When the Miller family founded CCP Gluten Free Baking (later renamed Gluten Free Gem) in 2006, gluten-free treats were all but impossible to find in Portland. Fast forward a decade and the differences are stark: one in five Americans actively include gluten-free foods in their diets, according to a 2015 Gallup poll; Portland boasts dozens of explicitly gluten-free eateries; and after more than a decade in the wholesale business, Gluten Free Gem has finally opened its first retail bakery.
Perched on the corner of NE 2nd and Broadway, the spacious shop is bright and airy, painted white and covered in windows. One of only a few Portland shops certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, Gluten Free Gem uses color-coded signs to identify all of its baked treats, making it easy to spot dairy-free or egg-free items.
Many of the treats on display—think almond apricot cake and peanut butter power bars—may look familiar from Gem’s more than 75 local wholesale locations. The new shop also allows Gem to sell soft pretzels, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and other mouthwatering items that were previously only available by special order, due to their short shelf life. Thirsty? Patrons can wash down their desserts with local Jasmine Pearl tea and Water Ave coffee.
Celebrate the bakery’s grand opening—which also happens to be their 6th anniversary as Gluten Free Gem—on Friday, April 7 from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Patrons are invited to scope out the new space while enjoying a complimentary slice of cake. So if you’re skeptical that gluten-free goodies could ever be as good as the real deal, now’s your chance to find out for free.