Friday, Dec. 31, 2010 | 1:50 a.m.
Map of Aces Up Gluten-free Goodies Bakery
3370 S. Hualapai Way, Suite 145, Las Vegas
Dave Teator spent most of his life suffering from abdominal pain when he ate a meal.
Doctors weren’t able to explain why the 43-year-old Summerlin resident could be fine one day, then become very ill the next.
That is until Teator tried going on a gluten-free diet about a year ago. From his struggles came Aces Up Gluten Free Goodies, which appears to be the valley’s first 100-percent gluten-free bakery, at 3370 S. Hualapai Way, Suite 145.
“Going to a gluten-free diet made me feel so much better,” he said. “The healthier markets out there, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, dedicate gluten-free aisles, but the one thing that was missing was fresh baked. Could not get a muffin, a roll, sandwich bread fresh.”
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed with wheat and wheat derivatives.
Most gluten-free food on the market comes frozen because its shelf life is limited, Teator said. So while the 24-year veteran of the construction industry was able to maintain a healthier diet, he “gave up in taste factor.”
“It would taste like cardboard to him, and he wouldn’t want to eat it,” said his wife, Lynda Teator, 45. “He was like, ‘I’m not going to follow this diet. I’d rather eat cardboard than eat that.’”
So Lynda went to the books. Gluten-free cookbooks, that is. And within one year, she learned all she could about how to convert her husband’s favorite foods into gluten-free meals he could eat.
“When I first started doing it, it was frustrating,” said Lynda, a nurse. “In the beginning, a lot of stuff went into the garbage. It was really expensive.”
With the help of her sister, who has Celiac disease, a gluten-intolerant illness, Lynda learned to use wheat flour alternatives such as flour made from rice, tapioca, corn, sorghum, and even garfava beans to recreate her baked goods.
It was a fickle process, Lynda said. The oven temperature had to be precise or the bread would sink in the middle. If the cake batter wasn’t mixed perfectly, the outcome was bitter tasting and hard as a rock. And if the rolls weren’t frozen after a day out, they would be spoiled.
Soon enough, she got the hang of it, and as the construction industry tanked in Las Vegas, Dave decided it was time to realize Lynda’s childhood dream of owning her own bakery.
“I’ve always liked to bake,” Lynda said, recalling how her father baked Italian and white breads when she was young. “I’ve always loved the smell of fresh bread.”
In November, the Teators – who moved to Las Vegas from upstate New York five years ago – opened Aces Up Gluten Free Goodies.
In the month it’s been open, about 60 patrons have come through the shop, sampling and purchasing the bakery’s various goods: sweets, breads and rolls, pizza crust, bagels and donuts. About a third of the customers have become regulars of the one-stop shop for all things gluten-free, Dave said.
“Almost every day, I’ve had people stand at my counter and literally begin to shake because they haven’t had bread for almost two years … I’ve had people go to tears right here eating a muffin.
“They’ll ask me, ‘Are you sure this is gluten free?’ and that’s what I want. That’s what I’m going for. That’s what we worked hard to get.”