A new health food restaurant and bakery with a focus on keto-friendly, gluten-free and diabetic-safe meals and desserts opened April 1 in Starkville.
Power of the Almond, located on Technology Boulevard, is owned by Kirk Hutchinson, an MSU graduate and the head pastry chef. He said he created Power of the Almond because he noticed a need for it in Starkville. As a person with diabetes, Hutchinson said he wanted to have a business that catered toward people like him and others who have dietary needs.
"So, I'm diabetic myself, and it's hard finding diabetic-friendly products that are actually tasty," Hutchinson said.
The restaurant incorporates a variety of cuisines and keto, gluten-free and diabetic options. With a frequently rotating menu, Power of the Almond offers a new perspective on many dishes. The menu includes soups, dip and chips, casseroles and flatbreads with different options for every palette.
The bakery features desserts with keto-, gluten- and celiac-friendly ingredients, like almond flour, coconut flour and monk fruit sweetener. Guilt-free sweet treats include multiple types of fruit loaves, pancake poundcake loaves, chocolate zucchini bread, cookies, muffins, cake and 'magic bars.'
"We have a lot of changes to typical dishes," Hutchinson said. "We just put our own spin on it."
Hutchinson named Power of the Almond for its use of almond flour in most dishes. He said it was because of the flour substitute he is able to cater to multiple dietary restrictions while still making delicious food.
Hutchinson originally made the baked goods out of his house in Tupelo, Mississippi, and sold them online. Over nine months, he received enough support to open up a physical storefront in Starkville. The owner expanded from selling baked goods only to opening a restaurant and bakery combination.
"It really just started out as a hobby when I first started … I honestly didn't even know how to bake or cook, which is crazy because I actually am a really good baker now. I had no experience whatsoever, and I taught myself," Hutchinson said.
Customers of all kinds come to Power of the Almond, not just people with dietary restrictions. Nurses, college students, police officers and hospital personnel all show their support by eating at Power of the Almond.
Paige Beasley, a freshman biochemistry major at Itawamba Community College, said she is on a keto diet and Power of the Almond has plenty of options to suit her needs.
"We got a margarita flatbread and the buffalo chicken dip, and then I got this vanilla monk fruit iced coffee and a magic bar," Beasley said.
Kanden Utley, a freshman kinesiology major at Itawamba Community College, said his favorite thing he has tried is the lemon blueberry pound cake.
"This is so good," Utley said while pointing at the pound cake. "It's one of the best things I've ever eaten."
Like Beasley and Utley, Hutchinson said he enjoys the pound cake loaves, specifically the pancake pound cake loaf. He said they taste so good, even though he uses cleaner ingredients to make the baked goods. The owner also raved about the different types of cookies Power of the Almond sells.
Power of the Almond advertises its menu on social media, with Facebook being its primary social media outlet. The health food restaurant has amassed over 1,200 followers on the platform and frequently posts pictures of the baked goods for sale. Hutchinson said he wanted to reach out to a broader audience to offer them a new spot to eat in Starkville.
Hutchinson said his few weeks in business have been busy, and he is thankful for the encouragement he has received since opening. Power of the Almond is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.