Bollo’s Cafe & Bakery's will be raking in the dough when it opens its new gluten-free bakery in Blacksburg later this semester.
“I think it’s a great idea because more and more people are finding out that they have issues digesting gluten,” said Sara Black, a junior international studies and Spanish double-major. “I think it’s really important that they’re opening up a market just for gluten-free people.”
Bollo’s, which has been a part of the Blacksburg community for 18 years, has already been selling gluten-free items, but on Saturdays only. Owner Ranae Gillie hopes the new market will open up more possibilities for gluten-free products.
“We can only do it one day a week because we have to clean all the pans, every utensil,” Gillie said. “We only have a few hours to accomplish as much as we want to. It’s a lot of work, a lot of prep for what we put out.”
Bollo’s pastry manager and head baker, Barbara Wright, said the new market will make preparations easier because the kitchen will be completely devoid of gluten.
“It will be fun, and it’ll be a relief,” she said. “Also, we’d have more time, so we could provide a better product, a safer product, and more products.”
In addition to the gluten-free bakery products already sold at Bollo’s Café & Bakery, Bollo’s Gluten-Free Market will offer entrees and items such as pastas, pizza crusts, pie crusts, lasagna, salads, quiche, and pot pie. The new market will have bulk bins with coconut, almond and rice flours, which customers can buy by the ounce or pound and use to make their own gluten-free foods at home.
“I think a lot of people probably will utilize it,” said Katie Plummer, a junior ocean engineering major. “The biggest thing that I have against completely gluten-free menus and restaurants is that usually it’s more expensive, so that would be my only concern.”
Junior civil engineering major Thomas Patchans has purchased gluten-free products from Bollo’s Café & Bakery before, and was glad to hear there will be more variety at the new market.
Patchans also pointed out that it's good to have a close-by option for those students with Celiac disease, a genetic condition affecting the intestinal wall, causing an increased sensitivity to gluten.
Gillie said the concept for the gluten-free store has been in the making for two years, and she is happy to have found a home for the market at 139 Jackson Street, around the corner from the downtown post office. She hopes to have Bollo’s Gluten-Free Market open by late October or early November, but a grand opening on the first of the new year is also a possibility.
Gillie said Bollo’s first began making gluten-free products after a customer asked if it could make a gluten-free cake.
“We’re the kind of bakery that won’t say no to anything,” Gillie said. “Once that person got their cake and they liked it, we started getting more requests, and it has grown.”
According to Gillie, Bollo’s gluten-free products — particularly the bread — sell out very quickly on Saturday mornings. She hopes that will be indicative of the new market’s success.
“I’m thinking it’s going to be successful,” Gillie said, “but in life, you never know.”