Just four minutes south of Bob Jones University on East North Street, Lighthouse Bakery, or Panaderia, is a Hispanic bakery where students can find a freshly made breakfast or snack, with most pastries costing only $1.
Dr. Mary Mendoza, chair of the Division of Communication, said she buys pastries from Lighthouse Bakery for her work and for her Intercultural Communication class. “It’s fun to go buy the food and bring it to class to have my students enjoy something authentic that is very close to campus,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said, “Once you walk in, you feel like you’re almost transported into another place, and you know that those pastries on the racks were just pulled out of the oven.” Mendoza grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where bakeries are on almost every corner of the city. Mendoza said the experience of buying fresh food for the day reminds her of her home in Jerusalem.
Mendoza attends a Hispanic church and said before COVID-19, she would buy pastries or tamales for the church. Most tamales today are made with beef, chicken or pork. The meat is wrapped in corn masa and a corn husk and steamed. Tamales are usually made for special occasions, like Christmas or New Year’s. Tamales have been around since the 1500s and most likely were brought to Central and South America from Mexico.
A main delicacy at the shop is a “concha,” a traditional chocolate or vanilla sweet bread with a crunchy and sweet covering. “Concha” is Spanish for “shell,” which is what the pastry looks like.
Mendoza said another favorite she has bought for other people is a cream cheese pastry. “The pastry has cream cheese inside and looks like a folded envelope.”
The store offers desserts such as cupcakes, cookies and doughnuts. They also can make multi-layered birthday cakes for special celebrations.
Some of the snack options include “orejas” and cheesy bread. “Orejas,” named for their resemblance to elephant ears, are large, flat puff pastries with cinnamon and sugar.
Mendoza said the bakery also has a dessert called “marranitos” or “piggy,” as she usually hears it called. This dense pastry is shaped like a pig and is in between a cookie and a cake. The color is dark brown because it is sweetened with molasses. The pig cookie can also be called “cerditos,” “cochinitos” or “puerquitos.”
Although the shop is known for its baked goods, breakfast options are available. Omelets, ciabattas and burritos are a few. Ciabatta is a moist Italian bread.
The shop is open every day from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.