PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When Petunia’s Pies and Pastries just started out in 2010, Portland didn’t have all the gluten-free and vegan options it has today. Now, the bakery is celebrating 13 years in business, including a full decade at a downtown brick and mortar.
The name Petunia is also the name of a ceramic pig that hangs in the shop that was once in the family kitchen when owner Lisa Clark was a kid — where her late mom would also bake.
Clark says learned how to bake when she was a child.
“Baking was just my hobby, and what I love to do in my free time,” Clark said. “I didn’t go to culinary school. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”
As a college student, studying sociology and business, Clark said she learned she couldn’t have gluten or dairy and was having health issues.
“I finally figured out on my own what was going on and when I graduated, and I was looking for work… I worked at a couple bakeries in town to get some professional experience,” Clark said.
She added “I would go home and test recipes and finally got the idea to start a business because there I couldn’t find any dessert to eat. And this was a long time ago, but there were no gluten-free, vegan bakeries in Portland. So, we were actually the first all gluten-free, all-vegan bakery in Portland, which is awesome.”
While offering gluten and vegan options, Clark says inclusivity was also a factor in starting her business — which she runs with her husband Jacob Williamson.
“I just want always to have everyone feel included and feel special no matter who they are. It’s just a big part of my values. And so that was really the driver for me of starting the business, was to create something that wasn’t there yet,” Clark said.
The bakery offers a variety of dessert from sour cherry pie with oatmeal topping and classic chocolate chip cookies to strawberry Funfetti cupcakes, which have been a menu staple for six years.
“We love to have a few treats that are like our signatures that people always like, you know, no matter the occasion. And so, the Cookie Monster Cupcake is one of ours. Kids, adults, everyone always loves it. It’s just a great combination of cupcake, cookie dough and a cookie all in one. So, if you need a treat, this is like a one-stop-shop for what’ll make you feel better,” Clark said.
As the bakery celebrates 13 years in business, Clark’s three sons have also grown with the bakery.
“They love the bakery, they love treats, of course they love baking, they love cooking,” Clark said. “It’s kind of always crazy, which I’m sure every parent can relate to… you figure it out and you keep going and it’s kind of like running a small business. We always say that Petunia was like our first baby.”
Petunia’s is holding an anniversary party from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 5 at its 12th Avenue downtown Portland location — featuring a DJ, treats, a photo wall, face painting and a free cookie for the first 100 customers with a purchase.