A man with a Stanford MBA and a love of sweet bread to open a Mexican bakery in Highland Park | The Eastsider LA

Highland Park - The owner of The Monarch, a small chain of upscale Mexican bakeries and cafes, plans to expand into Highland Park this year with a store on Figueroa Street.

Ricardo Cervantes, who recently opened the Monarca in Boyle Heights, said he is confident about the new store's prospects in gentrifying neighborhood with no shortage of cafes or bakeries . In fact, the Monarch has been able to attract customers in heavily Latin immigrant neighborhoods, such as East Los Angeles Huntington Park, as well as predominantly white Santa Monica and South Pasadena, where customers can purchase traditional sweet bread with their lattes or a quiche made with vegetarian sausage in a bright and contemporary setting. "Everybody likes quality," said Cervantes.

More news: Bird watching in Puerto Rico - Atabey

The Highland Park The Monarch is expected to open this summer in the now vacant storefront at the corner of Figueroa and Avenue 59, Cervantes said. > Cervantes, 39, a native of Monterey, Mexico, founded the chain after earning his Stanford MBA and looking for ways to capitalize on the Latino market. After the sweet bread I have purchased in Los Angeles fell short of what he remembers enjoying in his native Mexico, Cervantes taught himself how to make sweet bread and other Mexican cookies and sweets before opening the first The Monarch in Huntington Park with Alfredo Livas. p>

Some said the first store's interior and ambiance was "too fancy" and might turn off customers, he said. Cervantes found such remarks offensive and also took issue with those who saw the expansion of the Latin firm as a symbol of selling out. Cervantes said Latinos and other customers have appreciated the stylish interiors as well as the classic shells, horns and other Mexican baked goods.

While organic coffees and quiches may not be found in an old-school panaderia , Monarch customers, whether they are in Santa Monica or Boyle Heights, still use metal tongs and platters to select their bread as they would in any traditional Mexican bakery.

"It's more democratic" than having an employee pick your bread, he said. "It's more democratic."

  • Adam Floyd