I love bread. My friends can attest to my ability to eat an entire loaf of challah; once, when I was living abroad, a friend brought me a pound cake, which I proceeded to devour in a single sitting.
It's an addiction, of sorts, but it's also a privilege: many people can't eat bread at all. (I'm thinking of one friend in particular, who often has to patiently remind me that she can't eat the pretzels/tortillas/beer I bring along on our adventure du jour.) However, my affinity for bread also makes me particularly qualified to write this story: I can eat regular bread. I don't have to be gluten-free, or vegan, or nondairy, or whatever. And 100 percent gluten-free though it may be, Revolution Bakery's bread is good—and bread is just the beginning.
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is an essential ingredient in bread, allowing it to rise with a fluffy, chewy texture. But it's anathema to people who suffer from celiac disease—an intestinal disorder akin to a gluten allergy. One in 133 Americans have it, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
But avoiding gluten has also become something of a fad: In July, CBS News reported that approximately 1.8 million Americans "are on a gluten-free diet even though they haven't been diagnosed with celiac disease."
Whatever the reason, there's ample demand for GF (shorthand for gluten-free) stuff.
Manager John Curtis tells SFR that Dionne Christian, the owner of The Teahouse on Canyon Road, opened Revolution Bakery after fielding customers' questions about gluten-free options.
"She went on a gluten-free diet for a month," Christian says. "The customers were always requesting it and, after seeing the results, she decided to open [the bakery]."
Revolution calls itself a bakery, but its offerings are more expansive, ranging from salads and sandwiches to pizza and espresso. A roasted tempeh sandwich is served warm, on gluten-free bread, and stuffed with fresh baby greens, sautéed mushrooms and an earthy, delicious miso-tahini dressing—and, at $6.95, it makes for an affordable yet utterly satisfying lunch. (It's just $2 more to add a green salad to any sandwich.) The coffee is strong, hot and expertly brewed; the tart, creamy lemon bars are carved into sizable rectangles; and it's hard to believe the fluffy, chewy chocolate-chip cookies are actually gluten-free.
"Since we've opened, the response from the community has been amazing," Curtis says. "Most customers leave with a 'Thank you for being open' type of response."
And the bakery's listening—it's in the process of adding more staff and expanding into the building next door. They're also developing more sugar- and dairy-free options. "A Stevia line and a paleo bread line" are in progress, Curtis says: "We just want it to be right—we want it to be great-tasting and cost-efficient, too."
Despite its proximity to Cerrillos Road, the space is surprisingly peaceful and inviting. Large windows let in the sun; fresh flowers adorn the polished wooden tables; and music plays softly in the background. The staff is friendly and laid-back, and there's free Wi-Fi for those wishing to stay the whole day. Chalkboards on various walls list the types of bread flour the bakery uses (probably more than you knew existed); the relevant initialisms (GF= gluten-free; GFDF= dairy-free; GFSOYF= gluten- and soy-free) and provide space for customers to submit a "wish list" (which, when SFR went, included "Come to Westlake, TX" and "Croissants!").
So, if this is a gluten-free revolution...Vive la Revolution!
1291 San Felipe Ave.
8 am-6 pm Monday-Friday; 8 am-4 pm Saturday.