When I first met Annie Krause in 2013, she was excitedly sharing the story of her emerging non-profit, S.O.L.E. of Buffalo, which advocated for better access to seasonally, organically, locally, and ethically produced food for all Buffalonians.
Now Annie has channeled her enthusiasm for those same culinary ideals into launching her own business. The Rogue Cellar, a bakery based in the Horsefeathers Building at 346 Connecticut Street, sells a variety of baked goods that are seasonal and produced with local, organic ingredients.
Though her day job was teaching for many years, Annie has a long history in the culinary realm and is excited to be getting back to cultivating her passion for food.
“About a year and a half ago, I retired from teaching after putting in 22 years,” Annie said. “I got a job as an assistant distiller at Black Squirrel Distillery, which was a great transition back into food. It was one part art, one part science, and it was delicious work.”
After parting ways with Black Squirrel, Annie struggled to find another job that would tap into her culinary passion. “I had applied for 63 positions and I was in a funk. I was baking every single day at home and it was more food than we could eat. My husband said ‘You’re baking like there’s 30 people living here!’”
Annie began exploring the logistics of selling her baked products at a Farmer’s Market. After discovering how meticulous the requirements were for a home kitchen, she looked into renting space in a commercial kitchen and found her production home at Horsefeathers. With some guidance from the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), Annie was able to get The Rogue Cellar up and running.
“WEDI immediately embraced the idea that I’m a working class mom of teenagers living in Riverside and all I want to do is share my passion for food with everybody,” she said. “Their mission is to support folks like myself who have a vision and can articulate it into a business plan, and are committed to putting in the sweat equity to make it happen.”
Since June, Annie has been baking up a menu of predominantly vegan and vegetarian baked goods, offering lots of options for customers with allergies or dietary restrictions. “Everything is still in line with the S.O.L.E. mentality, everything follows a season,” she said. “Right now I’m offering very fall-oriented products seasoned with spices, herbs and ingredients that are traditional to this time of year. I try to do as much of it organically as possible, using sustainable sources and as many local vendors as possible.”
Customers who purchase baked goods from The Rogue Cellar will taste local ingredients such as garlic from Singer Farms, mushrooms from Niagara Mushrooms, tomatoes from Groundwork Market Garden, and maple syrup from multiple local producers.
“I’m also making everything from scratch as much possible,” she added. “If it has a spice blend, I blend the spices here. If it has a date syrup, I make that here.”
So far Annie’s most popular items are her English muffins, vegan gluten-free cheesecake, Guittard chocolate chip cookies, and sundried tomato Fougasse. She has also created and trademarked The Spentzel – a chewy pretzel made with spent grain from Community Beer Works’ brown ale, The Whale (customers at CBW can now get a Spentzel with their beer, too).
Annie also plans to do culturally relevant products for holidays, such as challah for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, St. Lucia Buns for St. Lucia’s Day, and Pan de Muertos breads for Dia de Los Muertos. “I just love the intersection of culture and food, and that’s what I want to bring to what I produce here,” she said.
Customers can find The Rogue Cellar’s baked goods at several farmers markets through the end of October, including the North Buffalo Farmers Market on Hertel Avenue (Thursday evenings from 3-7 p.m.) and the Kenmore Farmers Market (Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The Rogue Cellar shop at Horsefeathers is currently open from 12-2 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and will be joining the line-up at the Horsefeathers Saturday Winter Market, starting November 4. Annie also takes pre-orders via email that can be picked up at a scheduled time.
Now that The Rogue Cellar is up and running, Annie is keeping an eye out for a property in Black Rock or Riverside to expand into a storefront. She envisions a space that could host a variety of specialty bakers who could share space for production.
To learn more about The Rogue Cellar and where you can find Annie’s products, visit The Rogue Cellar’s Facebook and Instagram pages. To place an order, contact Annie via email at email@example.com.