With pet owners becoming increasingly concerned over the quality of their pets’ food and treats, the gourmet pet bakery industry is booming. And our locally owned Hollywood Feed is whipping up scrumptious organic baked goods that provide our four-legged friends with healthy and delicious treats!
“The main reason Hollywood Feed opened up a bakery is because we wanted a healthy option for all pets to enjoy,” says Christa Gilliland, manager of the Hollywood Feed Union Avenue store. “We wanted treats that didn’t contain any preservatives, by-products, allergens, corn, wheat or soy. We wanted a tasty treat for all our guests.”
The Hollywood Feed team had a vision for their baked goods that went beyond health to superior taste and eye-catching design. To make this lofty culinary vision a reality, they sought out an experienced pastry chef to take the helm of this new venture. Enter Sarah Nicholson, Hollywood Feed’s Director of Bakery Services, who joined the team and dove straight in, starting from scratch. “I designed the more than 2,000-square-foot kitchen, developed recipes and sourced all our ingredients,” says Sarah.
The pastry chef was a dog-treat novice, so she set about a self-education in canine pastries, searching the internet and flipping through cookbooks for Fido-friendly recipes. She also consulted canine nutrition experts to learn what ingredients to use and those she should avoid.
Keeping the treats healthy and tasty was a challenge. “No wheat, no white flour, no added sugar, no corn, no soy and no butter! Everything you would normally bake with is off the table,” says Sarah, who endured rounds of trial and error in the kitchen. “Our owner came by and tried the first round of products and said they looked great but just did not taste good.” So back into the test kitchen she went. This time, she took human recipes and adapted them to be dog-friendly.
A lot of care and thought went into each recipe and every detail to achieve success. “I looked for wholesome, all-natural ingredients. I buy organic when we can, and I source a few ingredients locally,” says Sarah.“I’d say about 75% or more of what we use now can be found at Whole Foods.”
Luckily for our four-legged friends, she was able to reach her goal of beautiful treats that are still tasty to humans and healthy for dogs.
The menu is absolutely tempting! “Our fresh-baked options include a peanut butter and banana mini cupcake. We also have pumpkin cream cheese bars, blueberry oatmeal muffins, pumpkin and carob-drizzled bundt cakes, and the list goes on and on,” says Christa. “Our most popular item so far has to be the bacon and zucchini mini quiches. All dogs love bacon, and we actually have a few cats that enjoy those too!”
Christa and Sarah start to giggle when they share a story about the carob-black bean brownies. One of the store’s team members brought a few home and had them out on her kitchen counter. Her husband ate one and was raving about it until he found it was for their dog! The ingredients of this rave-worthy, dog-friendly, gluten-free brownie include oat flour, black beans, carob powder, honey, walnuts and carob chips.
Hollywood Feed can also make a custom birthday cake for your pooch. The base is an almond cake with your choice of peanut butter icing, honey cream cheese, sweet potato icing or strawberry cream cheese with a carob bone on top — adorable!
With all these sinful-sounding options to spoil your pet, Sarah is quick to point out that treats should be given in moderation. “If getting a birthday cake, only feed your dog a small wedge at a time — not the whole thing!”
Currently, the pastry items are only available at the Midtown Memphis Hollywood Feed. However, Sarah and her team also bake a line of dog biscuits that are available at all 50 Hollywood Feed stores around the country. With five flavors in the dog biscuit line, there is something to please every dog. “Peanut butter, oat and flax is probably our most popular flavor. All dogs love peanut butter,” says Sarah. “The buckwheat and mint is probably my favorite. It’s like giving your dog a stick of spearmint gum!” And Christa adds that ham, parmesan and rye — think grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich — is a great option for picky dogs.
The superfood biscuit made with bananas, chia seeds, parsley and flax seeds may be the healthiest of the dog biscuits. Pumpkin and cranberry is also a popular flavor with a healthy twist. “Pumpkin is great for digestion,” says Sarah.
So if you treat your fur babies like members of your family, put your paws to the pavement and head to Hollywood Feed on Union Avenue and pick up some scrumptious locally made treats made from fresh, all-natural ingredients!
Hollywood Feed Fresh Bakery is located in the Hollywood Feed at 2015 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104. The bakery is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. For more information or to place a special order, call (901) 591-1795 or visit hollywoodfeed.com.
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