Vegans shouldn’t be left out when it comes to finding a wide range of breads and baked goods in Pittsburgh. Crust Worthy, a one-woman business, offers a menu worth salivating over, including “the best cookie in Pittsburgh.”
Chloe Newman, founder and owner of Crust Worthy, is originally from Rhode Island but moved to Pittsburgh in 2009 to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned a double major in art and chemistry. But after various art-related jobs and a stint in the film industry, she says she “kind of fell in and out of catering jobs.”
It was while working as a pastry assistant at Garfield’s Gluten Free Goat that she says she learned a lot about running a small program and the “ins and outs of a small specialty bakery.”
“I decided that I wanted to pursue my passion on my own terms,” she adds.
Newman says that after she started working at Gluten Free Goat, she started cooking at home for friends. One loaf turned into two, then two turned into four, and it quickly grew to the point where she believed it was time to start operating from a kitchen space.
This led her to start working at the Bakery Society, a former community kitchen in Mt. Oliver, where she officially started Crust Worthy as a business in 2019. Newman says that once she started, she quickly threw herself into the farmer’s market circuit. , making regular appearances at three locations where she was able to gain a following.
Crust Worthy has a varied menu for a one-woman operation, but nearly every item has one thing in common: sourdough. Newman says his sourdough has fewer holes than most, making it great for sandwiches, toast, and more.
Besides the bread, customers also come for Newman’s Sea Salt and Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which she says people have told her are “the best cookie in Pittsburgh.”
Although she often gets inquiries, Crust Worthy doesn’t have a storefront, and since the Bakery Society closed, she now operates out of a micro-bakery space in her home, where she bakes her products that customers can shop at Bloomfield. Saturday market.
Newman says she never envisioned Crust Worthy as a brick-and-mortar artisan bakery because Pittsburgh already has its fair share. But she considered joining Crust Worthy in a baking co-op.
Newman also tries to source as much locally as possible, from the wheat-to-wheat fruits and vegetables that go into his creations.
“As a company, we’re pretty transparent about how important it is for us to source ingredients locally. Most of the fruits and vegetables we get that are incorporated into specialty breads and pastries often come from the local market,” she says. “All the flour we get is also locally sourced, and there really is a lot of heart and soul that goes into that kind of regional pride and wanting to support that local economy”
Almost all of the baked goods available on the menu are vegan, with one option — the dark chocolate tahini cups — gluten-free. Newman says she previously followed a vegan diet and learned to cook accordingly, so it was easy to maintain those skills and recipes. With gluten-free products, she’s open that the establishment she works at isn’t gluten-sensitive, which is why she doesn’t offer as many of those options.
Going from three different farmers’ markets to one has given Newman back some of her free time, which she enjoys spending outdoors hiking, camping, foraging for food and playing tennis. She says she slowly began to reconnect with her artist self.
As a trained artist, Newman says she enjoys the hands-on aspect of running her business, which includes selling her wares in marketplaces where she talks to old and new customers. She also takes great pleasure in creating flavors with seasonal ingredients and spices, as well as local produce from local farmers.
“It’s a small, community-supported bakery and I think it’s truly amazing that it’s been able to not just survive, but thrive over the past three and a half years,” she says. “I never really thought it would actually work and I’m pleasantly surprised every year when it looks like it’s going to happen again.”
Worthy of the crust. crustworthypgh.com