Erin McKenna, owner and founder of her eponymously named bakery, told the Buzz she decided to locate her first Los Angeles outpost on Larchmont ten years ago because it’s one of the few streets where you can park your car and walk around.
“You can spend several hours on Larchmont walking around shopping and eating,” McKenna told the Buzz. “I loved the neighborhood, the walkability of the street and the “mom and pop” feeling of the businesses on the street,” she said.
Like many on the street, McKenna adapted to COVID restrictions and continued to be open throughout the pandemic. She said she thinks she even gained more customers as people who were working from home starting coming to Larchmont.
McKenna is completely self-taught. As someone who loves desserts but has food allergies, McKenna decided create a bakery where everyone could enjoy the experience of delicious baked goods. According to her website, she opened her first bakery in 2005 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with two rules: 1. Create a bakery free of harmful ingredients; and 2. Wear cute uniforms.
McKenna was really ahead of her time, creating recipes and baked goods for an underserved population — people with gluten, dairy, egg, and soy sensitivities, the health-minded, and – most importantly – allergic kids who are often unable to indulge.
“We select all ingredients responsibly and use our natural sweeteners sparingly. Our goal is to make eating vegan and gluten-free fun and delicious, and we’re very glad to have you with us. Get cozy and enjoy!” proclaims her website.
That vibe still holds at the delightfully pink bakery on Larchmont.
Ten years later, McKenna has four retail locations (NYC, Orlando, Florida and two in LA, Santa Monica and Larchmont) plus a commissary that handles the overload work from her online orders. McKenna is now on GoldBelly.com and ships her vegan, gluten free bakery items all over the country. She’s also authored three cookbooks.
Fortunate not to have food allergies myself or in my children, I confess I failed to really appreciate her product. Coincidently, on the way to the interview, I mentioned a friend where I was going and she shared with me her story about how discovering McKenna’s bakery on Larchmont was a godsend for her highly allergic son. With the discovery of McKenna’s baked goods, my friend’s son could now bring cupcakes to school for his birthday and enjoy festive, delicious baked goods like everyone else.
Even if if you don’t have food allergies, you will enjoy the wide selection of pastries and donuts. And, if you do have allergies, or someone in your family does, you will be glad that McKenna chose to open up on Larchmont ten years ago.