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Twin Cities' only gluten-free bakery to open a storefront this spring

When Molly Miller began baking, her inspiration was simple: She wanted delicious baked goods to eat.

Miller went gluten-free in 2009 to better manage her Crohn's Diease, but she missed the carb-filled treats she grew up with and began creating them in her own kitchen.

Now, after three years of farmers market peddling and coffee shop cameos, what started as a hobby has taken on a life of its own as Miller prepares to open a brick-and-mortar location for Sift, the Twin Cities’ only exclusively gluten-free bakery.

“I wouldn't say the original intention was a bakery,” Miller said. “But I realized I really do enjoy this. And to see the reaction of people when they haven’t had a doughnut for years, that’s pretty cool.”

The excitement and demand for her goods became obvious pretty quickly. Miller – a writer, editor and advertising professional in her previous life – began selling at farmers markets in 2013. Shortly after came the deluge of coffee shops interested in her goods. Peace Coffee asked Miller if they could sell her baked items, then Dunn Brothers Coffee.

“That’s when I thought ‘Oh, I think I have something here,’” the Wisconsin native said. “It was kind of a waterfall from there.”

Miller quit her day job in the fall of 2014 and now is taking the dream one step further: she’s in the process of purchasing a building in south Minneapolis (the location is not yet finalized) for a new storefront she hopes to open this spring. 

Initially, Miller plans to offer the same lineup of goods – muffins, doughnuts, scones, cinnamon buns and other sweet morsels – that she’s already selling through 20 local coffee shops including Five Watt Coffee, Vicinity Coffee and several Peace locations. Eventually, she hopes to expand to incorporate breads, buns, English muffins and soft pretzels – recipes of which she is currently developing.

Beyond those basics, Miller – who is currently cooking out of community kitchen City Foods Studio – has aspirations of experimenting with goods addressing other dietary restrictions including vegan, refined sugar-free, paleo and autoimmune protocol-friendly items.

“I want to offer breads and bagels and a lot more in the bread category which is what people tell me they most miss,” she said. “Hopefully that everyone [no matter their restrictions] can eventually find something they can enjoy.”

On top: Pistachio and rosewater mini cakes; at bottom: assorted doughnuts. Photos via Sift.)

New Korean BBQ takeout restaurant to open in south Minneapolis

Growing up, Mike Brant’s adopted parents would sign him up for Korean day camps and youth groups, hoping to help him keep in touch with the culture of his birth.

Those get-togethers meant seeing faces like his own, learning the history of his people – and eating a lot of food.

“I thought that was the best food ever,” Brant said. “I couldn’t wait to get that food.”

Over the years, Brant learned to cook those foods on his own, inviting friends over to partake in mandus (dumplings) or japchaes (stir-fried rice noodles).

Now, he’ll be bringing his own version of Korean fare to his adopted neighborhood when he and partner Josh Crew (pictured above, left to right) open Sum Dem Korean Barbecue (735 E. 48th St., Mpls.), a small takeout operation in South Minneapolis, later this month.

Brant, who worked in restaurants for years, most recently as the sous chef at a Portland, Ore. restaurant, is re-entering the industry after 14 years in graphic design.

“Cooking has always been a passion for me,” Brant said. “To learn and to create.”

Sum Dem will serve several kinds of Korean barbecue – including short ribs, pork ribs and chicken thighs – as well as dumplings, kim bop and kimchi pancakes, among other things, and will deliver within a restricted area. 

Check out the full menu here.

Eventually, Brant hopes to expand to a larger production with a license for wine and beer and gas burners installed at tables to allow patrons to barbecue their own meats.

"My goal is to have a place where the neighborhood would be able to come in, sit down, have a local beer or a glass of wine and enjoy traditional Korean food as well as experience season products," he said. 

[Photo credit: Mike Brant]

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