2018 Atlanta Rising Star Baker Eric Arillo of La Calavera

2018 Atlanta Rising Star Baker Eric Arillo of La Calavera
January 2018

La Calavera
747 E College Ave C
Decatur, GA 30030


To say that Eric Arillo loves bread would be a wild understatement. Born in Mexico and raised in Atlanta, he caught the cooking bug in his early teens, working at La Fonda Latina. He returned to Mexico and attended EuroAmerica Culinary Institute, which further cemented his passion for the industry and pushed him definitively to pursue the craft of baking. 

Back in Atlanta, Arillo worked in number of kitchens, including Hector Santiago’s Pura Vida and Alon Balshan’s namesake restaurant, as the idea for his bakery, La Calavera, began to take shape. Influenced by Mexican panaderias, where customers serve themselves traditional breads and pastries, Arillo and his longtime partner (now wife) Dale Ralston started small, selling at one local farmers market a week. In 2012, their organic, handmade treats––orejas (palmiers), conchas (sweet dough covered with a shortbread-like topping), and marranitos (molasses cookies)––found a permanent home in Decatur. 

At La Calavera (“the skull”), Arillo is dedicated to milling his own fresh flours and long, natural fermentation, giving his loaves character and integrity. In a craft dominated by European traditions, Arillo layers in new world flare, such as sprouted grains, and his proud Mexican heritage. La Calavera is a hidden Decatur gem, waiting for the rest if Atlanta to catch on to Arillo’s distinct artisan breads and voice.