Vegetarian Action

Sweet Success

An Interview with Sticky Fingers’ Doron and Kirsten by Keryl Cryer

Doron Petersan and Kirsten Rosenberg are junk food fanatics, but as ethical vegans for nearly a decade, they weren’t finding many baked goods that tasted like the ‘real’ thing. Their solution? To start their own bakery, of course! They’ve been up to their armpits in batter since they opened the highly successful Sticky Fingers in Washington, D.C., in October 2002, but they still found time to answer a few questions for VJ:

What experiences helped you Start Sticky Fingers?

Doron Petersan: I attended the University of Maryland for my degree in dietetics. After taking a few food science classes, I became interested in vegan baking and started making things for friends, potlucks, etc. I received requests for cakes for events, so I started renting time in a local bakery, which is now the site of our store.

Kirsten Rosenberg: I had been working in the animal rights movement for years, most recently as managing editor for The Animals’ Agenda. But, perhaps most importantly, I know a good vegan sticky bun when I taste it!

Who are your customers? Are they mostly vegetarian or vegan? Are they usually from the D.C. area?

KR: Of course, we cater to a lot of vegans—who travel from far and wide—but we also serve a significant number of non-vegans. Some of these folks have dairy or egg allergies or are just looking for healthier alternatives. And we also get lots of customers who aren’t vegetarian at all but who either live or work in the area and just love our products. We get a real kick out of it when customers are shocked to find out the cookies they love so much are actually vegan! Our customers also vary greatly in terms of age and ethnic backgrounds. Mail orders are increasing, too.

What items do you consider your specialties?

DP: Sticky Cinnamon Buns, Cowvin Cookies (oatmeal crème sandwiches), and Little Devils (chocolate cake sandwiches with creamy filling and coated in chocolate). All the stuff you long for from your pre-vegan days!

KR: And just a word to vegans in love—we do gorgeous wedding cakes, too!

What are your goals for the bakery? What do you think is in the business' future?

DP: Distribution! We want to be available in mainstream grocery stores nationwide.

KR: We are also proud of how we are helping to mainstream the concept of veganism. When people come to our bakery, vegan food is associated with a positive experience.

How do you feel about the vegetarian/vegan movement Today?

DP: I love it! There are some great campaigns going on right now that focus on introducing vegan products and foods to those who have never tried them.

So many people tend to think veganism is difficult, and that so much has to change for them to be vegan. Showing people that veganism is obtainable, simple, and that your food will still taste good, if not better, is the way to go!

For more information about Sticky Fingers Bakery, visit Be sure not to drool on your keyboard, though!

Keryl Cryer is Senior Editor of Vegetarian Journal and a graduate student in Publications Design at the University of Baltimore.