The Valley Wire
Meeting a high, delicious demand
Ketobolic Kitchen is gladly serving up tasty gluten-free foods
Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention. When the pandemic forced Daphne and Robert O’Neil to cease serving guests in person at their Bridgetown restaurant, they had to come up with a new business model.
With seating for 40, the Ketobolic Kitchen had been enjoying a booming business prior to spring, 2020, serving gluten-free breakfast, lunch and dinner, with lineups out the door for the monthly all-you-can-eat buffets. But COVID-19 threw a wrench into the works.
“We had to think of another way to get our products out there,” Daphne recalls.
The demand for their products had not subsided, and, in fact, continued to grow. Gluten sensitivity – ranging from minor symptoms to full blown Celiac – affects a growing number of people. Word of the business’s gluten-free foods had been slowly spreading, through word-of-mouth and Daphne’s social media posts, and some local retailers began to make enquiries about carrying their products. Robert and Daphne answered the call and gave their facility a makeover.
“We got rid of the tables and enlarged the kitchen,” she recalls. “It just took off from there.”
The business has grown to employ six people and Ketobolic Kitchen products can now be found in a growing number of retail outlets across Nova Scotia, including Needs, Simply for Life and Pharmasave stores.
“We are also in various farmers’ markets and Lequille Country Store in Annapolis Royal,” Daphne says.
She has experienced the benefits of the Keto diet first-hand, embarking on that path a year before moving to Nova Scotia from Cambridge, Ont. in August 2018. The ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrates and replacing them with fat to help the body burn fat for energy. It has proven successful in promoting weight loss and lowering risk for certain diseases.
“It’s the only thing that has ever helped me lose weight,” she says. “I had tried every single diet known to man, starved myself, and still gained weight.”
Daphne estimates 75 per cent of their customers have gluten-sensitivity, Celiac or diabetes.
Located at 26 Bay Rd., just across from the fire station in Bridgetown, the Ketobolic Kitchen does a booming walk-in business, with an open-kitchen concept where customers can watch the food being prepared.
“We have walk-in customers every day from all over the area,” she points out. “We are very open and transparent, so everybody is welcome to drop in to see what we do and how we do it.”
Among the things Ketobolic Kitchen does are glutenfree pasta and waffles. Made with whey protein isolate, casein, eggs and inulin, the pasta is ideal for people with Celiac, Daphne says. Biscuits, bread, rolls, pizza, donair-pizza, muffins, ice cream, cheesecakes, cookies and a wide range of meals-to-go are also available.
It’s the province-wide deliveries to retail outlets that keep Daphne and Robert extremely busy. To get their products to Sydney every other week they are up at 2 a.m. to start packing orders, out the door by 6 a.m., and back in Bridgetown by 8 p.m. Their products can also be found in Halifax Regional Municipality, Antigonish, Stellarton, Truro, Bridgewater, Yarmouth and soon to be in Amherst.