If you visit Canino Produce Co. on Airline Dr. and don’t stop in at El Bolillo Bakery afterwards, you’re just not understanding what Houston is all about. El Bolillo is a Mexican bakery—a bolillo is type of savory bread in between a bun and a baguette—that has been serving Houston for many years now.
El Bolillo Bakery
2517 Airline Dr.
While bakeries such as Common Bond focus on traditional French baked goods, El Bolillo serves a range of pastries, or pan dulce (“sweet bread”), from Mexico, which has been inspired and influenced by both French and Spanish baking since the 18th century.
These pastries are often built upon a handful of doughs, including crisp, airy yeast doughs; flaky, tender puff pastry doughs; and soft, cake-like cookie doughs. Countless variations incorporate various fruit and custard filings and sweet, sugary toppings.
At El Bolillo you’ll find conchas, cuernos, churros, Mexican wedding cookies, cinnamon rolls, honey buns, sweet empanadas, eclairs, muffins, and milhojas. (See Houstonia's guide to pan dulce for a breakdown of the difference between the pastries). And everything is excellent here. As all the pastries are inside self-serve cases, you are required to walk around the large bakery with a pizza pan and tongs to pick out your own goodies with. Patrons seem to turn this activity into a game, seeing how high they can stack their trays with El Bolillo’s specialities from the dozen or so pastry cases lining the bakery's walls.
And then, of course, there's El Bolillo’s namesake: bolillos, which you'll find a nearly neverending supply of here. The bakery also happens to know how to do tortillas really well. If you time it right, you can buy a stack right as they come off the tortilla press.
El Bolillo, once a lone store on Airline, now has three locations with two more locations in southeast Houston. And with opening hours as early as 5 a.m., they're a great place to stop in on your commute for a guilty-pleasure breakfast. (Ed. note: try the dulce de leche-stuffed churros; trust us.)