Imagining the Future of Donuts at Lêberry Bakery
By Brianna Chu
Lêberry Bakery opened earlier this year across the way from Paseo Colorado. It’s a fun and modern donut-centric bakery (and bar!) themed around the color blue, with fun pops of green, pink, and purple. Its co-owners, Jennifer Le and Raynard Ledford, come from fairly disparate backgrounds, but have aligned under a shared love for sweets. Le is a former Pasadenan, currently working as a professor of clinical pharmacy for UC San Diego, with a serious sweet tooth. She wanted to create the kind of place she would want to eat at herself, and after meeting Ledford the previous year, asked him to come aboard as the master of operations, especially given his years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality businesses. A vegan himself, Ledford created their donuts’ signature vegan dough and uses his culinary experience to collaborate with Le on flavors and recipes to create their own edible art.
Focusing on sustainable, ethical business, Lêberry Bakery serves organic, carbon-free coffee alongside their majoritively vegan and gluten-free menu. Mimosas and beers are available too, should that catch your fancy. Their pastries are not all vegan or gluten-free, but their donuts’ bases are all vegan. Any non-vegan donuts are classified as such only due to the toppings, like their sprinkles, which do contain gelatin. To Le and Ledford, Lêberry is the bakery of the future: accessible to everyone with a sweet tooth, no matter the dietary restrictions or preferences, with an eye towards sustainable and organic ingredients. They take the baking of their gluten-free items seriously, sanitizing their kitchen daily and taking care to bake all gluten-free items first. Their offerings are made from scratch with love everyday, but Lêberry and its staff don’t just pour love into just their donuts; they will be opening its doors to feed the homeless for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in an effort to give back to the community.
Their menu varies from day to day, with some additions that appear when the inspiration strikes. I had the chance to sample one such specialty item, a blueberry cake donut, as well as a variety of their other donuts, specifically: the espresso donut, the vegan chocolate with strawberry, the Madagascan vanilla, the raspberry and Madagascan vanilla, the orange chai cake donut, and a mini gluten-free donut. Both Le and Ledford had told me before I tried the donuts that I wouldn’t be able to taste the difference between their vegan donuts and a non-vegan donut, which I have to admit I had doubts about; however, those doubts were banished upon first bite. Even by the end of the day, when I shared my donut haul with my family, they still tasted quite fresh. Overall, the donuts were good-sized sweet treats, with a texture on the denser side. The espresso donut was not overpowering in coffee flavor, which perhaps makes sense, as Ledford doesn’t drink coffee! The raspberry and vanilla donut was the somewhat fruitier (and significantly pinker) cousin to the Madagascan vanilla donut. The vegan chocolate donut was a slightly healthier version of a donut classic, without sacrificing the luxury of chocolate. The orange and chai cake donut was certainly on the drier side by the end of the day, though the blueberry much less so. Flavorwise, I enjoyed the bright, fruity notes of the cake donuts, though I preferred the more classic texture of the vegan donuts.
Even though they’ve not been open a full year yet, Le and Ledford are incredibly excited about the leaps and bounds their bakery has made thus far, and are already looking forward to how they can bring their vegan and gluten-free creations to even more people. For business inquiries, email Jennifer@leberrybakery.com.
Whatever the time of day, Lêberry Bakery offers a perfect beverage to complement your preferred baked good and a cool, fun place to indulge in your sweet tooth. Visit them here:
445 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Monday-Thursday 6:30 AM-3:00 PM
Friday 6:30 AM-10:00 PM
Saturday 7:30 AM-10:00 PM
Sunday 7:30 AM- 3:00 PM