Hard to Believe It's Healthy 3

Jewels Bakery and Café is a True Valley Gem

I always find it fascinating when I hear the stories behind how businesses and products got their start. Jewels Bakery and Café has one of those stories.

The seed for the business was unknowingly planted in 2009, when Julie Moreno’s nine-year-old daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Moreno, a wife, mother of six children and first grade teacher, soon found herself in a situation where she either had to prepare separate meals for her family or get creative with healthy recipes that all would enjoy. Through trial and error, she developed many delicious recipes her family loved, recipes her children couldn’t even tell were made with ingredients that were good for them.

Moreno has always enjoyed cooking and baking; it’s something she has done for as long as she can remember, having grown up in a family involved in the food industry. Her grandfather owned a tortilla factory, which was later converted it into a café, and her grandmother and mother baked and decorated cakes.

Starting Small

Moreno began by baking breads and other baked goods, then selling them at local farmers’ markets. She did this for two years, then in December, 2013 she opened Jewels Bakery and Café. Everything served at Jewels is made daily from scratch using Moreno’s recipes. All the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.

“We serve natural, scratch-made meals,” says Moreno. “It’s feel good food that’s healthy for you, and that the whole family can enjoy.”

Regardless of any dietary restrictions, Moreno prepares her meals and baked goods using gluten-free recipes. Her recipes are also egg and dairy-free. She uses locally sourced products, including hormone, antibiotic and cage free chicken; hormone, antibiotic and nitrate free meats and organic produce when possible. Cartel coffee, from Tempe, is roasted in-house in small batches that produce super fresh organic beans.

“Everyone deserves to eat a fresh, healthy meal, regardless of their dietary restrictions,” says Moreno.

Great Selections

Breakfast is served all day, and once you’ve tasted some of the items offered, you’ll understand why customers insist on it being served that way. Some popular choices include the omelet chorizo, chicken and waffles and biscuits and gravy. I really enjoyed the chicken and waffles, which is served with a wonderfully sweet honey sauce. Additional brunch selections are available on weekends.

For lunch, choices include a chicken club sandwich that can be fried or grilled, veggie roasted salad, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken Cali and more. Jewels also serves a Caesar salad and a berry salad, as well as two grain bowls. I sampled the berry grain bowl and loved it. It consists of red rice, roasted cashews, fresh berries, Greek yogurt and local honey. It is so good, and I can’t wait to order it again. The protein bowl consists of grilled chicken or seared Ahi tuna, red rice, quinoa, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach and onions. The kids menu includes grilled cheese, chicken tenders, grilled chicken and peanut butter and jelly.

Save room for dessert, as the brownies are incredible. They are generously sized, moist and have a great flavor. Also available are cupcakes, cookies, donuts, scones and custom cakes.

Moreno blends her own flour and mixes, which can be purchased at the bakery or online. Be sure to check the website’s calendar for dates on upcoming cooking classes. Catering is also available, as well as hosting private parties.

Jewels Bakery and Café

4041 E. Thomas Road

Phoenix, AZ 85018

602.714.5243

JewelsBakeryandCafe.com