530 W Main Street, Anoka, MN 55303, United States
Email : Swedishcrownbakery@yahoo.com
Phone : 763-427-0506
Pioneer Press of Minnesota
For years, Eva Sabet was gaining a following for her Scandinavian baked goods sold at local farmers’ markets and food establishments. It was only a matter of time before the Swedish native, 42, branched out on her own.
These days, as co-owner and head baker of Swedish Crown Bakery (530 W. Main St., Anoka; 763-427-0506;swedishcrownbakery.com) in downtown Anoka, Sabet draws customers from near and far for the classic European pastries and desserts, as well as her gluten-free and vegan creations that also melt in your mouth.
We talked with Sabet about how she got her start in the business and what’s next for the bakery she runs with her husband, Fari Sabet.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? I’ve always been obsessed with food. I’ve always loved trying new things and foods from around the world.
What’s your first food memory? I was always hanging around in the kitchen. I was 7 years old the first time I baked. My mom was on the phone, distracted, so I started rolling out balls of flour and water, poured some oil into a pot and started frying them. The plastic handle started melting, and there was smoke everywhere. That was my first attempt at baking. It didn’t go very well. By the time I was 13, I was baking every day. I would try to perfect a creme brulee or make cakes for birthdays, things like that.
What was your first job in food? I used to own a nail salon in Sweden, but I got tired of that. So, I started working at an ice cream bar. I never thought of being in the food world as a profession until I moved here to the States. I loved to bake, and I started selling at local farmers’ markets. I also sold kringles at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis for years.
How did you wind up in the restaurant business for good? We wanted to open an organic restaurant in Anoka, but it was difficult finding a business partner. We started taking some bake samples to such places as GrassRoots Cooperative in downtown Anoka, where we grocery shop. It so happened they had closed their kitchen a few weeks before that and said we could rent the space for a bakery, but we probably would have to offer other food, too.
We opened Swedish Crown Cafe and Deli inside the co-op in December 2011. It included such bakery items as traditional Swedish breads, soups, sandwiches and an entree of the day. Everything was made from scratch, including the broth for soups. I really love cooking, too, so it worked out.
In 2013, we opened the bakery, where we are now, four blocks away. We ran both spots for eight months, but eventually gave up the deli co-op space. Someone else runs it now.
What’s your favorite item on your menu right now? It’s always changing, depending on what I’m in the mood for. But anything with whipped cream and not too sweet is really to my taste. So I really love our napoleons, eclairs and beehives. Those all have custards and creams, so those are my favorites.
What’s something few people know about you? I used to practice herbalism, and I don’t think many people know that I have an office full of herbs. That might seem like a stretch because when you’re in the business of sweets, people think that’s unhealthy. But we put a lot of thought into the things we make. I like to incorporate things like flowers for flavor in what we’re baking, like with our lavender cookies. And we are always trying to go further in cutting back on sugars. We’re trying to keep the ingredients as clean as possible.
If someone were to play you in a movie, who should it be? When I was really young, people told me I looked like Brooke Shields.
If you could eat only five things for the rest of your life, what would they be? Water — when I was a kid, my mom joked she wanted to hook me up to a hose because I was always drinking water. I also love butter, Swedish licorice, oysters and, of course, pastries.
What’s next? We have a couple of our products that we would like to distribute in other states and outside the States. We are at the stage where we have to find the right packaging and all that stuff. But that is something we’re really working on.
Then maybe in five years, if we’re going to expand, let’s say to downtown or Uptown in Minneapolis, my dream would be to have a Victorian art deco building, something from the 1900s to 1920s. Everything would be decorated accordingly to the era, and I would like to have pastries based on what was served during the art deco times.