Author: Leah Pattem
“My abuelo opened this place 90 years ago, before the Spanish Civil War. During the war, people used to come here to collect their rations of flour and my abuelo would have to sign their rations cards.
Although we’ve never cooked bread, we don’t have the oven for that. We’ve always sold pastries and specialise in buñuelos and other seasonal treats. Bread in Madrid is terrible, it’s edible but it’s terrible. We’re really lacking artisanal bakers here. As far as I know, El Horno is the oldest bakery in Madrid. Well, it’s at least the oldest in Lavapiés. I also believe it’s the second oldest business in the barrio, the first being Taberna Antonio Sanchez. They have a wonderful façade.
When I first started working here with my dad, we had lots of customers from the barrio. We still do, but the older customers no longer come. In Lavapiés, there aren’t many old people here anymore, how can they be with the cost of rent nowadays? We have vulture funds taking over our city buying up all the buildings and raising prices. It’s bad all over Madrid but here, in Lavapiés, we have it the worst.
I have regulars de toda la vida but many of my customers are tourists these days too. My customers are representative of the changes of the barrio, and they all keep my business alive. Apparently, I’m in a guide, I can’t remember the name of the guide, but it’s big and it’s international! But when we first opened this place 90 years ago, we never set out to be millionaires. I work hard, I get up at 4.30am and, by 6 or 7pm, I’m ready to drop. But for me, this place is enough.”
Kike García, 56 years old, owner of El Horno de Encomienda. Has no plans to retire.
Location: Calle Encomienda 19, Lavapiés
SUPPORT THIS BLOG
You may have noticed that this platform remains free of ads, sponsors and investors. Independence is everything and what we publish will not be influenced by those in a position of privilege, wealth or power. Therefore, I invite only our audience to support this platform and only you to help me keep doing what I do. Leah
Support MNF for as little as €1 per month, which you can cancel at any time.