Deep Ellum Reaches Zen

Christine Nicholson, NBCDFW

Built at the old address of the Blind Lemon night club, Zen Baking Company is Deep Ellum's latest neighborhood bistro and bakery.

Zen Baking Company is the type of bakery you’d expect in Deep Ellum, just plain cool. Known for it’s zenfully delicious cake balls, the shop shares the hip vibe of the neighborhood and mixes it with a family-style atmosphere.

Sisters and co-owners Chonnie Richey and Czarina Hounsel started baking cake balls in 2010, mainly wholesaling to Central Market and selling online before acquiring the shop.

This new addition to Deep Ellum offers sandwiches, coffees, bubble tea and, of course, cake balls of every variety. Cake and icing are combined and then rolled into balls before being dipped into chocolate with flavors like Rockin' Red Velvet, Happy Birthday Cake, Berry Yummy, Ode to Nola, Nice Day for a White Wedding, Choco-choco-choco-late, Not So Plain Vanilla and Blind Lemon.

Specialty flavors include Macarooned and Green with Envy made with green tea.

As an inspiration to their Filipino heritage, the sisters also offer Purplelicious cake balls made with purple yams as well as ensaymada, a Filipino pastry that is a cross between a cinnamon roll and a croissant. This brioche pastry is topped with smoked gouda or purple yams. The Zen duo will also offer a brunch they call Mi Familia which is a family-style Filipino dinner.

“One of the things that we pride ourselves on is our Filipino culture,” says Hounsel. “We know that once they try our cake balls, they’re going to trust us to introduce the Asian side of who we are.”

Zen Baking Company’s delightfully designed setting serves as a retreat for their customers. The modern zen-like décor flows with a feng shui of peaceful colorful walls, bamboo plants and sanctuary statues.

“Whenever people come in here they’re going to get a really neat vibe,” says Hounsel. “We’re trying to do something different.”

As you walk further back, you realize this isn't an ordinary bakery. Some of the shops livelier features include a wall-length red leather banquette, a long L-shaped bar, a lounge area, a DJ booth and a dance floor used for renting out.

Having enjoyed the neighborhood back in its heday, the sisters chose Deep Ellum becaue they want to play a role in the neighborhood’s exciting revitalization.

 “We want you to know us by first name,” says Richey. “And we want to know you by yours.”

Find It:

Zen Baking Company
2805 Main Street
Dallas, Texas 75226

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