flower cupcake

Minnesotans are in for another helping of a celebrated sweet vegan business. Vegan East, a husband-and-wife vegan bakery, is launching its second location in the heart of Minneapolis later this summer.

From her modest from-scratch beginnings, self-taught proprietress Sheila Nelson began baking around her full-time job. With a surge of online sales and steadily rising demand, Nelson eventually downgraded her job to part-time, diving into YouTube tutorials to cultivate her natural passion for working with sugar and flour, and to fulfill the overwhelming amount of orders for her home-baked goods.

When Nelson and her husband, Reid, went vegan in 2016, she noticed a lack of vegan options in her area and decided to veganize her baked goods to align her baking with her ethics, as well as to fill the gap for cruelty-free sweet treats. 

The couple introduced Vegan East, their new vegan bakery, at the Twin Cities Vegfest in 2016. It was a success. The couple worked to build their plant-based business over the next two years, and in February 2018, they opened their first brick-and-mortar — a grab-and-go spot in their hometown of White Bear Lake. The couple also continued to wholesale their popular products to nearby cafes. Given the success of this flagship store, the Nelsons announced a second location in Whittier, which will open later this summer. The space will offer breakfast and lunch items and kombucha on tap, in addition to a wide selection of Nelson’s famous treats. 

Vegan East’s menu covers all the basics, including gorgeously decorated cupcakes with buttercream frosting, gooey cinnamon rolls, fudgy brownies, cookies, cheesecakes, muffins, and ice cream cookie sandwiches. On the savory side, Nelson also offers a vegan maple sausage and a VBOT (vegan bacon, onion and tomato) quiche. Many gluten-free options are also available. The bakery’s second location will expand Nelson’s reach and make these tantalizing baked goods more accessible to the city-dwelling crowd. 

Nelson has strong ties to her community and hopes to share her baking with those in need of a little sweet pick-me-up. “We want to be an important member of our community, developing real relationships with the people and organizations inside of it,” she wrote.


Image Credit: Vegan East