Some things defy categorization. There is no other way to say this. As much as I love putting things into categories, some things simply refuse. For example:
Meet "Bambo," resident of Wallingford's A Muddy Cup coffee shop.
Suppose the stylistic elements of hipster eclecticism could be married to those of hunting culture, and that the two one day managed to produce a child. (Heaven forbid.) Said child would defy all expectations. It would own an ultra-eco-friendly pickup truck, and wear skinny camo pants, with a backward (alternatively upside down, or inside out) hot-pink or neon-purple hunting vest. It would undoubtedly carry a cap rifle, and snack on Big League Chew. It would produce an award-winning country album titled Anna Karenina. And I think if it ever happened to open a coffee shop, it would open one like A Muddy Cup in Wallingford.
To be blunt, the coffee at A Muddy Cup is unremarkable. Only a few months old, the little shop serves coffee from Wallingford's Pangaea Organica Cooperative, and pastries from an assortment of other locals such as The Flying Apron and Skydottir Epic Cookies. This is all well and good, but the decor is so distracting that the food and beverages sail by nearly unnoticed.
After poking around for a bit, I inquired with the owner/barista, Matt, whether they were going for any particular theme when they decorated. He replied that they absolutely were. "I wanted an animal theme," he said.
I raised an eyebrow, expressing that, to me, "animal theme" suggested obnoxious leopard-print fabrics and pictures of elephants, not an afghan-upholstered chair next to a statue of a big-mouth bass. He thought a bit more, and then offered a description that comes as close to describing A Muddy Cup as one could possibly get: "Faux Hunting Lodge."
In fact, that seems to capture the ethos nicely. It is confusing, and contradictory, but rife with humor and thriving on its own irony. The cartoon-esque deer heads, mounted on bright orange walls and wrapped in green Christmas lights, boggle (even distress) the mind, but demand witnessing.
As unappealing as its name may be, A Muddy Cup is a must-see. You can go for the coffee, if you're up for a challenge, but good luck getting your brain to register anything beyond the bizarre hipster/hunter hybrid.
A Muddy Cup is located at 266 N.E. 45th St., open 6 a.m.--8 p.m. during the week, and 7 a.m.--8 p.m. on weekends.