A grinning cartoon cupcake and a playful pink and blue color scheme beckon to visitors strolling through Clintonville with a soft spot for sweets. Upon entering the small, white storefront situated on North High Street, guests encounter a treasure trove of perfectly presented pastries, all boasting a delectable secret — they are made with all-vegan ingredients.
Pattycake Bakery, a local food cooperative business specializing in vegetarian and vegan sweets and treats, was originally introduced to the Central Ohio food scene through sales at local community markets, and now, it is set to expand.
“I started (baking) in my house. I baked out of my house for a year and a half,” said Jennie Scheinbach, owner of Pattycake Bakery. “In September 2003, I brought the first treats over to the Clintonville Community Market.”
The bakery moved to its current location at 3009 N. High St. in 2005, according to its website.
Scheinbach, who graduated from Ohio State with a degree in sociology in 2003, said while she did not attend culinary school, she has always had a passion for baking.
“I’m a sweets freak,” she said. “I would bring baked goods to various parties or potlucks and people would be like, ‘You should open your own bakery, this is so good.’”
In addition to concocting vegan desserts, Scheinbach said she wanted to create a business that would “nourish” not only customers’ bodies, but the community as a whole.
“We wanted to be as healthy as we could be, and as good for our community, the world and the environment as we could be,” she said.
Scheinbach said once the idea was in place for Pattycake, choosing to base the bakery in Clintonville was an easy decision.
“Clintonville is a great neighborhood for an environmentally-friendly, locally-conscious bakery,” she said. “So it seemed like a good fit.”
Most of the recipes at Pattycake are vegan versions of classic treats, Scheinbach explained.
“I will have something that I am like, ‘I want something that tastes like this, but is vegan and healthier,’” she said. “It’s perfectly possible to make things that are both healthy and taste good.”
Scheinbach said establishing a “hyper-ethical business” has always been one of Pattycake’s top priorities. It was this core foundation that led to the development of a worker-owned cooperative business.
“I think we are the first cooperative bakery in this area,” she said. “Being a worker-owned cooperative, you’re supporting the people who are working for the business in a different way. The workers actually own the means of production.”
Pattycake Bakery plans to expand into the space next door to include City Beet Café, a restaurant featuring fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, sandwiches, salads, soups and bread. The café is also set to offer breakfast all day.
“Everything from Pattycake is from scratch, so that is going to continue at City Beet,” Scheinbach said.
While the menu for City Beet has not been released yet, Scheinbach said the café is set to feature all-vegan food.
“It’s going to be entirely vegan, but we are not going to push that,” Scheinbach explained. “We want it to taste good and we want it to stack up against anything else. We just want it to happen to be vegan and people will like it anyway.”
Prices at City Beet are anticipated to be around $6 to $12 for a “full breakfast or lunch,” Scheinbach said.
Creating an all-vegan bakery has been a successful business venture, thanks to the growing openness of the Columbus community toward providing vegan and vegetarian options, Scheinbach added.
“I think all over the place, we’re seeing it’s getting easier and easier to be vegetarian or vegan here. We just want to make it easier and healthier still,” she said.
Kelsey Franklin, a third-year in neuroscience and the president of the Vegetarian and Vegan Society at OSU, said she thinks the variety of options for vegans and vegetarians in Columbus is expanding in specific areas of the city.
“It kind of depends on where you go, like you get neighborhoods like Clintonville and the Short North, which are usually very accommodating,” she said. “On the whole, I think they are pretty good.”
Rea Singh, a first-year in political science, said she has visited Pattycake Bakery in the past and likes the bakery’s chocolate chip cookies.
“I love that place, it is so good,” she said. “I honestly think (Pattycake) is the best bakery. I feel like their cookies were even better than regular cookies.”
With future plans to become fully vegan, Singh said she enjoys having restaurants and bakeries like Pattycake close to campus.
“It’s great that Columbus has (a vegan bakery and café) so close to campus, so people can easily get there if they are vegan. On campus, it is really hard to find vegan food,” Singh added.
City Beet is set to open in late spring, although a specific date has not been set, as the business continues to negotiate a lease, Scheinbach explained.
“Hopefully that will be worked out really soon, and as soon as that happens, we are ready to go,” she said.
Scheinbach said she wants Pattycake Bakery and City Beet Café to provide a welcoming look into what it means to live a vegan lifestyle.
“We just always wanted (Pattycake) to be the absolute most ethical business that it can be,” she said. “And to me, that’s vegan.”
Pattycake Bakery in Clintonville is open from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.