Food News

Save Maroches Bakery: A Holdout in Gentrified Oak Cliff Is Damaged by Rain

Maroches owner Manuel Tellez moved the business to Oak Cliff 18 years ago.
Maroches owner Manuel Tellez moved the business to Oak Cliff 18 years ago. Nashwa Bawab
Maroches on Davis Street is a small Mexican bakery that sits right at the edge of historic Winnetka Heights and is one of the last bastions of an older Dallas in the middle of gentrified North Oak Cliff eateries and bistros. But Maroches is going through some tough times that its owner doesn’t know it can survive.

A recent storm flooded the bakery and caused more than $20,000 worth of damage, Maroches owner Manuel Tellez says. He says a fridge motor broke, leaving eggs and butter spoiled, some of his baking tools need to be replaced and the roof is leaking.

Tellez doesn’t know if the bakery will survive past next year.

“I think we’ll make it to the end of this year, but I’m not sure what will happen after that … and right now I have everything on top of me,” he says.

Maroches Bakery first opened in Carrollton in the '90s, but Tellez moved the business to Oak Cliff in 2000 when he realized most of his customers were driving from the area just for his sweets. Since its arrival in Dallas, the bakery has seen a lot — from a fight with City Hall to keep a mural he commissioned, to gentrification in the neighborhood.

“We’re played with like monopoly here, but I’ve stayed independent and [the bakery] is family owned.” – Manuel Tellez

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“We’re played with like monopoly here, but I’ve stayed independent and [the bakery] is family owned,” Tellez says.

Eighteen years and four daughters later, Tellez is still baking traditional Mexican desserts like tres leches, rosca de reyes and the seasonal pan de muerto, or Day of the Dead bread in English.

Maroches is more than just a bakery to the community surrounding it. The space also hosts performances, book club meetings, band rehearsals, organization meetings, open mic nights and artists working on different projects.

“We, as a community of lower income people and people of color, don’t have many structures to go to, but Maroches is that place,” says Susana Edith, an organizer with Lucha Dallas Collective, whose members use the space to work and meet. “[Tellez] is always down to help us out, to stay open past closing hours to hold events.”

click to enlarge Maroches Bakery's chocoflan, moist chocolate cake with flan on top - OFELIA FAZ-GARZA
Maroches Bakery's chocoflan, moist chocolate cake with flan on top
Ofelia Faz-Garza
Edith recently started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the bakery, which has collected more than $300 for Tellez so far. Edith said she hopes Tellez can use the money to help his business prosper. She also wants the fundraiser to be a testament to the support he has from the community.

“Because of gentrification we’re getting pushed to the outskirts of the city, and we don’t have any other options,” she says. “We have to fight for the places we still have.”

Tellez says he has a couple of events he’s baking up for this month — he plans to continue running business as usual until he can’t. He wants one of his daughters to take over the bakery after him.

Tellez says he knows the club meetings don’t bring him any new customers and that the performances don’t make him many sales. But he was once in a band that didn’t have a place for rehearsals, yet was part of a community that had space for each other. He hopes Maroches can continue to be that place in Oak Cliff.

“The same way I treat the people from the community is the same way I treat my family,” Tellez says. “They turned almost into family to me because they share their problems with me, and I share mine with them.”

Maroches Bakery, 1227 W. Davis St. (Oak Cliff)
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Nashwa Bawab is an editorial fellow at the Dallas Observer and a recent journalism graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. She's from Arlington and is excited to begin writing important stories from DFW.
Contact: Nashwa Bawab