For this week’s stop on the Restaurant Road Trip, we visited a bakery in Morgantown that serves all things vegan.
What started out as a hobby for Aaron Bhenke became his life’s work when the space opened up at Mountain People’s Co Op on Pleasant Street. Bhenke can be found at the Venerable Bean Bakery daily carrying out his passion for making all things vegan, with high quality ingredients.
“If we’re going to make a chocolate cake, we want it to taste like chocolate and those flavors aren’t muddled by the milk, or eggs, or butter. What you’re tasting is chocolate,” said Bhenke.
Cookies, cakes, muffins, scones, bagels and pepperoni rolls, are just a few of the items served.
The ingredients used daily are found within the walls of Mountain People’s Co Op.
All items are allergy specific and clearly marked.
“95% of the time people can come in with a long list of allergies and we have something in the case that they can eat for a treat for themselves,” said Behnke.
The bakery has gotten some recognition across the country, being ranked for Top Ten Vegan Sweet Treats by PETA and Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in West Virginia by Cosmopolitan Magazine.
“The chocolate chip cookies are my personal favorite. I think it’s just the cookie that took me the longest to figure out how to make it exactly the way I wanted it to be,” said Behnke.
Customers will not find anything artificial here.
“We don’t use any food colorings, we use natural sugars. People ask us if we can do a white cake for them, but we can’t, and we won’t because we don’t use bleached sugars. We use natural and raw sugars so they are brown,” said Bhenke.
“We do vegan versions of classic treats and flavors that people are comfortable with. That’s how we introduce people to what we do. We do comfort food at its finest,” said Bhenke.
“It’s always great, good nutritional food,” said Larry Zaccagnini, customer.
Hot soups, sandwiches, pitas, and wraps are also served, using ingredients like mock chicken, tofu and tempeh.
Venerable Bean Bakery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. , Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. , and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.