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EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan — Even though Elisa Lyew now calls the East Village home, each day she surrounds herself with her Panamanian culture — the driving force behind her quaint but splashy bakery “Elisa’s Love Bites.”

It’s one of the only places in the city you’ll find imported coffee from the eco-friendly farms of Panama. What also makes the shop a standout in the neighborhood: it takes a health-conscious approach to sweet treats.

“We don’t use white sugar, we don’t use food coloring, we are gluten-free, we use organic products,” Lyew explained. “We try to keep everything as clean as possible but still tasty.”

Her chocolate chip cookie – which is the most popular item on the menu – was even named one of the best cookies in the Big Apple by Time Out magazine.

Her road to becoming a pastry chef wasn’t necessarily planned out. A Fordham graduate, Lyew first pursued a career in public relations and then fell in love with the kitchen – inadvertently following in her great grandfather’s footsteps who was at the helm of one of the most popular restaurants in Panama.

“In a small way, I am following in his footsteps and that of course makes me proud,” she said.

Like many, Lyew took a hit at the height of the pandemic.

The shop, which first opened in Brooklyn in 2016 and then relocated to the East Village in March of 2020, has had numerous obstacles, but the entrepreneur is keeping her eye on the ball.

“I do feel like there are parts of the city where people would appreciate what we’re doing and it would be really great to connect with them.”


441 East 9th Street, East Village, NY 10009
Open Wed. – Sun. 11a-7p