Farewell to Dovetail

Important Scone(d) Bulletin! Immediately after publishing this post to the Get Sconed! facebook page, I was notified that Brass Tracks Sandwiches has legit Dovetail scones on the weekends. Photographic evidence here

Just over a month go now, Portland lost a little of its ‘vegan mecca’ glow with the closure of Morgan Grundstein-Helvey’s Dovetail Bakery. I’ll come clean, I can recall hearing a rumor of the space being for lease, but remained in denial.  It truly came as a surprise when Eater shared the official closing date of June 27th with less than two weeks to go for Portlanders (and motivated out-of-towners) to get their final fix of vanilla bean & raspberry scones, lemon creme whoopie pies and fateful, heaping plates of smokey biscuits & gravy.

Here’s the quote from the article: “After much thought and deliberation I have decided to close this incarnation of Dovetail Bakery. I promise you it is not for lack of love or success! I am excited to begin the next chapter of my life and I want to extend my deepest appreciation to everyone who supported me during this incredible journey! ” – Morgan via the Dovetail facebook page

Image via @Jdfunks Instagram

There remains no silly shortage of vegan baked goods and animal-free bakery storefronts in town, and I’ve enjoyed countless options from each and every baker, but Dovetail’s absence leaves me wistful. There was just such a charming, rustic (not to mention scrumptious; yeah, I’m going there) element to their flavorful scones, retro pies, fluffy muffins, giant cookies and those oh, so, perfect-in-my-eyes cinnamon rolls.

To every vegan that’s frantically asked me where to eat on their Portland vacation these past few years, you likely heard me rave about those exact cinnamon rolls, and I hope you had the chance to make their acquaintance. Don’t worry, I have more recommendations up my sleeve and never-ending food cart options to point you towards, but I doubt NE Alberta (which is fortunately home to another wonderful vegan bakery I’d be remiss not to link to, on top of its other vegan options — hello Bye & Bye) disappointed in the least.

Memory lane...it feels like ages ago, but when those Dovetail goodies went from a bonus at my local coop to everyday, bakery-front access next door to Vita Cafe in 2009, I was thrilled. It was this opening that inspired a friend and I to embark on a vegan walking tour of NE Alberta, and we left the count at 38  establishments with remarkable vegan options worth visiting. It wouldn’t shock me if that estimate now over 60, if not more. It’s four years later and there are so many more vegan-friendly places to choose from and support! It’s wild.

With (then) two vegan bakeries within fifteen blocks, I found myself wondering: If I’m going to head up to Alberta (don’t mind me, I’m a SE nook gal), a) How do I decide between two, fabulous vegan bakeries  and b) Why do I have to?

Because that’s the thing, you don’t. I didn’t.

That’s Portland vegan grandeur:  Your choices. 

One weekend you wake up, hop on your bike and grab a scone and some tea from Dovetail, the next afternoon you cure a craving for raw cheesecake and coffee at Back to Eden. One night, it’s a cocktail and cupcake at Petunia’s, and for lunch another day you have time for a hot panini and danish at Sweetpea. In short, the choices are swell, and that’s just a teeny tiny, off the top of my head selection of options at vegan-specific bakeries we’re talking here. All of their options continue to grow and evolve and the options simply make each one, ideally, get better and better.

Sadly, there’s now one less vegan scone in town. And sigh.

My concluding visit. The raindrops say it all. @jdfunks

Morgan shows off her game face and a badass dough hook. Image source: VeganIronChef.org

That final week at Dovetail…Noticing so many friends among those rushing to Dovetail (some again and again) during its last week, I know I’m not alone when I say I wish all  involved with that adorable bakery the best in the future, whatever and wherever they may head.

As an organizer, I was lucky to spend a bit of time with head baker & owner Morgan when she competed in our 2011 citywide Vegan Iron Chef competition (placing a close second!), and returned as a judge for our community cook-offs. She came across sweet, charming and strong,  just like the bakery she shared with Portland.

I wanted to write this goodbye because even with the mere occasional baked good, Dovetail’s opening and closure had its own little impact on my life as it inspired and treated the Portland vegan community.

Life needs change, and as wistful as I may be, I selfishly hope Morgan’s future steps include some sort of the Dovetail incarnation that seems hinted at, whenever the time may come.

Goodness, do let there be more cinnamon rolls and crafty scones in our future at some point…they’re simply too damn good to deny.

For some more sweet, sweet Dovetail memories…

The adorable bakery case

My first Dovetail scone in 2009, outside People’s Coop

The final box

Circa 2010

Oh, yes

How i remember Dovetail bursting onto the Portland vegan scene: those sticky buns!

Is it time?

Take a peek…

Scones, galore.

While reflecting on my own musts at Dovetail (the cinnamon rollz and freaking scones!) I asked J. Legume what it was that she enjoyed so much there, to which she replied “The gluten!”. Her favorite treat? “The scones…when they say they’re a flavor, they actually taste like it!” (says the girl who ate the last cinnamon roll!!)

The final, eventual scone. I am rather partial to a good scone.

If only in my dreams…

(As real as it may seem)

Zelda and the Dovetail tote I picked up on a long ago prior visit

Zelda + Dovetail

One more sigh.

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8 thoughts on “Farewell to Dovetail

  1. The loss of any vegan eater is a sad thing indeed, but it really breaks my heart to say farewell to Dovetail… I always heard such wonderful things, but I never got there in the end. Now I’ll never know! :(

  2. Oh No! Oh No! I cried when the shop downstairs stopped carrying those sticky buns; then I grumped when I couldn’t find them at Whole Foods anymore. So I resigned myself to driving to Alberta for those fabulous buns. It was always worth it. Thank you, Morgan Grundstein Helvey, for proving that yeasty vegan sticky buns (with pecans) don’t have to take second place to any other. I wish you good travels on your next adventure. Is there any chance of your passing the SB recipe (at least that one, but maybe some others as well) on to another vegan bakery or to your hungry erstwhile customers?

  3. I’m sad for Portland and sader especially since I’ve heard great things and never went there myself. Let this be a sign that I need to eat as many vegan treats as I can as soon as possible. No scone left unturned.
    my condolences.

  4. Oh my, I am not frequently nostalgic for gluten but this post is something else. I only got to try the Dovetail scones, muffins and buns a few times before I had to go gluten-free but they were unforgettable.

  5. Pingback: Farewell to Dovetail | CookingPlanet

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