Uva and Lalo Leon are prepared for service in Butterdough's kitchen.

Baking Obsession Gives Rise to Scratch Pastries at Butterdough

Published August 14, 2019

Business Name: Butterdough
Address: 3452 S. Western Ave.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
Online: Butterdough's Facebook Page

Self-described baking geeks Uva and Lalo Leon worked as brothers to "destroy our parents kitchen" on their path to Butterdough, a new bakery and cafe just north of West 35th Street and South Western Avenue in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago. "We got the idea to make this love of baking into a business," Uva Leon said.

Open since July 13, Butterdough offers freshly made coffee drinks, pastries and sandwiches, all created from scratch ingredients. Although the menu changes every day, constant staples include plain, almond and chocolate croissants, plus special items like the popular vegan horchata, Lalo Leon said. 

Butterdough pastries Butterdough's pastries for sale always include croissants.The brothers have been lifelong residents of the Southwest Side of Chicago. "I grew up playing soccer in McKinley Park," Uva said. After spending time more recently in the McKinley Park neighborhood, "I realized there was no coffee house," he said.

The two have been working toward launching the business for five years, Lalo said. When they were looking for a location earlier this year, they considered a spot on 18th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood, but then found their current space. This contained nearly all the kitchen equipment and setup they needed, Lalo said.

"Business is a lot better than anticipated," Lalo said, noting strong sales at the McKinley Park and Bridgeport farmers markets, where they offer their baked goods. Butterdough also sells at the monthly market at Plant Chicago in the nearby Back of the Yards neighborhood, he said.

"Owning a business seemed like it was a dream so far away," Lalo said. 

Uva noted that he commonly arrives around midnight to prepare and proof pastry prior to baking. "We love waking up early," he said. "I give it my all."

Lalo Leon and Uva Leon stand inside Butterdough their new cafe and bakery.Lalo Leon, left, and Uva Leon stand inside their new cafe and bakery, Butterdough.


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