South Austin. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

La Mexicana, the long-running South First Street bakery, will close in a few weeks.

The big picture: The shuttering of La Mexicana happens amid demographic changes as central neighborhoods south of the river and east of the interstate become high-dollar real estate plays.

What we like: La Mexicana serves a cornucopia of Mexican desserts, including campechanas, bolillos, conchas and flan, as well as tacos and tortas.

  • Our favorites have long been the giant, flaky orejas — one goes a long way — the creamy and super-moist tres leches, and the simple and tasty torta al albañil — salsa, mayo and beans smothered on house-made telera bread.
Pastries on display at La Mexicana.
Pastries on display at La Mexicana. Photo: Asher Price/Axios
  • It's also a cheery mini-mall, at various times home to a florist, a jeweler and an accountant. A detailed wall mural sports a woman marching with the Mexican flag, as well as a baker, a burro and Jesus on the cross.
  • Plus, it's always a great place to watch soccer games.
The interior of La Mexicana.
The interior of La Mexicana. Photo: Asher Price/Axios
  • Of note: The restaurant has served as a community gathering place.
  • On the south facade is a mural dedicated to the memory of Michael Ramos, who was killed by Austin police in 2020.

What they're saying: "I really want this to not be true," Kassie Navarro wrote on Twitter. "La Mexicana was the very first spot that made me feel like I had a piece of home here after I moved to Austin from Laredo to go to St. Ed's."

Between the lines: Formerly La Reyna Bakery, Jesus Becerra bought the business in 1989. "Since then La Mexicana has been expanding solely (to) satisfy those cravings for authentic Mexican pastries," per the bakery's Facebook page.

  • "Don't think we got pushed out," Bianka Lopez wrote on Facebook, reporting that her father is retiring. "Don't be sad, be proud of what a Mexican immigrant came to build his American dream."

The bottom line: We'll be toasting La Mexicana tonight with a spoonful of flan.

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