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The vegan Beet Box opens a retail bakery

Swapping out butter and eggs for applesauce and almond milk has been a sweet deal for Blair Ednie and Michael Craig, who started Beet Box six years ago as a vegan catering and wholesale baking company. And this month, they gave up their base in Arvada for a new home just minutes from downtown,where they've added a retail bakery -- a project so new that the Beet Box Bakery doesn't yet have a sign.

See also: - Vegan ginger muffins for a soothing breakfast on Meatless Monday - The five best vegetarian/vegan dishes in Denver - Justin Brunson taps pastry queen Nadine Donovan for Old Major's dessert program

They'd planned to open a retail spot for years, but when a vacant space in Ednie's old neighborhood turned up on 1030 East 22nd Street, a few minutes from downtown in the San Raphael neighborhood, that sealed the deal. They moved their entire operation to the storefront, and put in an on-site kitchen, where they turn out fresh baked pastries, cupcakes, pies, tarts and bread daily.

The best-sellers are the baked -- not fried -- doughnuts, available in chocolate, maple walnut, coconut, almond and vanilla versions for just $2 each; there's also a caramel and pecan covered brownie for $3.25. Too sweet? Try a spinach and mushroom croissant for just $2.75.

And non-vegans don't need to worry that their taste buds will miss something, Ednie promises: "We wanted a bakery first, that just happens to be vegan."

Beet Box is also showing photographs by Tom Vaughan through June 28; the gelatin silver prints are dominated by hobo-inspired freight train photographs, but also include humorous janitor shots and the more abstract "Wall Dance" pieces.

You can see the art and buy sweet and savory treats from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Beet Box also serves coffee and tea, and hopes to soon add French toast, granola and gourmet sandwiches to the menu.

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For more information, call 303-861-0017 or go to the Beet Box website.

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