Local veterans support Columbus Restaurant Week

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Two local U.S. Army veterans have turned their passion for service into a passion for cooking and baking as co-owners of the local gluten-free bakery Eban’s Bakehouse.

This husband-and-wife team are taking part in Winter Restaurant Week by dining at a local eatery every night to support their industry that has been economically devastated by the pandemic,

After serving in the U.S. Army during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Eric Braddock traded his Army fatigues for a chef coat and hat.

“I was a 55 Group Restaurant guy. I was the opening chef at R.J. Snapper’s in the Short North,” said Braddock.

His wife, Adrienne Novak also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and deployed overseas during the Gulf War.

“I got out of the Army. I got a job at the Lakes Country Club in Westerville,” said Novak.

That is the kitchen where these two chefs met.

“We were just great friends,” said Novak.

A quarter of a century later, they reconnected and started Eban’s Bakehouse out of their apartment in Columbus.

“I made these really good loaves of gluten-free bread. We started in our one-bedroom apartment making four loaves at a time in a kitchen-aid mixer. I’d bake all night and deliver them on my Harley the next day,” said Braddock.

A true grassroots effort to get their gluten-free baked goods into the kitchens and onto the dining table of local restaurants throughout Central Ohio.

“I’d package all the bread, and I’d package all the cookies, and our living room was basically our bakehouse,” said Novak.

As veterans, Eric and Adrienne are no strangers to perseverance. Their business has grown into a 14-thousand square foot bakery and serves colleges, hospitals, and several locations in Columbus.

“Including Cameron Mitchell restaurants here in town, they love our gluten-free dinner rolls,” said Novak.

So, it has been difficult for these chefs to witness so many of their customers struggle during the pandemic.

“We’re so grateful for all the people that support us and continue to buy from us even when times are so hard,” said Novak.

They are hoping several others follow suit with their mission during winter restaurant week.

“We were like, you know what, let’s go out every night this week and just give back,” said Braddock

“There are a lot of hungry people out in Central Ohio too, so if we can support the restaurant industry and keep those people working, hopefully, we can eliminate some of the folks out there that are struggling,” said Novak.

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