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Spanish music fills the cozy cafe as customers enjoy sweet confections made with the best local natural ingredients. Sweet 27, blocks away from John Hopkins University, is home of sweet confections made free of gluten, soy, milk and other common allergens.

Sweet 27 staff pride themselves on a delicious menu that offers affordable allergen-free options, but most customers that dine here don’t suffer from a food allergy. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in the small orange café and sell over 1,500 cupcakes per week.

Behind the glass window cupcakes are lined up ranging in flavors from Vanilla Birthday Cake to Chocolate Cheesecake. Richard D’Souza, owner and chef of Sweet 27, says this business all started by chance.

“I’ve been in this business for about 26 years and it all started with me working on ships overseas in Italy and London, D’Souza said. “When I came to America, I decided to work in restaurants and after a while I wanted to make one of my own.”

Sweet 27 has been open for eight years and its sister restaurant located next door, Meet 27, has been open for three years. Those suffering from food allergies, specifically Celiac Disease, visit the sweet shop for a chance to break away from the strict dieting.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Celiac Disease is a digestive condition triggered by the consumption of gluten. Gluten is primarily found in breads, pasta, cookies and baked goods. Sweet 27 is such a hit because it’s difficult to find food gluten-free.

“As Baltimore is changing we are getting more customers. 20-25% of our customers suffer from Celiac Disease, just as my wife does,” D’Souza said. “We are getting a chance to promote awareness and healthy eating in Baltimore.”

When D’Souza came to the states over 25 years ago, he didn’t imagine the impact he would make in Baltimore.

Sweet 27 is known for German chocolate and carrot cupcakes, but coming for lunch is a special treat

“I’ve been coming here for about three and a half years,” Zachary Michel, 26, graduate of UMBC said. “I like to have my meetings here because it’s a great place to go with fantastic tasting food. My favorite cupcake has to be the carrot cupcake and my favorite lunch option is the vegetarian tacos.”

Tacos, vegan-style or with meat, are just a couple of options Sweet 27 offers for lunch.  It also offers dairy free pizzas, mango BBQ chicken, chicken parmigiana, and goat curry to name a few.

“There is a lot of stuff here. I’m buying for an event that I’m having this evening and it’s come to my attention that everyone is vegan and eats gluten-free,” Baltimore native Ambika R said. “So, I typed gluten-free and Baltimore on Google and found Sweet 27. Today I’ll be buying the gluten-free cupcakes and if it’s good I’ll definitely be back.”

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