When trying to determine the best neighborhood to pick up a gluten-free treat, the Upper West Side would probably not be at the top of that list. The gluten-intolerant folk would be more inclined to head towards the East Village and Lower East Side, where popular shops such as Babycakes, Tu-lu's, and Jennifer's Way reside. Normally, your best bet for anything gluten-free in the neighborhood would be at the Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue, where only pre-packaged items would be available, but all that has changed – By the Way Bakery has landed.
Originally from Hastings-on-Hudson, By the Way Bakery opened an outpost on 90th and Broadway, to the relief of the gluten-free who would like to stay downtown-free as well. The tiny yet cozy standing-room-only shop still exudes its small-town charm, boasting treats such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, tea cakes, cake cakes, and even granola. Layer cakes are offered in flavors such as chocolate, red velvet, and lemon, and in slices with their "slice of the day," which was carrot cake at the time of my last visit.
Despite living down in Chelsea and generally having no reason to visit the UWS, I've been twice, and besides stuffing my face with their brownie samples, I've tried both mini bundt cakes, chocolate chip and chocolate. Of all the gluten-free goodies out there, cake might be one of the trickiest to master. Most gluten-free creations, cake or other type, are dense, crumbly, and just plain dry and tasteless - yet the cake here is moist, soft, and it tastes like what most gluten-free cake should taste like: cake.
A few other extra perks, as if gluten-free wasn’t enough – Stumptown Coffee is offered, should you desire to wash down your treats with a little something, and not only is everything gluten-free, but it’s all dairy-free as well. Yes, pricing is fairly high for a bakery treat (the mini Bundt cakes run about $5) but trust me, a gluten-free dessert that tastes like the real thing is practically priceless.
Whether you’re gluten or dairy-intolerant, trying to eat healthier, or if you just like dessert, By the Way Bakery is a must-try, no matter where you’re coming from in the city.