A Butch Bakery Storefront and Cookbook Are Coming
Testosterone meets a tender crumb.
Photo courtesy of Butch Bakery
A mere six months after introducing the world to cupcakes for dudes, Butch Bakery has a new bun in its oven: Its owner, David Arrick, tells us he's planning to open a storefront. What's more, the search and subsequent opening will be the subject of a reality show whose pilot he's about to start filming. Oh, and he's also got a deal to write a Butch Bakery cookbook for Wiley, which he hopes to have out by next Father's Day. "Everything has happened very quickly," he says, adding that he feels the bakery's been so successful because "we've filled a niche market that was unfilled before. Why do pastries have to be girlie all the time?"
Although Arrick is no stranger to the fourth wall -- before he started Butch, he was an actor by trade -- he stresses that the TV show, should it be picked up, won't be "about me waking up in the morning, but "about the genesis of the business, building the business, and how I'm surviving in my first year of business."
Regardless of whether the show, which is being produced by MY-Tupelo Entertainment, ever makes it to the airwaves, Arrick says that the bakery is a go. He wants to open a storefront because his current production space isn't accessible to the public. "I don't like that," he says. "I want it to be all in one place, like other bakeries." He's scouting locations in downtown Manhattan -- the Meatpacking District, the Lower East Side, Chelsea -- "somewhere cool, something with a lot of walk-by traffic, something where it would fit in with the whole concept," which is, he says, "very industrial."
Given that downtown Manhattan isn't exactly lacking in cupcakes, isn't Arrick a wee bit concerned about the competition? "I'm not worried. I think there's enough room for all of us. I knew this was conceptually so different that I thought, 'This is going to get the attention that I need to have sustainability.' When the book and reality show people called, I thought, I'm on to something here."
And he adds -- no doubt to the consternation of those who have been driven to homicidal impulses by buttercream overload -- "The market isn't saturated yet. I think the cupcakes craze is on the upswing. It's here to stay. There's something about it that resonates and survives in spite of the economy."
Right now, Butch produces an average of 350-400 cupcakes per week, though that number fluctuates around the holidays -- "we're expecting Father's Day to be really big" -- and whenever the media pauses to notice what the bakery's doing. Once the bakery opens, Arrick hopes to churn out 1,000 per week.
Despite being marketed to the XY crowd, the majority of Arrick's customers are women: "I'd say 80 percent of business is women buying for their husband's 35th birthday," Arrick says. "It makes perfect sense that you'd buy a dozen or half-dozen for a guy's birthday, especially if there's beer or whiskey in them. I don't expect some stockbroker to be picking up the phone, necessarily. I mean, look who's supporting the cupcake market: It's women." That said, he's also been getting a number of corporate clients, banks and law firms who like their cupcakes "masculine and streamlined."
On the subject of the masculine and streamlined, Arrick admits that not everyone has been a fan of his brand of niche marketing. "I've gotten mail saying, 'Why do you have to segregate men from women?' But you can't take this so seriously. It's just frosting and cake."
Also, there's that name. "People think it's a lesbian thing," Arrick admits. "And certainly, we mean no offense to lesbians; we love the LGBT community. But we want to take the word 'butch' back," he jokes. "What about Butch Cassidy? He's not a lesbian."
And besides, the sexual identities of fictional screen personalities notwithstanding, "if I'd called it Dave's Bakery, what are the chances I would have gotten this far?"
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to New York dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.