photograph by Faith Teasley

Martin Brunner’s dad was a baker. And his dad was a baker. And his dad was a baker. And his dad was a baker. The family has been in North Carolina for 26 years, but their legacy, The Bakehouse, has been in operation since 1948. It originated in Austria, where Martin grew up. Today, in Aberdeen, the café features a wall-size window, which lets customers peer inside the pastry kitchen. There, floppy-hatted bakers roll rum balls and build Yule logs with chocolate buttercream. Taking part in family milestones, Martin says, is the thing he loves most about his job. “You don’t go into business for the money. That’s not what it’s all about,” he says. “We do baby shower cakes for couples whose wedding cakes I made. That’s it, right there.”


Martin Brunner and his staff create holiday gift baskets and gingerbread houses that can be customized to look like real-life homes. photograph by Faith Teasley

The Bakehouse
120 North Poplar Street
Aberdeen, NC 28315

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Emma Laperruque works as a food writer and recipe developer at Food 52 in New York City.