It’s hard to say what catches your eye first at The Rabbit Hole -- the display case filled with delicious cakes, pastries and more or the new bakery itself, which is decorated in an “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” theme, right down to some inverted cups and saucers as light fixtures.
“I’m a huge fan,” 24-year-old baker Amanda Fuchser said of the Lewis Carroll story. “I grew up in the Disney era. Once we found this place, I knew (the Alice in Wonderland theme) was a must.”
The bakery, appropriately, is located in a hole of sorts -- beneath Yowie’s at the corner of Eighth and Q streets.
Fuschser co-owns The Rabbit Hole with Beau Ballard, 22, son of James Arthur Vineyards’ owners Jim and Barb Ballard. They opened the store on Sept. 17.
The bakery specializes in small-batch baking, making cakes by the slice, brownies, macaroons, cookies and other pastries available to dine in or take out, with prices ranging from $2 to $4.50 per item. Fuchser and Ballard’s goal is to make The Rabbit Hole a dessert destination in the Haymarket after dinner, concerts, theatrical productions or basketball games.
Fuchser earned her bachelor’s degree in baking and pastries from the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia, while Ballard recently graduated from Colorado Christian University (Lakewood, Colorado) in business and political science. Fuchser also interned part and full time for five years at Butterfly Bakery under Linda Cox, who arguably is one of the city’s top pastry chefs.
“I really wanted to start my own bakery,” Fuchser said. “The Haymarket needed something like this. Dessert is not an option unless it’s at a full-service restaurant. We wanted to bring this concept to the area.”
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To make a go of it, The Rabbit Hole acquired a liquor license in order to pair wine, liquors and specialty drinks with the desserts. The Rabbit Hole also has drip coffee available -- a special blend bearing their name roasted by The Coffee Roaster.
It opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday, offering breakfast items such as scones and muffins on the menu along with the other pastries. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, although the bakery plans to expand them during concerts, games and more.
Like Butterfly, Rabbit Hole bakes special-order occasion cakes, available in 6-, 8-, 10- or 12-inch round, square or customized sculpted sizes, starting at $30. Check out the website -- therabbitholebakery.com -- and you’ll see an “Alice in Wonderland” cake as well as one shaped like the phone booth from the popular science fiction TV show, “Doctor Who.” Other baked goods also are available as custom orders.
Fuchser bakes fresh daily, so retail options change daily. I’ve already enjoyed two kinds of scones and won points with my wife when I brought home a slice of Fuchser’s chocolate salted caramel cake. Moist. Rich. And extremely delicious.
Fuchser and Ballard’s family members, especially Fuchser’s father, John, who framed the kitchen and did much of the masonry work, get credit for the bakery’s look. Fuchser’s sister, Marissa, an art student at Concordia University, painted the Alice mural on the wall near the entrance.
As for the other stuff in the room, “people started bringing us tea pots and tea cups,” Fuchser said. Many of them are found on a bookshelf at the back of the bakery. Fuchser and Ballard may need another bookshelf if that keeps up. For more information, call 402-975-2322 or go to therabbitholebakery.com.