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June 21, 2024

Friday Food Insider: Saco will be home to a gluten-free bakery, with a twist

A variety of images including breads, cinnamon roles, pretzels and the owner of the bakery. Photo / Courtesy, Lorraine Fagela Sweets and Co. will offer an array of breads, bagels, cinnamon rolls, quiches, pies, pastries, soups, paninis, coffee and bubble tea. Owner Lorraine Fagela is shown here.

Look out, Saco — a new gluten-free bakery and cafe is moving into downtown. 

Sweets and Co. announced via social media that it will open at 294 Main St. in Saco at the former Alchemy vintage and thrift store.  

“My son started school at Thornton Academy, and picking him up and being involved in the school, I found that there are so many international students here,” said Lorraine Fagela, the owner of Sweets and Co.

“I want to give them a safe space where they can come and do their homework, have snacks and some bubble tea and coffee. I had been eyeing this building since 2021, but the owner passed away in 2022, so the estate reached out. I couldn’t afford it at the time, but we closed on the space this year.

“I chose Saco because I want to be in the community and be a part of the community, where my services and products are so much needed,” she continued. “I felt like if I had gone into Biddeford; there would be so many bakeries and food stuff there. And I thought if I put in a gluten-free bakery in Saco, then it would draw people downtown.” 

Photo / Alexis Wells
Sweets and Co. will be located at 294 Main St. in Saco.

Fagela is bringing a unique twist to the gluten-free scene.

The bakery will offer an array of breads, such as crusty bread and focaccia sourdough, as well as bagels, cinnamon rolls, quiches, pies, pastries, soups, paninis, coffee and natural energy drinks made with lotus and bubble tea. She plans to source many local ingredients, like Maine blueberries, maple syrup and meat from a local butcher.

But that's not all. She will also use the space to teach hands-on gluten-free cooking classes, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for food enthusiasts, and offer a space for local students to enjoy. 

“It's not just a bakery,” said Fagela. “It will also be a learning hub. I want to have hands-on cooking classes and date-night cooking classes. You don’t need to be gluten-free.

"I teach a Thai cooking date-night and we make curry, sour soup and fresh rolls and we do it all in two hours. My goal for the space is to remove the hesitation of ‘what does gluten-free mean, and that seems complicated.' That's the stigma of making something gluten-free, and it's not [complicated]. I hope to give the community confidence to do it themselves and not be intimidated.”

Fagela told Mainebiz that the cafe's theme is bright and comfortable. Sweet & Co. is expected to open in early to late fall. 

About the owner

Fagela moved to Maine in 2013 from Singapore and was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. She realized she couldn’t enjoy all the foods she liked and decided she wanted to recreate her favorite foods but make them gluten-free.

“I basically started researching and trying to figure out what I could do because every other mix I was using hadn't tasted right. They were either too crumbly, dry, or gritty and nothing was working for the recipes I have.”

After several tries and 10 years in the making, Fagela created a gluten-free flour and baking mix called Hand + Heart. She was also a co-owner of Roots Cafe in Westbrook. 

“I know the struggle of being gluten-free and going to a restaurant and only being able to get a salad and having to be cautious. I want to be able to teach people how to make this stuff because it is easy.”

For an upcoming Food Insider, this foodie is looking for your recommendations on places to enjoy a nice cocktail outdoors. Share your thoughts and suggestions with the Mainebiz Food Insider! Contact Alexis Wells at

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