Gluten-Free Bakery Coming to Little Rock!

31 Mar

Updated 3-31-11

May the gluten-sensitive of Little Rock rejoice.

Paula Dempsey, known to those of us in the formerly-advertising-PR world as part of Dempsey Film Group, is opening Dempsey Bakery, the city’s first gluten-free bakery, at 4th and Cross Streets in Little Rock around June 1. The space, designed by Herron-Horton Architects of Little Rock, will include space for public meetings and classes.

Products will include several kinds of bread, pies, cookies and cupcakes, as well as specialty cakes which can be ordered for unique dietary needs. Breads will most likely be in the $7-8 range, and specialty cakes will likely be priced under $100.

Dempsey’s passion for gluten-free goods has come as the result of a family-wide need for those products.

“Between eight adults and five children, we are all gluten-free,” Dempsey said. “We have one grandchild whose diet is nearly vegan due to food intolerances.”

From this child’s unique needs comes the idea of Jacob’s Line, a series of baked products that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, corn, rice, refined sugar and tapioca. The basic bread in this line, which Dempsey describes as “like a 12-grain from Boulevard [Bread], only a bit denser,” will likely be called Everyone’s Bread.

Other products at the new bakery may not be quite so specialized, but will certainly be gluten- and nut-free, and possibly soy-free, depending on availability of margarines the bakery might use.

“We announced the concept to a group of about 50 people a few weeks ago, with tables full of gluten-free food — burgers and hot dogs with buns, bread, cookies — people were in tears,” Dempsey said. “There are so many people who need this sort of thing, and we want to provide a place they can just walk in and buy something without worrying.”

Dempsey was a bit hesitant to declare many details about the store, since many decisions are still being made. But she has chosen Scott Wilkins as the store’s baker, who has baked for ZaZa’s Scott McGehee.

“Scott didn’t specialize in gluten-free before,” said Dempsey. “But when we talked about it, he said, ‘Just let me try. I know I can do it.’ And the products he’s developed are wonderful.”

Dempsey and Wilkins also have in development a corn-free baking powder and powdered sugar, as both usually use corn products. They are considering offering this for sale commercially.

A big part of the bakery’s business, Dempsey hopes, will be sales of gluten-free breads to local restaurants. They are even developing a sealed package for mini loaves that can be warmed in a restaurant oven and placed directly on a customer’s plate, still wrapped and protected from gluten contaminants in the kitchen.

“Restaurants are getting more and more involved in gluten-free, as they should,” she said, citing a recent seminar she attended on the topic. “It’s been documented that their business increases by as much as 30 percent, because it’s a place that whole families can go and everyone can eat.”


17 Responses to “Gluten-Free Bakery Coming to Little Rock!”

  1. Matt April 3, 2011 at 7:47 AM #

    This is a great new project and will diversify Little Rock’s offerings in a great new way! More bakeries!

  2. Janelle April 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM #

    Wonderful news! Even though I live 1.5 hours from there, it will be very nice to have a GF bakery in Little Rock. Looking forward to June 1st and Thank You!!!

  3. katherine April 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM #

    I’m not vegan or gluten free, but know so many people who are. This is great.

  4. Cindy Conger April 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

    I can testify that Paula’s baked goods are great – even if you aren’t gluten intolerant! I’m still hoping she can find me some gluten free phyllo dough so I can make gluten free baklava!

  5. Melissa McCauley April 29, 2011 at 12:37 PM #

    Great story! I’m so excited about Paula’s venture and can’t wait to pig out on the results 🙂

    • arfoodie May 3, 2011 at 11:16 PM #

      Me too! She’s bringing some stuff to the Food Bloggers Bake Sale on May 14. Can’t wait to try it! – Christie

  6. Margaret Marchese Srygley April 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM #

    Hey Paula!! Good luck with your new venture. I’m diabetic. Will you have any low-sugar or sugar free treats?
    Margaret Srygley

    • arfoodie May 3, 2011 at 11:15 PM #

      Margaret, this is not Paula’s blog, but I will ask her when I see her next. I’m not diabetic but awfully sensitive to sugar myself. Thanks for coming by! – Christie

  7. Kristin Davis May 3, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    Although I’m not gluten intolerant, my mother and most of her side of the family are either intolerant or have Ciliac disease. This bakery will make providing certain items once considered tabu easier. We’re looking forward to the grand opening June 1st!

    • arfoodie May 3, 2011 at 11:18 PM #

      Us too, Kristin! Paula tells me that the June deadline is more of a “soft” opening, and a big soiree will happen later on, when they have their feet more on the ground. But watch here at Fancy Pants Foodie and we’ll tell you as soon as you can buy stuff! Thanks for coming by. – Christie

  8. sheri maxwell May 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM #

    This is so exciting. I am looking forward to many visits.

  9. Janet Jones May 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM #

    The pizza dough, pasta and chocolate chip cookies were as good or better than any that have gluten. We can’t wait for the bakery to open – it’s such a welcome addition to Little Rock and a great service to those who are gluten intolerant.

    • arfoodie May 3, 2011 at 11:14 PM #

      Hi Janet! Glad that Paula’s new venture brought you to us at Fancy Pants Foodie. Hope you’ll subscribe and keep in touch! – Christie

  10. Alissa Skelton June 24, 2011 at 1:34 PM #

    Is this place open?

    • arfoodie June 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

      From what I can tell by their Facebook page, they are having some (honestly expected) construction delays and will be open by late summer.

  11. marla September 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM #

    Thank you! Now can you please open a shop in Conway? 🙂


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