Valhalla Bakery in the Grand Central District of St. Pete is expanding with two new concepts: Freya’s (a plant-based restaurant), and Valkyrie Donuts (a sensational spot for your sweet tooth). The team is also putting the finishing touches on a patio in back of Valhalla.
Freya’s will take over the space formerly occupied by Lucy’s Vegan Corner at 2462 Central Avenue. Valkyrie Donuts will arrive on the same block at 2444 Central Avenue. Both could open as soon as mid-June, but you can follow Valhalla Bakery on Instagram for the latest updates.
Owner Celine Duvoisin has cultivated a fervent and devoted following here in the Sunshine City, and one bite into any of the vegan goods at Valhalla will let you know why. Duvoisin’s commitment to her product, her customer base, and her staff is commendable.
Freya’s is the ‘Burg’s new plant-based restaurant
Duvoisin’s allowed me the chance to visit the future Freya’s restaurant, and Valkyrie Donuts ahead of their respective debuts. One comment from Duvoisin struck me during our chat.
“I want to change the industry from the inside.”
The ubiquitous bakery owner got her start as a Publix Bakery manager. Celine spent the better part of a decade practicing and perfecting their craft at the grocery giant before taking the leap and creating a culinary space for herself.
Duvoisin began at farmers markets in Central Florida before joining Markets on South in Orlando. Valhalla sits right next to the equally resplendent Dixie Dharma, another plant-based concept that has a sister location at Armature Works in Tampa.
Valhalla Bakery is changing the industry from the inside
So, what does it mean to change the industry from the inside?
For Celine, it’s creating a viable and safe space for employees. This begins with offering health insurance, the options for 401k plans, and opening up the doors for partial ownership to managers.
Duvoisin pays their employees a living wage, and puts the mental health of their employees above all else.
There’s a no BS approach inside the bakery as well. The vegan bakery’s goal, and the aim of the two new concepts, is to create the best tasting food possible. The experience at any of Celine’s concepts will be unique to any other vegan spot you’ve tried before.
A new space for a fine dining chef
You won’t find gluten-free eats here, or a large list of savory options just yet. Duvoisin isn’t interested in replicating something that’s already done well at nearby restaurants.
Duvoisin has brought in Chef Freddie Gentile who has worked in fine dining to develop the plant-based menu at Freya’s.
Some items from the test kitchen include a grains dish with romesco, blistered tomato, and grilled mushroom, as well as charred citrus and thyme for Freya’s house vinegarette.
Vegan breakfast bowls and biscuits, yes please.
As David Lynch once said, “keep your eye on the doughnut.”
Massive doughnuts coming to the Grand Central District
Valkyrie Doughnuts couldn’t come at a more clutch time. Located at 2444 Central Avenue, the vegan donut hub will give many eager residents the chance to experience those iconic square donuts.
An awe-inspiring mix of pink tiling and a soon-to-be painted plant-inspired mural will transform the quaint space into arguable the top haunt on the block.
Valhalla serves up a limited number of donuts on the weekend, but the decadent delights sell out fast.
The bakery is hard to miss. It’s situated on the corner of Central Avenue and 25th Street where the massive St. Pete Pride Street Mural is. The growth of Valhalla is emblematic of the energy here in St. Petersburg.
This global pandemic has been difficult for those in the hospitality industry. Chefs, waitstaff, owners/operators, and more have worked exhaustively to figure out the safest way to continue to serve their customers.
A series of unfortunate incidents involving disgruntled customers tossing homophobic slurs at Valhalla staff due to the mask requirement prompted the team to invoke a “mask requested” policy.
Valhalla Bakery supports the St. Petersburg community
Treat those who make this city better with kindness. Consider others before you act, and please treat those in the hospitality industry with the respect they deserve. So much of what makes the Sunshine City glow comes from the local restaurants, coffee shops and cafes all over the ‘Burg.
They’ve worked tirelessly through an unpredictable pandemic to make life better and easier for all of us.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t list a few signature treats you need to try at Valhalla Bakery ASAP (note: the selection varies day-to-day, these are just my favorite samplings):
Blueberry Hibiscus Hand Pies
Smoked Salt & Rosemary Pretzels
Chocolate PB Pretzel Doughnu
tBanana Walnut Bunz (!!!)
The owner recently posted a photo of a massive Golden Mylk Loaf that is next on my must-try list.
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