Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is a law firm that is all about family and they know food is an integral part of family life. They also like to support local food spots, like Magpie's, the cutest little bakery that's been operating under-our-radar for two years in Mattapoisett. How'd we miss it?
It's a one-woman shop so when Liam Connor and I stopped by, owner-baker-counter staff Jenni Strand told us we may be interrupted by her magpies -- her pet name for her customers. She was spot on. We were interrupted - again and again - and it was delightful.
Don came in and peeked around the glass cases and peered over at the baking trays stacked behind. He left with a couple of hermits, a ham & swiss biscuit and a slice of banana cream pie.
I asked Don if he'd been a regular since Jenni opened in 2021. He said, "yeah, I started coming five pounds ago."
Jenni really knows her customers. She was holding a blueberry turnover in the back for Derek -- to be clear, Derek hadn't ordered a turnover, she just knew he likes them and so she put one aside for him. She had an iced coffee watiting for Lars in the cooler. There was a frownie face drawn in dry erase marker on the glass door. Why the frownie face? I asked. "Because it's decaf," said Jenni, making her own face.
When she retired after 25 years as a preschool director, this is what she dreamed of. A cute little bake shop (very cute, very little) with wide sliding barn doors that lead into Isabelle's gift shop next door when both businesses are open. The doors have whisks as handles. She's got cookie cutters adorning the wall which seem like clever wall art for a bakery. The real value, she told me, is that it reminds her what she has so that she uses them regularly.
There's a different bakery case each day you walk in, depending on what Jenni has decided she'd like to make. Sure, there are some regulars in her rotation -- she always has cinnamon rolls on Saturdays, for instance -- but mostly, she bakes as the fancy strikes her. So you can walk in and find unique choices you won't find everywhere, ranging from a little bit fancy, like the Belgian Almond Thins, to the down home, like banana bread (loaded with pecans, coconut and chocolate). Smartly, there are always savory choices as well. Quiche, tortas, ham & swiss in a biscuit, cheddar biscuits with everything seasoning, so you can stop by to "pick up lunch" (wink, wink) and grab a little treat for afterwards.
The little shop hums with good vibrations. That's because Jenni is doing it exactly the way she dreamed. She's limited the stress that comes from opening a shop. She's not managing a staff, she's not making wedding cakes, she bakes what she wants. Luckily for us, what she wants is to make folks happy so if she hasn't made one of the regulars' favorites for a while, she'll put that back into the rotation.
But she'll also say No. When someone came in on a Saturday to see if he could order a banana cream pie for a birthday on Monday, she apologized that she couldn't do that as she is closed on Sundays and Mondays. He asked to buy the pie that he was looking at. She refused, "not if you're going to serve it on Monday. It won't taste as good by Monday." She's got high standards.
She'll bend over backwards when she can. One of her favorite customers is Ava, 8 years old, who came in to talk about her upcoming birthday cake. "Maggie," [she calls Jenni "Maggie" because of the name of the shop. Jenni is fine with it.] I'm ready to order my cake. Do you have a long piece of paper and a lot of time?" Jenni settled in with a piece of paper to get Ava's order exactly right.
Jenni is in her shop each day at 3:30 am baking for the day because she wants everything as fresh as it can be. She closes at 2 but she begins selling out of items much earlier. If she's completely sold out, she'll close earlier than 2. If she's not sold out, she'll often drop the remainders at various spots around town: friends, first responders, the builders who outfitted her space.
Magpie's, 81 County Street, Mattapoisett.
Photos by Liam Connor Photography.
We hope you enjoyed this post, which is part of a series of blog posts celebrating local food spots, sponsored by Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., the premier estate planning and elder law practice serving clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. Surprenant & Beneski can help you prepare the foundational documents needed to facilitate healthcare, financial and legal decisions should a medical crisis occur. Early planning can save money, heartache and angst during a temporary bout of incapacity or a long-term care event. Getting your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind. Find out more about Surprenant & Beneski here.
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Last post in the series: We'd been waiting to see what went into the old Seaport Grille and boy, did our patience pay off! Saffron by the Sea is serving up authentic, delicious Indian fare to an already devoted following. The secret is out: there's a new Indian place in town and the food is GREAT. Find it here.