Openings and Closings

Denver's Top Vegan Bakery Opens to the Public as Make, Believe

Watercourse Bakery has been turning out vegan confections since 2004 — first for Watercourse Foods, when that eatery was located at 206 East 13th Avenue and when it moved to 837 East 17th Avenue, and also for City, O' City when it opened in the original Watercourse spot. All of the businesses were founded by Daniel Landes, who is now opening the bakery at 214 East 13th Avenue to the public for the first time. And with that change comes a change in name: Watercourse Bakery will become Make, Believe Bakery.

"Our original motto was 'We make the impossible delicious,'" Landes explains of the bakery, which began making plant-based pastries and breads to fill a need in the community and soon added gluten-free products, as well as other allergen-free items, well before that became a nationwide trend. "Our bakery was in a perfect position to accommodate those needs," he adds.

And now a pleasing pink awning will mark the entry to Make, Believe, where walk-in customers will be able to select from a range of specialty breads and other goodies. In the back, bakers Randa Duffy and Kelly McBride maintain a separate room and equipment to make gluten-free products without danger of cross-contamination. Make, Believe will also continue to sell to a number of wholesale accounts around Denver.

Although the bakery isn't huge, Landes notes that there's still plenty of space for his expanded plans, even with an added retail counter. "We're preparing to basically double our volume in the next six months, but we still have a lot of room to work with." As a trained chef who worked in New York City's cramped kitchens, Landes points out that space limitations are relative, especially in the western U.S., where square footage is less of an issue.

Landes sold Watercourse Foods in June 2015 to one of his employees, Lauren Roberts, and her mother, Jennifer Byers, but he still has a small stake in the business and continues to provide the plant-based eatery with baked goods. "I sold [Watercourse Foods] to the right people and have confidence in the new owners. There's a lot of camaraderie between the restaurants," he says.

Landes, who also runs a vegetarian hostel called Osa Mariposa in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, has another restaurant in the works for Denver, but he says it's too early to share details.

An exact date hasn't been set for the opening of Make, Believe Bakery, but it could be as soon as this Friday, August 5. Once open, the shop will offer coffee, baked goods and artisan breads from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Special orders for bulk items, cakes, breads and pies can be made with 48 hours' advance notice.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation

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