Mothership on Main Bakery and Cafe: Hidden Gem in Danbury

Kathleen Telesco 

The story of Mothership on Main Bakery in Danbury began eight years ago, after owner Anna Llanos had just finished treatment for cancer. Instead of applying for a job, “like a normal person,” she did what most of us would not dare to do in the easiest of times, she turned the Airstream trailer in her driveway into an espresso bar and bakery. After opening two more kitchens in commercial buildings in Danbury, she realized that she wanted to find a location where she could be a part of the larger community. This is how she eventually set up shop in a converted 1930s-era gas station on Main Street, where fans flock for breakfast, lunch, and all the baked goods they can eat in between.

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It’s Llanos’s emphasis on community that fosters the welcoming atmosphere at Mothership. I’ve never encountered a grumpy employee there. Everyone in the kitchen and behind the counter seems genuinely happy to see you, and excited about the food that they create. When I asked Llanos about this, she said that she only hires people with a good attitude—the rest can be taught. Since many of her employees are mothers, she makes it a point to work with their schedules so that they don’t need to rely on daycare. All of this positivity seems to flow through the kitchen and into the customer’s experience.

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The bakery has a low-key retro feel, from its oilcloth table coverings to the black-and-white photos of the “mothers of Mothership” hanging on the wall (many of their recipes come from their own mothers). There’s a calm but lively energy, inviting you to relax on the couch with a book, or get some work done at one of the large communal tables. The main seating area and the kitchen are separated only by a glass window, through which you can see the bakers kneading dough and sprinkling cinnamon by hand—a little preview of the mouthwatering treats on deck.

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I started lunch with the sandwich of the day: turkey, brie, and caramelized onions on cranberry bread. Their bread is homemade, and many of their ingredients are as well, including their house-smoked bacon. The sandwiches are simple, but every ingredient is excellent.

After my sandwich, I moved on to a chocolate-dipped coconut macaroon. Mothership’s macaroons are the best I’ve ever had. Forget those shriveled, chewy little demons you get in a canister—these macaroons are a whole different species. Their incredibly creamy insides are outdone only by their perfectly caramelized shells. It’s truly hard to eat just one. 

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One word of caution: Mothership’s baked goods tend to go very quickly, so if you see only one more macaroon, or raspberry bread pudding, you would be wise to grab it. And if you see their butterscotch chip and date gluten-free cowboy cookies in the lineup, you should just go ahead and order the whole bunch.

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After my macaroon, I needed something light. I tried a blueberry-kombucha mocktail made with Cross Culture Kombucha—a long-time local partner of Mothership’s. The mocktail wasn’t overly sweet, nor was it as tart as some kombuchas I’ve had. I’d usually go for coffee or tea with lunch, but I was glad that Llanos had recommended something a little different.

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Everything at Mothership is just really really good. It’s one of those places where you can have both a lazy weekend breakfast, and a quiet weekday lunch. You might even develop a habit of stopping by in the morning to ensure you get the pick of the best sweets. I already regret sharing the tip about the cowboy cookies.

Mothership is open 7:30am-5:00pm on weekdays, and 8:30am-2:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Mothership Bakery, Cafe & Catering 331 Main St, Danbury, CT 06810