BURRILLVILLE – What do you get when you combine a love of animals, a busy, business-minded mother and her son, and the ambition to try new things?
The somewhat surprising answer is Diesel Fuel Bakery, a new Pascoag-based business that will bring healthy eating options to the village center – for both customers and their furry companions.
Mother and son team Bonnie and Austin Carter are on track to open the business on Sunday, Nov. 1, in a space at 92 Pascoag Main St. previously leased by Pamfilio’s Catering.
The bakery will sell breakfast, with options including coffee, croissants, muffins, smoothies and crepes, as well as lunches of soups, custom grill cheeses and salads. On weekends, items such as sausage, pretzels and sliders will cater to customers at the neighboring pub and brewery.
Dogs and cats will also have their treats – chemical-free and sold by the bag, including dehydrated items such as sweet potatoes and beef jerky.
The story of how the Carters came to launch a plan to open a bakery for both people and pets begins in January of 2019, when Bonnie purchased the Pascoag building, a two-story, mixed use property with residential and commercial space.
“Two days after I bought it, the tenant moved out without telling me and left the oil tank empty,” Carter said.
Pipes froze and caused damage, and the structure would have to be torn down to the studs.
Despite the setback, Carter used the opportunity to customize space for her tenants. Among them would be entrepreneur Gina Fligg, an experienced cook who would run a catering business, while mentoring Bonnie’s 22-year-old son Austin in the culinary arts.
But after less than a year in business, Fligg announced plans to close and move out of state. Bonnie was left with a vacant space – and a son with an uncertain future.
“I had just built that kitchen for her,” she said, adding of Austin, who enjoys cooking. “He had finally found his happy.”
Diesel Fuel, Bonnie noted, is something of an investment in her son’s future.
“We already have a fully equipped kitchen,” she said, pointing to the lack of healthy dining options in town.
Austin had a slightly different plan in mind.
“His focus, his passion with this, is we’re going to offer the same things for dogs,” Bonnie said.
With the health of both the town’s humans and pets in mind, the pair set to creating a menu that will cater to the needs of the community. And starting in November, they will offer chai, hot chocolate and custom smoothies like the Orange Dreamsicle – a drink made with fresh banana, orange, Greek yogurt, vanilla, almond milk and honey. Lunch options will include “The Crispy Italian,” a grilled cheese comprised of a parmesan crisp base on the outside, and pesto, cheesy mozzarella and parmesan on the inside.
Bento Boxes will give busy passers-by the chance to purchase the meal, drinks and snacks they need for the day for a flat price.
“Essentially, people can come in and make their own,” Bonnie said.
“We need healthy food in Burrillville,” she added. “Sometimes I just want a salad, or a sandwich that isn’t caked in grease.”
For recipes, such as their sweet potato hash browns, the Carters have looked to friends for feedback, including one studying cooking at Johnson & Wales.
The business, Bonnie notes, is named after her dog, a Yorkipoo they call “Princess Diesel.”
“We’re going to try to focus on really healthy items for dogs as well,” she said.
Bonnie, who also owns a real estate company, is a natural at making convenience a priority.
“It has to be efficient,” she said of the new business. “People have to feel like they’re getting something for their money. And you have to be open for people to come.”
Tentative hours for the bakery are 6 or 6:30 a.m. to at least 2 p.m on weekdays, with evening hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We’ll deliver right to those bars,” Bonnie said of the neighboring Bravo Brewing Company and soon to open Power’s Pub.
The business plan appears to be as adaptable and ready as Bonnie has been while facing set-backs, from freezing pipes and disappearing tenants, to the delay of the first floor pub’s opening due to COVID-19. The Carters plan to offer specials as well as plenty of gluten-free options following feedback from her future customers. If weekday dinners are in demand, Bonnie says they’ll increase hours and staffing.
“We need to feed the needs of the town,” she said.