Believe it or not, there was a time when finding Mexican food in Oak Cliff was difficult. Families who wanted pan dulce, for instance, had to trek across the Trinity River to Little Mexico. That was until a few families decided to bring the food of their homeland to the new neighborhood they called home.The Cerdas from South Texas were one of those families.
Juan Cerda was a Tejano who moved to Mexico as a child when his father got a job working for a beer company. Cerda began working in panaderias in Mexico City as a young man and learned the trade. In the '70s he returned to Texas a married man with a young family, and they settled in Oak Cliff. His experiences in Mexico City led him to open the doors of Anita’s Bakery in 1977 on South Rosemont Avenue. They were eventually able to buy a building and relocated to the corner of Gilpin Avenue and Davis Street, where they were for years.
Wondering what this history lesson has to do with the Mixing Bowl yet?
One of Cerda’s daughters, Rose, took her experiences in the bakery business and followed in her father’s footsteps, but with a twist. She opened the doors to her own bakery in the '90s on South Hampton with a simple goal.
“I wanted to be everyone’s bakery, the neighborhood bakery,” she says, and that’s what the Mixing Bowl has become.
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SHOW ME HOW
The Mixing Bowl’s specialty is tasty cakes and pastries, but her claim to Oak Cliff fame are her breakfast tacos.
Ask anyone who has lived in the neighborhood (pre-North Oak Cliff boom) who has the best breakfast tacos and you’ll get one answer: the Mixing Bowl. These are made-to-order tacos stuffed with fluffy eggs, a small number of additions like beans, potato, chorizo or brisket, and soft flour tortillas wrapped in foil paper like your mom used to pack for long road trips.
“If I won’t eat them, the clients won’t either,” Cerda says when she talks about her cooking philosophy and insistence on using only fresh ingredients.
Five years ago, Rose and her family switched it up a bit by opening a second location in the spot where Anita’s Bakery once stood. The bakery serves their pastries, cake slices, self-serve coffee and those abuelita-good breakfast tacos. When you walk in, it feels like home, and that’s because it is. It's home for the Cerda family and for anyone who has ever called Oak Cliff their own. This is food rooted in memories and history, and it tastes delicious.
The Mixing Bowl, 614 S. Hampton Road (bakery) and 3800 W. Davis St. (cafe)