Serving “Artisan Peddled Baklava,” Frosene Sacco is a second generation Greek who knows how to make one delicious pastry.
“I learned how to make baklava from my grandmother and mother who made it often, especially during the holidays. I think of them as I’m baking. They taught me well,” said Sacco, who together with her husband founded Bikelava.
Baklava is a rich and sweet pastry made of layers of filo dough and filled with chopped nuts and syrup.
“It takes more time than the average pastry,” said Sacco, who worked as a baker before starting a career as an ESL teacher. “It can take almost two days.”
Sacco came upon the idea of becoming a bike vendor when leafing through a bike magazine a few years ago.
“I found this story about cargo bikes and the bike vendors who use them and I thought, ‘We could do that. We could sell pastries from a cargo bike’,” she recalled, adding that she has always been captivated by the bike vendors she encountered in Indonesia. “It took two years but that’s how Bikelava happened.”
Sacco said the bike simplifies the business and allows her to go out into the community and do something in a nontraditional way.
“I have biked all my life, especially long distances and self-contained tours,” said Sacco, a four-time STP-finisher. “And I enjoy meeting people and sharing culture through food and cooking.”
Sacco currently uses her vintage three-speed Schwinn or her husband’s touring back to haul the pastry-laden selling station to the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market on Saturdays and the South Lake Union Farmboat on Thursdays.
They are awaiting a mobile vending permit and hope to share Sacco’s food and culture to more places.
But growing her business isn’t necessarily her goal.
Sacco said she bakes her baklava in a commercial kitchen, about 140 pieces per baking session.“I have a regular job so my main goal is to just have fun,” she said.
“I sold out last week but you never know how each day goes,” she said.
Since she launched her business a little over a month ago, Sacco has already gained repeat customers and word-of-mouth about the delicious pastries is travelling quickly.
“So far, so good,” she said. “This was something I wanted to do and I made it happen. It’s nice to have my own thing.”