A new era for Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery

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      The marker of an excellent gluten-free baked good is simple: it doesn’t taste gluten-free.

      And that’s where Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery excels.

      The modest shop on Cambie Street is in such high demand that customers are given a six-item limit, and stock sells out almost every day.

      This remarkable track record in the community is what drew Kiana and Eric Alvano to the business. Recognizing it as an incredible growth opportunity, the wife-and-husband team bought Lemonade from founder Tracy Kadonoff just two months ago.

      “From a business perspective, numbers-wise, it really made sense,” says Eric via phone. “And then after visiting there and seeing the operation and trying the product—the product is phenomenal, in our opinion. And we believe the gluten-free aspect of it is something that is becoming really prevalent in today’s world. But it’s something that doesn’t sacrifice the taste and the quality for the gluten-free aspect.”


      Trained at the L’École Lenôtre in Paris and The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Kadonoff worked with gluten-based flour for 20 years—until she developed an intolerance to it. That sparked her inspiration to open Lemonade, which has served a loyal following of customers ever since—so much so, in fact, that it was voted Best Gluten Free Bakery in the Straight’s 2024 Golden Plates awards. From doughy bagels and soft burger buns to decadent cakes (tiramisu, triple chocolate mousse, vanilla raspberry, et al) to rich salted caramel pecan tarts and crunchy biscotti, Lemonade packs all the right flavour and texture into its wide variety of options—many of which are also nut-free, dairy-free, or fully vegan.

      After successfully running the bakery herself for many years, Kadonoff decided it was time to retire. But selling Lemonade wasn’t just about who had the financing—it was about who understood the mission. To figure this out, she met with all the potential buyers, of which there were many.

      “When we met with her, we—I think on both sides, us and her—we got a good feeling that it was a good match,” says Kiana. “We’re young and we are very ambitious. And we had this idea of growth, and I think she realizes that the business has the potential for growth—but she has no interest in doing so herself. So she wanted it to go to people that saw that potential for the business.”

      After the sale to the Alvanos went through, Kadonoff stayed on for four weeks to help with the transition.

      “It just felt like the right fit,” Kiana says. “She even said that to us: that she was happy we were the people that got it.”

      With Eric focusing on the numbers and Kiana spending time with staff and customers, the duo is committed to slow, steady, sustainable growth. Which means that for now, nothing is changing.

      “The space is 600 square-feet in total—front and back,” explains Kiana. “So it’s very small, and it’s producing at the max capacity that it can produce at in terms of the quantity of items being pushed out. So we don’t really see the space for creating new menu items right now. Because what we have sells out almost every day, and there is no physical space to create more items.”

      Mango mousse with raspberry topping.

      Kiana and Eric are upfront about the fact that they aren’t bakers—rather, they’re culinary-focused entrepreneurs. (They currently own two Scratch Kitchen locations in North Vancouver, and have previously owned other food businesses, including franchises of Donaire Dude, Hula Poke, and even Subway.) What that means is that the duo is trusting the existing Lemonade team to do what they do best.

      “We wanted to keep everything the same,” acknowledges Kiana. “We kept all the staff—we said to them, ‘We would love for you to stay and continue to work for Lemonade and for us,’ and everyone stayed except for one person.”

      Which is all to say that fans of Lemonade have nothing to worry about with the change in ownership: tried-and-true favourites aren’t going anywhere.

      “The seasonal items and what is currently being offered all the time is stuff that she has developed throughout the years and perfected,” Kiana says of Kadonoff. “And that’s the stuff that people know and love and come back for.”

      Looking to the future, Kiana and Eric do hope to grow one day, mostly so that they can increase production.

      “Down the road, hopefully we can expand to having a much larger kitchen—then we can produce the quantities that the people come for,” says Kiana. “Right now we have to max our customers at six per item. If they want six croissants, that’s fine, but if they want 10, we can’t do it, because we cannot produce enough for everyone. So we’re hoping to be able to produce much more, because people are disappointed when they come at 3pm and all of our pastries are sold out.”

      It’s a pretty good problem to have, as far as problems go. But solving it would certainly be sweet.

      Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery is located at 3385 Cambie Street.