Kosher Boulderites can now have their cake and eat it, too.
During its major remodel, the King Soopers on 30th and Arapahoe made room for a kosher bakery, which debuted a few weeks ago.
It was a huge process, said Kathy Allen, bakery director for King Soopers and City Markets in Colorado.
The rabbi came by and did a deep clean and inspected all the equipment.
Now, the grocery store has separate ovens, bowls, mixers, trays and other necessary equipment for dairy and pareve baked goods to maintain kosher integrity.
The Boulder grocery store is only the second of 142 King Soopers and City Market stores in the state to boast a kosher bakery.
Our bakery plant has been kosher for the last 11 years, but once those products got to the stores, they were no longer kosher because they were put in other baking pans, explained Allen. But now, with the new kosher kitchen in the bakery in Boulder, all the items created or baked on site are kosher.
The King Soopers at Monaco and Leetsdale was the first store to feature a kosher bakery. That opened about three years ago with great results.
The decision to convert the Boulder store was prompted by customers.
We had a lot of requests from the Boulder community to create a kosher bakery, said Allen.
Until recently, Boulderites either had to make the trek to the Monaco store or special order kosher products from another company altogether. So when the decision was made to remodel the 30th St. location, it seemed like a good idea.
Not every store can accommodate a kosher facility; it takes more space than a conventional bakery department because of the need for two sets of baking tools and equipment.
Thats why, even though some neighborhoods, like Cherry Creek for example, could support a kosher bakery, putting it in an existing grocery facility is not necessarily feasible. But the Boulder store at 30th had the space.
Ninety percent of all the goods offered in the bakery are kosher.
The designation doesnt matter to non-kosher customers; they wont notice a difference in the quality, assured Allen. The real difference is within the kosher community where providing kosher baked goods makes a difference.
All of our donuts and pastries are now kosher. They werent before. All of our special order cakes from the [30th street store] are now kosher, too, she said.
Thats a big deal for both the community and the store. In just the last month, the bakery saw a 20% increase in sales at the 30th Street store alone. That increase, said Allen, is directly attributed to converting to a kosher bakery.
We dont charge any more for special orders or kosher products, we just have more customers, she explained.
We do sell products that arent kosher, said Allen, but its just a handful, and theyre made at other stores. That includes pies and a few other items.
All the bakery workers know what products are and are not kosher because of intensive training.
King Soopers put together a video to educate staff on how to maintain a kosher bakery.
Additionally, there are cameras in the store to monitor the employees work, ensuring kosher consistency.
When asked whether the two Colorado grocery stores would serve as a model for other regional, out-of-state operations owned by Kroger, King Soopers parent company, Allen couldnt say.
Were really the trendsetters here [offering pareve and dairy baked goods].
Kroger does have other kosher bakeries in stores around the country a pareve bakery in Atlanta, a kosher market in Columbus, and, of course, the kosher dry goods section in every store.
By the way, the kosher grocery aisle at the 30th St. Kings is 16 feet long and offers more kosher brands and products than you might ever find in your bubbies pantry.