A friendly smile, a sitting area with a touch of whimsy, fresh local brews and a lovely array of hand crafted treats greet every person fortunate enough to enter the Sweet Theory Baking Company on historic King Street. After attending culinary school in New York City, owner Katie Riehm discovered a passion for allergy-friendly baking while interning for a bakery in Brooklyn that specialized in gluten-free goods. A native of Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood, she noticed the area needed a place where people with food allergies could get delicious baked goods without feeling deprived.
At Sweet Theory, not only are Katie’s creations tasty and inventive, they are free of eggs, dairy, soy and peanuts – and made from all natural ingredients including agave nectar and organic coconut oil. She and her team keep things interesting by coming up with unique flavors like green tea cookies, maple bacon donuts and hibiscus Italian sodas. With names like “Big Whoop” and “Stretch Pants Cake” it’s clear they like to work in a little humor. “I like to think of classic flavor pairings and then how I can make them different. It keeps things from being boring,” she says.
Riverside was the perfect spot for Katie. “I wouldn’t have opened anywhere else,” she says. “I felt like the neighborhood would appreciate it, and I hoped enough people would be willing to make the drive from other areas.” After almost a year and a half in business, indeed they do make the drive. The quaint little space was packed out during each of my visits. The most popular items are their donuts and cinnamon rolls. And for the gluten-free fare, the brownie bites, muffins and cookie sandwiches steal the show. Sip on a Brooklyn Egg Cream, or check out the special items served only on the weekends – like the campfire Danish (dark chocolate, dandies marshmallows and honey glaze) or pear cardamom Danish. For you rare creatures who lack any sort of sweet tooth, both regular and gluten-free biscuits are also served on the weekends with white bean sausage.
I know where I’ll be next Saturday morning, proving an oh so sweet theory.