: | The French Pastry School


Mexican and European pastries at a new Logan Square bakery
Grace Wong | Chicago Tribune |
September 7, 2018

When Marisol Espinoza was attending The French Pastry School after high school, she and her sister, Lizette, were already planning to open a pastry business once the former graduated. After Marisol’s stints at spots around town (OneSixtyBlue, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Tre Soldi and Amy’s Candy Bar), the Espinoza sisters in July opened Pan Artesenal Bakery in Logan Square, where Marisol flexes her baking muscles through European and traditional Mexican pastries.

The two sisters started with a small commercial kitchen at their home in Logan Square two years ago, but as orders kept piling up, they decided it was time to lease a space and open a storefront.

“That was the plan since the beginning,” said Lizette, who is the bakery’s business administrator. “Our goal was always to open up a bakery.”

The bakery is truly a family endeavor. The two sisters’ father and uncle did all the construction for the shop, Marisol developed the menu and Lizette handled the business affairs.

The cafe caters to a wide audience, from people coming in for French caneles to customers seeking Mexican concha. Everything is reasonably priced, Lizette said, which stuns customers who receive their orders made at the hands of a trained pastry chef.

“What’s happening now is that we’re noticing Hispanic people getting to know the European pastries, which a lot of them didn’t know and didn’t taste before,” Lizette said. “And it’s the same for the white people, who love it because it’s not pricey and really good.”

Her favorites from the European lineup include rosemary loaf, tomato basil loaf, beer bread, and one made with Gruyere cheese and Black Forest ham. Don’t miss out on the corn muffins, she said, which are made from fresh corn daily. As for Mexican favorites, Lizette loves the bread with cactus, corn and cheese and the pan de rancho, a semisweet bread eaten in small towns in Mexico based on a recipe from the 1900s. Vegan concha is also available.

To pair with the bread, the cafe serves a tres leches iced coffee, but Lizette is most excited to start serving hot chocolate made from Moctezuma Chocolate, imported from Michoacan, Mexico. She believes Pan Artesenal Bakery is the first cafe to serve the chocolate in the United States.

Lizette said she’s been encouraged by the enthusiasm the cafe has received from its Logan Square neighbors and that the employees they’ve hired have already begun to feel like family.

“I feel happy,” Lizette said. “It’s going great, actually, better than we thought.”

3724 W. Fullerton Ave., 312-286-5265, facebook.com/PanArtesanalBAKERY

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