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Interviewee: Wendy Miller Pugh, Owner
Location: 116 East Moler Street, Columbus, OH 43207
Special: mention “Best of the Menu” and receive 10% off through 7.28.15!
Q | What are the most popular items on your menu? Why?
A | Our most popular item, the one that I say will keep them coming back, is the Oatmeal Creme Cloud. I think it’s just the perfect combination of nostalgic treat and just plain delicious cookie…and it has creme filling – you can’t go wrong with that. Our other popular items are hand pies, pies, and especially now – PopTarts. I think they are popular because a great gluten free pie crust is hard to find – and I’m certain we’ve mastered it. It’s flaky and delicious and you can’t tell it’s gluten free. As far as the PopTart, I think we’ve also hit a nostalgic treat nerve on that one, too. We love remaking the nostalgic treats because, honestly, if you went out and bought a PopTart or a Twinkie right now and ate it, it wouldn’t really taste good. But there are a lot of feelings tied to food and memories, so I think that’s why it quickly gains popularity with customers.
Q | Are there any items NOT on your menu that are staff favorites (that you’d be willing to serve up to any customer who asked)?
A | We often save the reject oatmeal cookies (from the Oatmeal Creme Clouds) and eat them without filling – our daughter actually prefers them that way. We sometimes make egg sandwiches out of our leftover scones…and we just made up some FRIED gluten free donuts for staff – but I think I’ve realized donut frying is not my passion. But we may have a donut day sometime in the future once we figure some stuff out!
Q | So many people have gluten intolerances or choose to be gluten-free. How did you decide to open a gluten-free bakery?
A | About 10 years ago, I realized that I needed to be gluten free out of necessity. And when you’re gluten free, you definitely need to cook/bake more to feed yourself safely. I started to play around with making Twinkies (we now call them Spongies) and friends loved them. My partner (and co-owner) said that we should start a gluten free bakery (she’s the entreprenueral one) and we took the leap. We started renting kitchen space, soon outgrew it and got our own facility. It’s been challenging, yet rewarding…tiring, yet thrilling – but we are so happy how everything has grown so quickly and been embraced by our neighborhood, gluten free patrons and especially the gluten-eaters.
Q | Which item is most impressive to those who are used to eating gluten? (Sometimes gluten gluttons don’t think gluten-free can taste as good – what a shame!)
A | We have worked very hard to dispel that stereotype – we believe our gluten free goodness is for everybody. You can buy a pie for Thanksgiving, a cake for a birthday or some cookies for your co-workers and everybody can eat it and be thrilled that is is tasty and happens to be gluten free. We’ve tested all our products on people who can eat gluten because sometimes I can’t tell if the texture is off since I haven’t had gluten in years. Again, I believe it’s the pies (and even scones – probably one of the most popular items the gluten eaters love) that really appeal to everybody. When it comes to pie crust, a good technique is important as well as a good flour mix (which we’ve formulated ourselves), so the crust doesn’t fall apart and isn’t grainy. Thanksgiving and Christmas was booming with pie orders mainly because customers bought pies for their whole family to enjoy, not just the gluten free people. We heard many stories of fights over the pies – the gluten free people were guarding them with their life…and the non-gluten free people wanted more. We love to hear testimonials like that.
Q | Did I hear something about a spin on pop tarts?!
A | Yes! Some of our best ideas come from customers. Of course, the thought had crossed my mind at one point in time, but one of our regulars said that his kids had never had PopTarts and it would be really cool if we could do some. Those kind of things always get me, so on a whim, I whipped up some Strawberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTarts and they have quickly gained a cult following. We’ve done them weekly for a few weeks, but now we are going to put them on occasional weekends, special orders, special events, etc. just to keep things interesting. We’ve also done Blueberry and Lemon Curd – and plan on other spins as well. I sat down and had a Brown Sugar Cinnamon one the other day and had to pause and appreciate how good it was. It has the essence of those childhood treats that only a kid would love… amplified to the next level.
Rumor has it that Wendy will begin to offer baking classes soon! The bakery has the perfect space for it. Who wants to go with me? :)