Liger’s Bakery

We were sad when we learned that Moody’s on McGehee Rd. would be closing. This news is extra painful for businesses near Moody’s in the Gay Meadows shopping center. We will be profiling some of those businesses over the coming weeks and encourage you to support them in this difficult time of transition.

As with many Montgomery institutions, most people have heard of Liger’s, have eaten their delicious pastries or bread, and generally have warm feelings toward the bakery. Yet, when you mention Liger’s, many people say: “You know, I love that place. I wonder why I haven’t been there in so long?”

They seem puzzled, as if they were encountering a novel mystery as to why they had forgotten how much they love cupcakes. Their brows sometimes furrow, as if they first confirm in their minds that, yes, they do, in fact, quite enjoy cheese straws. They then determine that they immensely enjoyed the last baked goods they procured from Liger’s. And still, they are befuddled as to why it has been so long since they exchanged money for unimpeachable deliciousness.

If you are experiencing this confused malaise and you’re currently wondering how long it has been since you set foot in Liger’s, allow us to help you out. And if you’ve (gasp) never been, allow us to persuade you to remedy this cavern of inexperience that exists in your empty life. First though, a clarification. The name of the place rhymes with Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and is not pronounced like the Lion-Tiger hybrid drawn by Napoleon Dynamite. Liger is the name of a person, and you don’t get to put your own spin on the pronunciation.

A review of the city’s finest purveyor of baked goods is no place to include an essay about the real estate atrocities presented by the long-festering corpse of the Montgomery Mall. An analysis of the causes of Montgomery Mall’s death (and the city’s slow-moving plans to turn the area into some sort of military veterans’ health care dispensary) are a topic for another blog post (or three). Yet, the chain reaction caused by the Mall’s collapse can be seen as you travel north on McGehee Rd. As you pass the empty husk of a mall, you can witness the devastation to the surrounding area. Liger’s lies within the zone of carnage, in a shopping center that just lost a great independently-owned hardware store and sits across the street from another obviously-struggling shopping center which might collapse if not for India Palace.

So far, Liger’s has actually survived two great Montgomery real estate collapses. It opened in Normandale back when that shopping center was still drawing visitors from all over the region. The store has been in Gay Meadows for several decades. Carl Stokes bought the venerable Montgomery landmark a few years ago and is determined to expand business while holding on to delicious traditions like red velvet cupcakes, wedding cakes, or even a tasty cream cheese and olive spread.

We wandered into Liger’s  as they were preparing for their first holiday Open House.  The middle of the store held an elaborate spread of the bakery’s best offerings, all arranged to their best effect: rows of delicate petit fours, tuffets of tiny cupcakes in all of the most delicious flavors, all the danishes you can imagine and then some. This was an unadvertised event, kind of a trial run. But for us, it was like walking into Tiffany’s to find they were handing out free samples.

In addition to the bakery cases where you can get sweets or savories by the box or bagful, Liger’s specializes in custom cakes, made fresh the day of delivery. Their sample books are filled with impressive 3-D edible setpieces like circuses, laptops, princess castles and Noah’s Ark. Someday when the Food Network comes to Montgomery, Liger’s will be the set for the kind of show that highlights its cast of characters (many of whom get to work at 3 AM and stay until close) while educating us about frosting and fillings.

Until then, we’re looking forward to trying new things at Liger’s. We hear good rumors about their salads and sandwiches, and might even need to order a cake or two. You know, just for testing purposes. One of each … in the name of scholarship.

If Liger’s were to succumb to the economic forces pulling down other businesses in the area, it would be a monumental tragedy. But if the steady stream of satisfied customers we always see when we’re in the store is any indication, this is one Midtown business that can survive just about any hard times with the right mix of sugar, eggs and flour.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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  1. Liger’s Bakery’s new website is…yum | 29 March, 2011

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