Over the summer, sister-and-brother duo Celeste Bremer and Brenden King opened May’s Gluten Free Market with a mission to provide a worry-free shopping and dining experience for those with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease.
Nestled in a small plaza in Riverside, adjacent to a mural of Rhode Island’s native botanicals that adds a welcoming charm, this market is for anyone struggling to stock a gluten-free home kitchen. “I knew I wasn’t the only person feeling frustrated,” Bremer says. “While chain grocery stores may carry gluten-free brands, their selections are limited.” It became a harrowing experience, visiting multiple grocery stores in order to find all the ingredients her family needed, and there was no guarantee they’d be in stock every week.
Bremer’s household is 99 percent gluten free. Although her son, now 16 years old, has been gluten free since he was seven as a helpful method of mood regulating, Bremer’s daughter was diagnosed at a young age with celiac disease, making a gluten-free diet mandatory. The market is, in fact, named for her (her middle name is Mei, pronounced “May”). Part of their hope with this market is to demonstrate that gluten-free options can be just as diverse and delicious as their counterparts.
“It’s nice when people come in and are like, ‘Oh, I’ve tried this once and haven’t been able to find it again,’ or they find items they’ve been interested in but can’t buy locally.” Big retailers aren’t carrying goods from smaller businesses, and of the brands they do carry, they might only stock one particular flavor instead of the full selection. Unique items are of particular interest to Bremer and King. They follow the latest trends and carry a robust inventory that can’t be found elsewhere. For example, small producer Alla Lala cake mix can only be wholesale shipped from Wyoming – thanks to May’s Gluten Free Market, Rhode Islanders can bake with the best. They also support local businesses, from the familiar Narragansett Creamery to newer
Black-owned business Kassumay, specializing in hibiscus jams and sparkling drinks.
The siblings recently began a weekly meal deal, offering choices of three entrees, three sides, and three snacks, with new menus every week. Some examples include Turkey Sweet Potato Chili, Beef Shepherd’s Pie, and Japanese Vegetable Curry. Working out of Hope & Main’s dedicated gluten-free kitchen, they also sell fresh-baked goods, from Apple Cider Ricotta Cookies to muffins. A visit on any given day is a feast for the senses, with anything from frosted cinnamon buns on display to a self-serve crockpot of New England Clam Chowder, and the scent of empanadas wafting from behind the register, courtesy of fellow Hope & Main food-preneur, the Empanada Assassin.
Items like Choya Yowanai Ume and Yuzu sparkling sodas and rose syrup from Okuizumo Rose Garden speak to Bremer and King’s half-Japanese heritage; their upbringing also plays into the prepared foods they offer. “We make a lot of Asian-inspired cuisine, knowing that if it doesn’t sell, at least our kids will eat it,” Bremer jokes. “We try to keep a balance of both traditional and adventurous items that will introduce people to new flavors.” Whether eating gluten free, cooking for someone who is, or just curious, May’s stocks hidden gems for a range of patrons.
7 Forbes Street, Riverside • 401-410-7475
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