Phoenix mother hopes to 'kickstart' gluten-free restaurant

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- It is tough to have a great idea and then not have a way to pay for it.  

Some projects just can't get a traditional loan, and that is where Kickstarter.com might help.

Phoenix mother Julie Moreno hopes the funding website will add a little extra to her new restaurant.
 
“I've always loved to bake!” Moreno gushed as she frosted a large donut.
 
Moreno spends most days baking in the oversized kitchen in her home.  Her cottage industry has been growing for more than two years, but it started because she wanted better tasting gluten-free food for her daughter, Sophia.
 
“There was nothing really good to eat for me,” Sophia explained. “It hurt my stomach all the time.”
 
Sophia has Celiac disease and can't eat wheat.
 
“Doing it gluten-free is something I never thought I'd do and it's really exciting,” Moreno said.
 
Moreno was talking about dreams of opening a restaurant some day.  As she developed her own gluten-free flour and recipes for baked goods, a lot of people were turning to gluten-free foods for health reasons. She found she was selling every cupcake and donut at local farmers’ markets.
 
“Our pizza crusts sell out at the market in an hour,” Moreno said. 
 
She will soon open Jewels Bakery and Cafe next month near Thomas and 40th Street.
 
“We hope to raise money and offer allergy-free treats,” she proudly announces on her Kickstarter.com video.
 
The website allows people to ask strangers to invest in everything from art to small businesses.
 
Moreno hopes to raise $20,000 by August 24.
 
“We had set a budget but there is so much we want to do,” Moreno said. “We need some extra equipment.”
 
Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning Julie Moreno has to receive at least $20,000 in pledges to get the money.
 
Either way, her bakery and cafe will open in September.
 
Here is a link to her pitch on Kickstarter.