Anyone suffering from food allergies, particularly those who can't tolerate gluten, eggs or dairy, will tell you that baked goods can be hard to come by.
Fortunately, the food industry is slowly adapting to consumer requests for vegan and allergy-sensitive items. Flying Apron has been catering to this crowd in Seattle since 2002 and now Eastsiders can enjoy goodies at their own branch without crossing the lake.
Flying Apron's new Redmond location, at 16541 Redmond Way where it crosses 166th Avenue NE, held its grand opening this last Monday, July 18, and local dignitaries welcomed the new bakery with fanfare.
While the bakery could have put roots down in neighboring Eastside cities, Redmond was chosen for its unique demographics. Taylor Thomas, who works in both locations, pointed out the bakery's prime location on Redmond Way next to a hot yoga studio. Its proximity to Microsoft, which boasts a large vegetarian population from India, was not lost on management, either.
The location meets the needs of Redmond's suburban clientele with a spacious parking lot for maneuvering the minivan and a large, open dining room with ample seating for moms and kids.
But it is the goodies behind the plexiglass display case that draw in the guests. Allergy sufferers will be in baked-good heaven where the typical one or two half-hearted attempts to appease the gluten-free crowd have multiplied to several dozen tempting choices.
Cupcakes, shortbread, banana bars, peanut butter cookies, apricot thumbprints, tea biscuits, scones, pecan cinnamon rolls and on and on go the sweets. Each item proudly displays every ingredient on a small card above the platter.
Those in the mood for something savory won't be disappointed by the pizza (more accurately a roasted vegetable tart sans cheese), two different vegetable pockets, shepherd's pie and macaroni and "chez." Soups and salads are also available, as is a full espresso bar.
In 2010, Flying Apron came under the new ownership of Jeff Silva, Ethan Hernandez and Erik Chelstad. Silva and Hernandez personally know the challenges faced by those suffering severe food allergies and dietary restrictions, while Chelstad brings practical business know-how from his involvement in other Seattle start-ups.
In addition to the bakery's commitment to animal- and gluten-free products, great care has been taken to source fresh, organic ingredients and alternative sweeteners like agave and stevia. The generous "complete satisfaction guarantee" takes the fear out of trying new items for apprehensive customers.
Flying Apron products are also available at , and many other stores around Seattle and the Eastside.