After nine years in business, fans of Erin Ireland and her famous vegan banana bread received some amazing news yesterday June 2, when she announced that her business To Live For will be opening a physical plant-based bakery and cafe on Nanaimo and Grant late this summer.
In the jubilant Instagram post, she shows off the large space at 1508 Nanaimo that is currently under construction with 14-foot ceilings and plenty of room for her expanding operation and a small cafe storefront. She also shares plans for her future menu which includes dairy-free soft serve developed in partnership with Salvatore Boccarossa from Passione Gelato, and cakes made custom and grab and go.
Other standard cafe baked goods like muffins, scones, and cinnamon buns that pair well with coffee and espresso will also be on offer with treats (including some that are tricky to make vegan) like brownies, croissants, sourdough bread, and Nanaimo Bars.
Previously, Ireland's menu was limited to about a half-dozen items that could be ordered online for curbside pick up or sold at other cafes around B.C. She has said herself that she is rigorous in her recipe testing and will only release new products when she's certain they are perfect if not better than their non-vegan counterparts so the new additions are very exciting.
In a longer announcement shared on the To Live For site, Ireland reveals that she's been passively looking for a space for the last eight years and that this new development tucked into a residential neighbourhood was the perfect fit. Located just off of 1st Avenue, she believes it is a convenient stopover from the North Shore, Tri-Cities and Fraser Valley, as well.
Ireland plans to keep the interior design light and airy with minimalist touches but some cozy nooks for lounging. She also plans to have glass dividing walls between the cafe and kitchen areas so patrons can watch the cakes being decorated and a large countdown clock mounted on the wall that lets people know when the next batch of banana bread is coming out of the oven.
Now that the cat's out of the bag, people can expect to see regular construction updates and tours on Ireland's social media channels as she promises to keep everyone updated about their progress and plans for the future.