Hidden Gem: Conveniently baked goods
Like the orders it fills day-to-day, the business model of Newberg bakery Luckee Dutch is customer driven.
"We're a custom bakery, so we do what people want us to do," said Marilynn Van Grunsven, part of the family-owned operation located in the Shell gas station on the south end of town, 204 Highway 99W.
The family bakes a slew of goods for customers, but it's the wheat-free items that sell best so far.
"We never intended to be a big gluten-free bakery," said Casey, who works the shop daily with his mother and father, Dave. His sister, Angela, a graphic artist, works Saturdays in the bakery, mainly with custom cakes. But the niche of wheat-free has generated the most buzz thus far for the hidden gem.
Casey graduated from the Western Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts) in Portland. His foray into gluten-free did not stem from any of his family's dietary needs, but from those of friends in Portland.
"As I started baking more in Portland I had a lot of friends who did have diatary intolerences, so they could not eat what I was baking," he said. "At the same time, what they were giving me that they were eating was terrible."
Having had a core group of taste testers to practice on, it was natural for Casey to include a wheat-free menu when the Van Grunsven's opened Luckee Dutch in 2011.
The merits of the bakery certainly outweigh the unlikely location and its following thus far. The family is making do, but Casey said it's been difficult to get the word out that a kitchen of such epicurean delights can be found inside a Shell.
"Baking in a gas station, we have to tongue-in-cheek it a little bit."
Another favorite includes the cinnamon roles, both standard and gluten-free, which are meals in themselves.
Luckee Dutch makes about any baked good anyone desires. The family combines lessons passed to Marilynn from her mother and grandmother with the French and European traditions Casey learned both in school and through his own experimentation. Their loaf breads range from soft white to asiago cheesebread, and can also be purchased at Farmhouse Provisions in Carlton.
They source local ingredients and make everything from scratch — except the cheese dip served with pretzels baked fresh daily, but even that is bulked up to their liking. The family caters to dietary needs whenever possible, even taking lists of customers' allergies and baking orders especially for them, when possible. They also thrive on making custom cakes for parties, weddings or just for fun.
"We're not 'Cake Boss' yet, but that's what we aspire to be," Casey said.
Also a deli, Luckee Dutch serves handmade sandwiches and salads. The breakfast sandwiches are served on a blend of Danish dough and croissant dough, resulting in a rich and savory meal. Casey will also use that dough mix for bear claws and stuffed bread twists.
Five years into business, many people are still discovering Luckee Dutch from pies, cookies, cupcakes (buy 11 and get the 12th free) and custom baked orders. "It feels like we're still starting out in ways," Casey said.
The bakery also has a drive-up window for convenience and they deliver with a handling and shipping fee For more information, visit www.luckeedutch.com.