When Stephanie Sherman worked as a public school teacher, she noticed that many of her students struggled to find enjoyable food options.
“I used to teach at public schools and saw a lot of children who had gluten intolerance and other allergy issues,” Sherman said. “They were not able to walk into any restaurant and feel safe and enjoy whatever they want."
Sherman is now one of three owners of Savor Eatery and Bakery, a new business that officially opened on Feb. 9 at 110 N. Columbia St.. Sherman said opening Savor has been in the works since late August.
Sherman said her main goal in opening the bakery is for it to be a mindful and safe space for all people.
“Our goal is to provide a mindful dining atmosphere that has health as the number one priority and is sustainably sourced through local vendors,” Sherman said. “We want to have any person come in here and know that it will be a safe environment for them.”
Savor is a gluten-free, diabetic-friendly and keto-friendly bakery and eatery. Sherman received her master’s degree in epidemiology and public health, and she said it's important to provide healthy and enjoyable food options for people with food restrictions.
“We’re not using butter, we’re not using canola oil, we don’t fry things, we don’t use salt,” Sherman said. “My background is in public health, and I really try to make sure that the ingredients are all nutritious and taste good.”
Having gluten-free food options, along with other items, is greatly appreciated by those with food restrictions, like UNC first-year Nicole Schroder.
“I like gluten-free restaurants because they offer a fun way for (gluten-free) people to eat with their friends and hang out,” Schroder said. “A lot of restaurants and bakeries will charge more for gluten-free or dairy-free products, which I think is unfair.”
After hearing about Savor and their gluten-free options, Schroder said she wants to try it out with her friends. Sherman said she encourages people to come to Savor because it is different from other restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill.
“We use different ingredients. My bakery items don’t use any butters or oils, we use things like sweet potato, zucchini and greek yogurt," she said.
In the future, Sherman hopes Savor will grow enough so they can open another location in the Morrisville/Cary area. Along with this, Sherman said she wants to use her business to become more involved in the community and to eventually start a non-profit.
“I want to go into public school systems and make sure that children know that you don’t have to eat high calorie and processed foods,” Sherman said. “There are a lot of other things that taste really good. I want to be able to teach children the importance of adequate nutrition and help everyone have access to that.”
Community involvement is one of Sherman’s top priorities with Savor, and, according to Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Executive Director Matt Gladdek, it proves to be a good business model in downtown Chapel Hill.
“The businesses that are thriving in Chapel Hill, especially downtown Chapel Hill, are the ones who have made a connection to the community,” Gladdek said. “The personal connection between (Chapel Hill residents) and the owners of a business make people feel that they have a stake in helping that business succeed.”
Sherman said she hopes to get involved with local organizations soon, for she said she wants to make a difference in the community.
“We really want to be active in the community,” Sherman said. “We are 100 percent open to outreach ideas from other local organizations. We want to do what we can to make a difference, especially for those who are in need.”
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