Sure, you can switch out sugar for agave nectar, butter for low fat yogurt, or throw in some whole wheat flour, but let's face it, it's hard to really make baked goods guilt free. Hayes Valley Bakeworks may have an edge on how to make you feel kind of good about yourself while noming on a gargantuan wedge of Four Barrel Coffee Cake or licking the icing of a Maple Bacon Cinnamon Roll off your fingers.
Hayes Valley Bakeworks is a non-profit bakery and cafe started by Toolworks, a local NGO that offers professional and vocational training and other support to individuals living with disabilities. Bakeworks will be staffed by people involved in Toolworks programs, allowing them not only to gain work experience and training, but also to build up their confidence about what they are capable of.
Beyond this mission, Bakeworks is created to be a place for community. It can be your spot to get a Four Barrel
iced coffee before heading over to Del Popolo
's somehow still kind of secret, no line location a few blocks over. Or it can even be your local pizzeria, with a daily pizza sold by the slice or half baked to finish at home on a signature potato quinoa crust.
Once you walk in the door of Bakeworks, however, you'll probably want to stay. Big windows let light pour into a spacious interior, adorned with cabinetry made of recycled barn wood and sustainably sourced cherry wood. At a sneak preview this Wednesday, we were met with friendly and incredibly attentive staff who were eager to please and learn the ropes before they throw open the doors for the grand opening.
Behind the counter tops-- crafted from recycled paper-- the kitchen is still working on an assortment of rustic American pastries, many of which are vegan or gluten free. None of the pastries we tried really caught our attention -- all a little too sweet and probably not something we'd come rushing back for. We did, of course, try them even before Day One and would definitely be down to give them another nibble to see if they've evolved next time we're in the neighborhood.
But we are excited about the Celebrity Soups. This month Sean Baker of Gather
, Justin Nilson of Soup to Cake
and The Tablehopper
Marcia Gagliardi (who by the way is collaborating with GiltCity
to offer some killer Groupon-esque deals this week on items like discounted Korean tacos and Happy Hour at Namu Gaji) will each contribute a recipe for the kitchen to prepare. These local chefs will also come meet with the staff to serve as an example or even a mentor of the possibilities for careers in the food industry. I would also come back to meet a friend for coffee or to do some work over a Morning Porridge Bowl ($4) which features a changing selection of hot grain cereals and toppings.
As Bakeworks figures out its identity and works out some kinks in the coming months, we will certainly support this unique and noble addition to Hayes Valley.