Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
Rome, Ga. is home to many eateries, all with a wide variety of cuisine, from Jerusalem Grill’s Mediterranean grill to Crawdaddy’s Cajun grill. One eatery in particular, Sunflour Community Bakery, is a relatively new establishment that caters to those with dietary restrictions.
The bakery was first opened two years ago, but before, owner Sunny Knauss, worked in restaurants and baked bread in her kitchen.
“I’ve been working with food since I was a kid off and on,” Knauss said. “I started in the school snack bar when I was fifteen and when I went off to UGA I had a restaurant job there. I just got tired of working for other people and was like let’s try this. When I was still doing this at the cottage level and I didn’t have a place, most of the time I would meet people at the coffee shop with a box of bread.”
Working from her own home wasn’t sustainable, though, and she eventually moved to what is known as Sunflour Community Bakery.
“At the cottage level you can’t make enough money working from home because it takes over your house,” Knauss said. “Pans, pounds of flour, racks. It wasn’t a great setup for the family. You know, one of the kids would come into the kitchen and want to eat and I’d be like ‘you can’t eat in here!’ The cottage level had grown to the point where it was go big or go home; I have to ramp this up or stop.”
The bakery has numerous food options but sets itself apart by having dietary friendly options. Sunflour Community Bakery offers gluten friendly, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options to customers.
“Our soup is almost always vegetarian,” Knauss said. “We do a takeout meal on Friday night, like we did chicken and dumplings a few weeks ago, but that’s the only chicken soup that we make. Our daily soups are always vegetarian. Our breads are vegan, our sugar is vegan.”
Knauss has been a vegetarian on and off for years and knows how hard it is to find food that fits her dietary restrictions, so she wanted to be able to fill that role for other people.
“I’m not a vegetarian now,” Knauss said. “But I have been for most of my life off and on and I just know it’s a joyous and serendipitous thing to go somewhere and say, ‘what? You have vegan soup? Vegan grilled cheese, really?’ So, it makes us unique, we’re kind of unique anyways.”
Most of the bakery’s ingredients are either locally sourced or non-genetically modified.
“All the meats we have are uncured or local, depending on what it is,” Knauss said. “The sandwich meats are uncured, not organic, but they’re the ones that don’t come with the nitrates in them. The only chicken products we use are humane society-sealed. The chicken salad comes in chunks already and we don’t have to cook it or anything. It’s from Springer Mountain, which is local to Georgia, but not to Rome, and they carry the humane society seal as far as treatment.”
Sunflour Community Bakery also takes wastefulness seriously and does everything possible to recycle or repurpose items.
“We were composting all of our waste, but now we have someone who has a herd of pigs who are getting our food scraps,” Knauss said. “All of our food waste never goes in the garbage and obviously we recycle what we can.”
On top of running an in-house bakery, they also outsource to local coffee shops.
“We make bread for Lumina,” Knauss said. “I don’t know if it’s all their bread, but it’s bread for their toast. We make a couple of things for Swift and Finch. We’ve made bread for the Foundry”
Sunflour Community Bakery offers online ordering, curbside pickup and outdoor dining. They are open 7am. to 4pm. on Tuesday, 7am. to 2pm. on Wednesday, 7am to 7am on Thursday and Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturday.