In late 2021, Keri Lijinsky had two buns in the oven. Her gluten-free bakery, Sweet Crimes (1238 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) opened in late November. Then, on Dec. 7, she welcomed her first child.
It was a joyous end to the year, made all the sweeter for being a new beginning.
A former public health consultant, Lijinsky returned from assignment abroad with USAID to focus on improving her own health. Discovering that she was allergic to gluten, she set out on a mission: to bake without compromise, starting with a gluten-free wedding cake for her mother.
After four years of research and experimentation, Lijinsky has created a proprietary gluten-free flour blend. She’s learned that customers want to buy their gluten-free baking fresh, rather than at a grocery store or baking it themselves.
That’s how the dream of the Sweet Crimes bakery was born. The brightly-colored storefront offers baked goods that include the cakes that set Lijinsky on the baking path, as well as pies, award-winning donuts, breads, buns and dry mix for the ambitious. There are also some surprises: Katja, a baker from Georgia, has mastered a gluten-free Khachapuri, the Georgian cheese bread, and staff are working on the perfect gluten free empanada.
The shop offers coffee and pastries, but also sandwiches and soups, catering to a lunch crowd that rarely finds their needs accommodated.
Food is the source of emotional memory, Lijinsky adds. Getting it right brings people to a place of comfort and happiness. “They want it to taste like they remember it,” said Lijinsky. “That’s the standard, and that’s what they deserve.”
Sweet Crimes (1239 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Order online sweetcrimes.com