Vegan-friendly Bonafide Bakeshop & Café Offers Something for Everyone

For the vegan Mediterranean Eggplant sandwich at Bonafide Bakeshop & Cafe, fried eggplant is layered with arugula and roasted red pepper, drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette, and served on focaccia bread.

Whether you lean vegetarian, vegan or have no specific dietary regimen, Bonafide Bakeshop & Café in Apex has plenty of options to consider. From scratch-made soups and salads to sandwiches and sweet treats, high-quality ingredients reign supreme.

Co-owners Kristina Janson and Chis Nocera opened the counter-service café in July 2020, and word has spread ever since about the eatery’s nourishing, multifaceted concept.

Pecan sticky buns are one of several sweet rolls on the menu.

“The name of the shop actually came from a line from the movie ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’” Janson explained. “It’s also fitting because we strive to be as authentic as possible. There is nothing on our menu that we wouldn’t eat or order somewhere else.”

Janson and Nocera met in their early years of college and shared a passion for different types of food and restaurants. Both attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., where Janson received her bachelor’s degree in Baking and Pastry. Nocera graduated with a bachelor’s in Foodservice Management.

“I have baked in fine dining restaurants, on a cruise ship, in a community owned co-op and large corporate restaurants,” Janson said. “Chris has worked as a cook, manager and general manager in everything from prestigious catering companies to large corporate restaurants and popular local cafes.”

Several years ago, Nocera transitioned to a vegan diet, and while Janson does not adhere to any specific dietary practice, she says she is open to trying anything.

The Cobb Salad is straightforward, with chicken, bacon, egg, gorgonzola cheese, tomato, onion, romaine lettuce and ranch dressing.

“Since opening, we have been absolutely overwhelmed and overjoyed with the response from the vegan community,” Janson said. “The number of vegan options we offer, from the food to the sweets to the beverages, is much more than we had ever anticipated. Our goal is for someone to order something, perhaps without realizing that it is eggless or meatless or non-dairy, and truly enjoy it for what it is.”  

It’s also rewarding, she says, to have customers with dietary restrictions come in and be excited to be able to eat a dessert such as dairy-free chocolate cream pie.

Menu items at Bonafide range from the plant-based JUST “Egg” breakfast sandwich to chocolate banana espresso oatmeal to the bestselling Mediterranean eggplant sandwich. For something bursting with flavors, try the Asian salad with cabbage, green onion, carrots, edamame, red bell pepper, crispy wontons, cilantro and spicy peanut vinaigrette.

When it comes to sweets, choose from cookies, cheesecakes, bars, muffins, cakes and pies (items vary each day). Cinnamon rolls are also a crowd-pleaser, and a vegan version is available on weekends.

Bonafide will also fill custom dessert orders like birthday and celebration cakes — but not wedding cakes or anything with fondant.

“We love giving customers the option to create just about whatever they want,” Janson said.

S’mores Bars and Tropical Fairy iced fruit tea from Bonafide Bakeshop & Cafe

In an effort to connect with other small businesses in the community, Bonafide partners with local purveyors like Cultivate Coffee Roasters in Fuquay-Varina, By the Brook Tempeh in Saxapahaw, Delight Foods in Morrisville for seitan, and Rocky River Bees in Pittsboro for honey.

“We sell nut butter from Big Spoon Roasters in Durham, chips from Carolina Kettle in Raleigh, kombucha from Tribucha in Cary, and loose leaf tea from Tin Roof Teas in Raleigh,” Janson said. “We also go to the Raleigh State Farmers Market at least once a week to get a lot of our produce.”

She says Bonafide tries to make as many of its products in-house as possible, including bread, baked goods, sauces and dressings.

“We season and roast the chicken and beef ourselves and make all our sauces and dressings,” Janson said. “We strive to use ingredients that are as simple as possible. While that is not always possible when substituting for dairy or eggs, we at least try to keep those substitutions from being overly processed. Authentic food from scratch is how we hope to make our name as Bonafide as it can be.”

Bonafide is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Bonafide Bakeshop & Café
1232 West Williams St., Apex
(919) 372-5000

1 Comment

  • Fran Janson says:

    Kudos to a well written article about Bonifide Bakery and Cafe.
    It made proud parents even prouder.

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