When I walked into My Vegan Sweet Tooth, a local bakery a few miles down from Town Center in Virginia Beach, my eyes were immediately drawn to the large glass display case taking up the middle of the shop.
Behind the glass, shelves were filled with golden-crunchy cannoli, warm cookies, gooey cinnamon buns and perfectly frosted cupcakes of all different flavors and themes.
It was May 4th (Star Wars fans unite) and today’s specialty cupcake was a chocolate Chewbacca designed treat, frosting wild like fur and two brown chocolate chips for eyes. The next day, for Cinco de Mayo, a margarita cupcake would take its place, complete with a sprinkle salt rim.
Tonya Deveau, the owner and chief baker of My Vegan Sweet Tooth, paused from icing a large custom cake to sit down with me for a few minutes and share the story behind her lovely bakery.
“I have been vegan for 22 years, I love sweets so I started converting all my mom’s recipes,” she told me. “It was harder to find good vegan food 20 years ago.”
Ironically, that first vegan creation she made 20 years ago was a cinnamon bun, which is what her bakery is known for today in Hampton Roads.
She gestured with red fingers, dyed from baking, toward the glass display case with only a couple cinnamon buns left from the day’s customers.
“What I really liked to do back then was give my sweets away to people and not tell them it was vegan,” she said of her beginnings about ten years ago. “then see their surprise once they found out what they were eating was vegan and still really good!”
While delicious desserts and treats carry vegan and non-vegan people alike through the doors and into Tonya’s quaint and rustic style bakery, the real force behind this business is a profound, gentle love of animals.
“We love animals. That is the main reason I started doing this,” Tonya explained. “Each month we sponsor the SPCA, PETA and an animal sanctuary in Maryland where we know and visit the owners. All tips we get go to these three organizations. Helping animals is what we love.”
The future is bright for My Vegan Sweet Tooth. Currently the only vegan bakery in Hampton Roads, Tonya has started incorporating diner style food into her menu as well. When I ask about opening up another location she told me that while she would love to have another bakery, she thinks more about a vegan restaurant.
“For my son, he has been cooking since he was 9 and he loves to cook vegan food,” Tonya said. “He plans to go to culinary school when he graduates. He currently cooks all of our vegan food such as the shepherd pie, taco pie and vegan chicken pot pie.”
Tonya and her son, now 13, are the only ones who know the secret recipe for My Vegan Sweet Tooth’s award winning cinnamon buns, and they don’t plan to share that any time soon. Which is just fine, as long as the cinnamon buns keep finding their way into the large glass display case… and into my belly.
My Vegan Sweet Tooth is a unique gem in the heart of Virginia Beach run by a woman who laughs as she tells me she literally dreams every night about vegan food, about new recipes and fun creations to share with her customers. Follow along with Tonya’s latest creations on Instagram (@myvegansweet2th) and on Facebook (@myvegansweettooth).