Earlier this week, Patrick was sent a message from a reader that Stockyards City’s beloved bakery, Panaderia la Herradura, 2235 SW 14th, was closing this Friday. Having been there a few times in their two decade-plus run—typically for their pan de muerto in October—I realized had to visit there one last time, if only to pay my respects and say adios.
It was a rainy afternoon—suitable, I thought—when I visited the somewhat darkened store. La Herradura translates to “the Horseshoe,” a fitting name for any store in the stockyards, a part of town that is more than just Cattlemen’s Steakhouse and a few Western wear outlets. Every time I had been in the bakery, it was always a sweet mixture of farmhands and tourists, buying a sweet lunch or a few souvenirs.
But today, it was a somewhat lonely place, the sign on the door promoting their closing sale, promising everything at 30% off—except cigarettes, of course. A quiet woman sat at the counter watching television as I walked in; with novena candles, loteria cards and a few cans of eats here and there, I was surprised that there was anything left on the shelves.
The large pictures of bandidos had been taken down—“Those aren’t for sale,” I was told—but in the refrigerator, at least, there were a few cold bottles of Jarritos left. I grabbed a fruit punch and made my way down the barren aisles when, towards the back and off to the side was their popular glass case of pan dulce that I would always sneak away for whenever I was down here for one reason or another.
It always strikes me as a triste asunto when a panaderia like this goes out of business. As I picked out a few fresh pastries from the various cases—a strawberry estrella, a pan de manteqilla and, a favorite of mine, an empanda magdelena—it’s saddening that this will be the last time that I would be grabbing a few sweets to snack on.
I took the sweet breads and bottle of soda to the cashier and asked her if it was a year of Covid that caused them to close. She told me that her and her husband had finally decided to retire, and it made me feel better that this dreaded disorder didn’t take out yet another business. They were going out on their own terms, which is something you don’t hear much of these days.
Pan dulce loaded in a paper bag and cold soda in my hand, I gave Panaderia la Herradura one last look around. I hope that another Latin bakery might take it over, but, at this point, I kind of doubt it. But if you’re down that way in the next couple of days, stop in for a remaining treat and tell whoever’s behind the counter thank you for keeping the Stockyards satisfecho for all these years.