Walking through the double red doors of Mad Batter Baker is a pleasant trip down the rabbit hole. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired bakery manages a whimsical charm without needlessly beating you over the head with it.
The walls at the back are a patchwork of artwork, some of it for sale and the rest a collage inspired by the 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll. Top 40 songs reverberate through the shop, and the vibe makes Mad Batter feel like the kind of place to blow an hour with friends over a cappuccino and a pastry.
It's tough to nail down Mad Batter’s average customer. Millennials playing Pokemon Go occasionally wander in from across the street where you can often find dozens, and occasionally hundreds, of people playing the hit mobile game in Addison Circle Park. A middle-aged dad with tattoos covering both arms waits in line in front of a newly minted dad sporting a blue Pokemon shirt and a baby. The little boy cradled in his father’s arms is already rocking a hipster haircut.
Owners Nicole Margulies and her husband Zach describe their bakery as traditional — in the sense that they offer a broad range of baked goods — instead of specialty. The cupcakes are the big draw but the turnovers, cake balls, quiche and assorted croissants come in both sweet and savory. Mad Batter is also a full service cake studio.
Margulies doesn’t have any formal training but she began baking in her great-grandmother's kitchen, at the age of six, during summers spent in upstate New York. Her great-grandma was renowned for her lemon-meringue pies which regularly won the pie contest at the New York State Fair, she says.
“She dumped mountains of pie dough on a table and brought everybody in,” Margulies says. “That’s kind of how I grew up.”
Most of the morning traffic is in-and-out, with Addison Circle locals stopping by for a pastry to go or an espresso drink produced with beans from Addison Coffee Roasters. The afternoon crowd tends to stay longer and is marked by people stopping in during their dog walks for a treat.
A jogger with sweat running down his face has practically stumbled through the doors, letting valuable cold air rush out behind him. The runner isn’t the only one looking for a reprieve from the humid heat that’s been plaguing North Texas lately. The bakery offers its customers a place to cool off during long summer days but Mad Batter also has a small patio for patrons to enjoy when the weather is a little more agreeable.
Mad Batter is involved with several community organizations, including a local animal rescue group. The bakery also has a monthly contest where customers nominate and vote for cupcake flavors. To their credit, the Margulies honor the occasionally unorthodox flavors that people think they want. The results are occasionally travesties like a chili mango cupcake. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t the most successful flavor the shop has ever produced.
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Fortunately, Margulies knocks it out of the park with other baked goods like the cherry turnovers, with their warm flakey crust and moist cherry filling that seemingly defies logic.
Margulies jokingly describes the kitchen as chaos and mayhem. And maybe that’s where the trip down the rabbit hole begins to resemble the story written by Carroll, but sitting in one of the red armchairs out front is a different experience. “It’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” Margulies says. “We just try and keep it simple.”
Mad Batter Baker, 5615 Quorum Dr., Addison