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New pastry cafe to serve gluten-free dishes with European inspirations

Silverberry Kitchen, located on Plainfield Avenue, will serve both allergen-conscious and traditionally prepared dishes inspired by owner Angela Spector's experiences with French and Belgian cuisine.
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Silverberry Kitchen

4029 Plainfield Ave NE

Expected to open July 8





Angela Spector

Angela Spector /Dan Steenwyk

/Dan Steenwyk

Kitchen staff goofing around

Kitchen staff goofing around /Dan Steenwyk

"I had to start my own bakery because I couldn't find food that met my standards," says Angela Specter, owner of Silverberry Kitchen. "[Allergen concious] food is either sub-standard or is at a five-star restaurant. There's no happy medium. So I had to make it."

Silverberry Kitchen, located at 4029 Plainfield Avenue NE, is expected to open on July 8. They will serve pasties, pastries, sandwiches, coffee, Italian sodas and more. All products will be labeled with regards to food allergies, and allergen-free foods will be prepared in a partitioned kitchen. Much of the menu draws inspiration from Specter's stays in Paris as an exchange student and in Brussels for a post graduation internship, including Specter's recipe for pasties.

"[Upper Peninsula] pasties are heavy, meaty food with gravy but in France we would make variations on salmon en papillote. They're essentially pasties but they're flavorful and delicate," says Specter. "And my husband and I love Belgian waffles- real Belgian waffles. In Brussels you can get a waffle on the street from a vendor like you get a hot dog in New York. They're not from a mix, they're made like bread dough, just like our gluten-free bagettes and our challah."

Specter's youngest son was diagnosed in 2007 with allergies to gluten, blueberries, garlic, soy, eggs and dairy. The entire Specter family immediately dropped eggs, dairy and gluten items from their diets and Angela Specter began experimenting with recipes, raiding her grandmother's cookbooks and exchanging ingredients to accommodate her son's allergies. After deciding to start a cafe, Specter took a job at Panera Bread to become more familiar with the industry.  

"I don't want people to think eliminating gluten will be a magic wand to problems, but my child was walking around in a daze and [after eliminating gluten] he woke up within three weeks," says Spector. "We're a Jewish family so we understand the concepts of separate food and we have both gluten and non-gluten items here. But what we create will be pure and rich and will leave people satisfied."

Specter says that the atmosphere of the cafe will make customers into regulars.

"I've been very highly criticized for opening a cafe on Plainfield because the food around here isn't gourmet," she says. "People have said, 'Why not downtown? Why not in Ada?' It's because I want to be by my home in Belmont and because people around here want to go somewhere family friendly to get gourmet food. Coffee houses are places where people can share in a community. It doesn't have to be all fast food here."

The cafe will serve coffee from Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters and will source most ingredients from Cherry Capital Foods. Catering and take out services will be offered in addition to the cafe's dine-in seating.

Specter says she isn't worried about competition from nearby chain coffee houses.

"Our staff will make this place unique in the same way that Anna's House's staff makes that place great," she says. "And we're not willing to compromise quality. Food is art. Coffee is art. Producing good coffee is art. Putting in a little creativity does so much. I don't just want people to know that we have gluten free options, I want them to know we're gourmet. Going to chain bakeries, the flavor tastes like sugar. Flavor comes from spices and real ingredients."

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