When options are limited, build your own. That’s what executive chef and co-founder of Keepin’ It Vegan Jordan Pett did with her mother Ella Barbara Walsh (who has since retired) when they started a vegan bakery and eatery after Pett’s son was born with a dairy allergy. The business took off—in fact, it soared. They added event management and hospitality to their services, with expert Eva Laflamme joining the team at the bakery space on Don Reid Drive near St. Laurent and Walkley. Now growing again, they’re looking for more space to offer patrons a “sit-down café with warm coffee and soft chairs.”
Flexibility is one of the bakery’s many talents. Originally named Keto Sweets & Vegan Treats, Walsh managed the Keto side. “As demand grew,” Pett explains, “it became harder to run two completely polar opposite menus. With the vegan menu gaining much more popularity and traction, we made the decision to close the keto side and rebrand.” They pivoted and tweaked the logo with a new name, Keepin’ It Vegan, which signified their 100% commitment to plant-based/vegan foods.
From dream to online bakery to an upscale, vegan-based bakery/café, this small, family-like team has experienced many firsts over the last year. Pett shares just one: “We launched our sandwich menu back in February 2022 when we joined forces to offer our products at the PlantX market in Hudson’s Bay at Rideau Centre.”
Wholesale opportunities also popped up. Hungry Babe introduced Keepin’ it Vegan to Herb & Spice. The two linked perfectly, and Keepin’ it Vegan began wholesaling at their Bank Street location. Soon, they added the Natural Food Pantry, and Laflamme secured a connection with Yugi Rolls.
At Keepin’ it Vegan, you’ll find two things: next-level offerings and inclusivity. “We make 95% of all sauces, breads, spreads, cheeses and meats in-house,” Pett says. “We strive to have as much handmade, quality ingredients as possible in our products. This includes our whipped cream and mascarpone in the tiramisu and the butter that goes into our signature croissant. We are continuously developing recipes and will be offering a wider range of artisanal vegan meats and cheeses soon.” Sandwiches are simple, but packed with flavour.
Pett’s goal was to create “a product that someone could enjoy with others, without feeling excluded or embarrassed.” This comes from her career as a chef in many fine dining restaurants, where she pushed to “offer even just ONE item that was vegan-friendly and one gluten-free (especially bread)” to not exclude anyone. “I was called to tables and personally thanked multiple times,” Pett recalls, “for my efforts to accommodate… dietary restrictions in a meal without drastically changing the dish or adding a surplus of modifications.” The team places inclusivity first, and the result is a welcoming atmosphere where no one’s food needs are dismissed.
What’s next for this bakery team apart from, hopefully, a cozy café space? Autumn will bring a multitude of fall sweets and flavours, followed by a special holiday catering menu. One constant will remain: a small, close-knit, caring group focused on creative quality, community, and inclusivity.
Keepin’ it Vegan is located at 2430 Don Reid Drive. They are open Monday from 10am-3pm (for pre-order pickups only) and Tuesday–Saturday from 9:30am-6pm. Their door is around the back of the office building.