Bowie Bakery – 42 years of traditional pan dulce

Chole Saldaña has been buying "esponjas" for 30 years. (Pablo Hernández-Batista/

Chole Saldaña has been buying "esponjas" for 30 years. (Pablo Hernández-Batista/

EL PASO – In Segundo Barrio, the traditional way is the best way. Especially when you’re taking about “pan dulce.” Since 1951 customers have been returning to Bowie Bakery on the corner of 7th and Park in downtown El Paso to get their “esponjas, marranitos, polvorones and empanadas de piña.”

Chole Saldaña has been buying "esponjas" for 30 years. (Pablo Hernández-Batista/

Chole Saldaña has been buying "esponjas" for 30 years. (Pablo Hernández-Batista/

Located on the city’s south side, the Segundo Barrio is home to more than 8,000 people, according to City of El Paso statistics. A morning drive through the neighborhood would typically encounter a variety of colorful murals as well as locals looking for day labor.

The bakery has been in the Marquez family for the past 42 years and is now owned by Juan Marquez who continues the family tradition of making El Paso’s favorite bread. The bakery, known for its “sabrosos panes de dulce” and family-oriented service, has played host to presidents, members of congress and other dignitaries looking for the best baked goods in El Paso.

To this day the bakery sits in its original downtown location, employs a work force of more than 20 and is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. With its fresh-baked breads and pastries and family atmosphere, the bakery will no doubt continue to attract customers from all over the region.

3 thoughts on “Bowie Bakery – 42 years of traditional pan dulce

  1. How I miss “mi pan dulce” not easily available here in Montreal Quebec. However, I have found some good “almost” real Mexican food, I have not yet found “Pan dulce;” when I do find some, I will not be a “cascarrabias” about it because I already know it will not compare with La Bowie’s. I will be greatful that Mexicans the world over win over many cultures by introducing tantilizing offerings of our cuisine. However, pan dulce is elusive.

  2. I was born in El Paso in the Segundo Barrio. I attended Roosevelt Elementary School, and Bowie Intermediate School. I lived in the Segundo until our family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1958. One thing that I will always remember is Bowie Bakery! My friends and I would stop on the way to Bowie for pan dulce, and also on our way home after school. Of course too our father would always buy bread on Sunday mornings. My grandparents, on my mother’s side) owned a tortilla and taco store not far from the bakery. It was located on 7th Street and the name of the store was El Molino. When I visit El Paso I always stop at Bowie Bakery for pan de dulce for the trip home.

  3. I have always felt that the creator of the bakery has never gotten-ed the credit for starting this bakery around 1953. His name was Jesus Castillo and. I went to Bowie High School and I knew two of his daughters named Cecilia and Martha. Please call me to discuss.

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