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A plate of round, glazed pastries topped with strawberries. Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

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Loba Pastry Is a Chicago Bakery Comeback for the Ages

Valeria Socorro Velazquez Lindsten defied the odds to reopen in North Center

To say that Valeria Socorro Velazquez Lindsten has fought tooth and nail for her business would be an understatement. The owner and baking whiz behind seven-year-old upstart Loba Pastry + Coffee has labored for years to source enough funding for a new location, refusing to give up on her tiny indie bakery amid waves of public health and economic turmoil.

A woman poses and smiles in a kitchen apron.
Valeria Socorro Velazquez Lindsten.

Despite the steep odds, the labors of Velazquez Lindsten (Blackbird, Charlie Trotter’s) have paid off. She finally unveiled Loba’s new home at 3600 N. Lincoln Avenue in late May. A corner space at the intersection of Addison, Lincoln, and Ravenswood near the border of North Center and Roscoe Village, the cafe is awash in light wood furniture. The minimalistic style from Counterparts studio allows Loba’s baked delights — think summery strawberry-crowned robbies, crisp-yet-tender sourdough muffins, and treats inspired by Velazquez Lindsten’s Mexican roots like croissants with mole butter. Loba also employed Looseleaft, a local event and design company, to handle the floral responsibilities.

Operating an independent business like Loba, sans investors and PR reps, is an enormous challenge even under happy economic circumstances. Velazquez Lindsten has been remarkably transparent about the severe obstacles she overcame to make the new Loba a reality, which she details in an op-ed for Eater. In 2021, after being turned down three times for a small business loan, she felt forced to turn to crowdfunding — a common path in the industry, but one that made Velazquez Lindsten deeply uncomfortable.

A corner cafe space with tons of windows and light wood furniture.
On sunny days, the cafe is filled with light.
A plate holds a golden sourdough muffin in a paper wrapper.
Sourdough muffin.
A plate of four round sesame cakes.
Sesame emmes.

“I was ashamed to ask for money; I did not want to resort to crowdfunding, but I didn’t want to bring on investors, either,” she writes. “One of my main motivations for having this shop is to be a sole owner — it’s this idea of not having to rely on anybody but myself. So, crowdfunding was and continues to be a desperate but needed option.”

Despite her mixed feelings, Loba supporters turned out in droves and ultimately raised more than $36,000 in donations. The financial cushion was vital to completing construction on the space, bridging a gap that Velazquez Lindsten says she wouldn’t otherwise have had the resources to cover. “Both the beginning and the last months of construction were only possible by your support,” she writes on GoFundMe. “I literally could not have done this without you.”

Tour the new Loba Pastry and gaze upon its menu items in the photographs below.

Loba Pastry, 3600 N. Lincoln Avenue, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

A square glazed nut and seed bar.
Oat bar.
A plate of sourdough muffins on a wooden table.
The sourdough muffins are a textural melange.
A plate of round, glazed pastries topped with strawberries.
Glazed strawberry robbies.
A row of tables along a window inside a cafe.
Loba is the little bakery that could.
A row of tables along a wall of windows.
A neutral color scheme insures that pastries are the stars.
A wooden shelf unit holds bags of coffee beans and earthenware pottery.
Loba’s primary roaster is Little Waves Coffee, a Latina-owned business out of North Carolina.
A wooden card holder contains a white card that reads “crumb as you are.”
Pastry chef humor.
A wooden shelf holds carved wooden espresso spoons and a small ceramic dish.
Coffee accessories turn a beverage into a ritual.

Loba Pastry + Coffee

3600 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60613 (773) 456-9266 Visit Website
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