Local Eats: Rise Authentic Baking Co. in Grand Rapids offers classic treats with a vegan, gluten-free makeove – MLive.com

Posted: May 9, 2021 at 1:50 am

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GRAND RAPIDS, MINick and Becca Van Liere never considered themselves bakers, but their Rise Authentic Baking Co. has grown from an apartment-based pastime into an entirely vegan and gluten-free bakery.

When the couple were studying natural resources management and social work respectively at Grand Valley State University, Nick said he never considered even opening a bakery.

But seven years later, the bakery is a staple in the citys West Side community, located at 1220 Fulton Street.

The duo ditches typical baking ingredients like eggs, butter and flour in favor of substitutes like vegan butter, and flour alternatives. Instead of lox on a bagel, its a carrot substitute on a homemade gluten-free bagel.

Nick Van Liere said when he shifted to a vegan diet at age 18, he realized that the area didnt have enough options for his lifestyle, so he took matters into his own hands, toying with different recipes and studying vegan baking.

So, being vegan was what kind of kickstarted the whole idea and the concept, he said. We really wanted to be able to bring a plant-based option to the city and there wasnt a lot of options at the time. And the same with gluten-free.

Rise Authentic Baking Co. formed when he and Becca started baking out of their 450-square-foot apartment in their West Side neighborhood.

While space was limited, the demand for their specialty cakes and donuts was not. The duo had to form community partnerships with former vegan restaurant Bartertown Diner and Crossroads Bible Church, which both allowed them to use their commercial kitchens to up production.

After four years, the bakery found its permanent home on Fulton Street. The storefront was described as a tangible way to continue to normalize vegan and gluten-free baking.

Co-owner Nick Van Liere said Rise's first home was in a 450-square-foot apartment, which has since expanded over the years into a community-centric space. (Photo provided to MLive by Rena Martin)

For people that arent familiar with what we do, they might think, Oh, its just a cake or its just a doughnut, but they dont understand there is a lot of engineering behind the scenes and lots of years of recipe testing and developing and getting into a spot where were offering a product were really proud of, Nick Van Liere said.

Getting to that point, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to get a product thats vegan and gluten-free that you can stand behind and feel really excited about anybody eating and representing our company well.

Popular pride points include a swath of custom-crafted cakes. Nearly 30 are being prepared this Mothers Day weekend. The bakery is also known for their donuts, which was an early fan-favorite item.

On the savory side of the menu, the breakfast sandwiches which are only offered on the weekends are hot menu items right now. Theyre served on homemade gluten-free bagels with mung bean eggs, white bean sausage, eggplant bacon and in-house cheddar cheese and sriracha mayo.

People love them, said Van Liere, who said people come back every weekend to get some. Its been really cool to see people take on that tradition so well.

On the sweet side of things, the bakerys classic oatmeal cream pies are also vegan and gluten-free, made with fluffy vanilla buttercream between two cookies.

Its a lot of peoples childhood treats that they cant eat in their adulthood because theyre vegan or theyre gluten-free, Van Liere said. Its the perfect thing. People love them. Theyre one of my favorites, too.

He said the oatmeal cream pies and their mostess cakes represent one of the more empowering elements of Rise Authentic Baking Co.: the ability to give those who are vegan or gluten-free memorable treats back in a new way.

Its like theyre excited about their kids being able to have these things, and theres nowhere else for them to find it, Van Liere said.

He said along with making vegan and gluten-free options is forming a community because that is what food has the power to do.

Its really cool that Rise can be a part of celebrations when we send out a custom order cake and we know that theyre having a little party for someones birthday or graduation or... people celebrating their moms, Van Liere said. We just get to be a part of these peoples lives in a small way, and thats really what its all about -- being able to offer a product that is approachable for everybody.

Rise Authentic Baking Co. is open seven days a week - from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, according to its website. Check out the spring menu here. The bakery can be reached by phone at (616) 288-7969.

The classic baked goods are also available wholesale at locations around West Michigan. Van Liere said the bakery hopes to soon expand to grocery stores in Detroit and Lansing.

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Local Eats: Rise Authentic Baking Co. in Grand Rapids offers classic treats with a vegan, gluten-free makeove - MLive.com

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May 9th, 2021 at 1:50 am

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