July 1, 2020
Long-time Ace Blog readers may remember our last post featuring Lisa Siroti, founder and owner of Papa Ganache, the vegan bakery located in Matawan, New Jersey. Lisa’s path to opening a plant-based bakery was unusual: After dropping out of high school at age 16, Lisa spent her time hanging out in the West Village, enthralled by the energy there. Then, at age 43, she enrolled in NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, right across from her old stomping grounds. Many years after graduating and entering the world of social work, she met a social worker/vegan baker who showed her the wonderful world of plant-based treats. Soon Papa Ganache was born.
In addition to providing an array of mouthwatering treats, Papa Ganache also works hand-in-hand with the Papa Ganache Project-Strengths Development Program. Located behind the bakery, the social services agency provides intensive in-home and community services to children and their families. They also bring kids into the bakery, affording them the opportunity to be more connected to—and a part of—the community.
You might assume Papa Ganache’s myriad operations would be on pause with the recent pandemic, but Lisa assures us they’re not. The bakery is still open for business and thriving, although they now require customers to wear a mask and have installed vertical plexiglass over the counters in order to protect both visitors and employees.
In addition to their usual bevy of treats, Papa Ganache now also has options from their new dedicated vegan/gluten-free kitchen. The separate space is about ½ mile up the road and is responsible for the majority of Papa Ganache’s wholesale output. They also offer a line of entirely gluten-free products.
When you visit the bakery, you can check out their FoodFridge, which offers a wide variety of savory treats—think Roasted Peppers, Veggie Pot Pie, Eggplant Parm, Penne Vodka, and Stuffed Rice—as well as their wonderful Cookie Dough. Because Papa Ganache is all about inclusivity, they also take requests. “If someone wants us to make something we give it a shot,” says Lisa.
The social services branch of the business is still thriving, as well. While a lot of the in-person communication has been temporarily relegated to the virtual realm, their overall growth since we last chatted has been huge. While Lisa mostly does administrative work now, she still sees some clients and uses the bakery as a backdrop so kids can help in the garden and package goods. In terms of outreach, there are now 40 employees working with children and families in the area.
If you’re interested in learning more about the social services branch of Papa Ganache, you can check out their site. And if you find yourself in Matawan, New Jersey, craving some delicious baked goods, we highly suggest you stop by the bakery. We promise you won’t be disappointed!