The Sweet Life


The Captain

Dana Sicko Gundalow Juice

Whether you’re a juicing fanatic or a skeptic of the healthy lifestyle fad, Dana Sicko vows to woo you with her bright and beautifully packaged Gundalow Juice, the first small-batch wholesale cold press juice company in Maryland.

“I’m a big believer that all ships rise with the tide,” says Sicko, the nautical pun-loving CEO and founder of Gundalow, which is a historic New England vessel boat. “My goal with our juices is first and foremost to focus on flavor.”

Sicko, 26, says Gundalow Juice, which launched in 2014, was actually in the works long before she founded Nutreatious in 2011, her personal chef service based in Hunt Valley. She’d always wanted to make healthy food products that didn’t solely emphasize the healthy aspect. In other words, she’s not trying to replicate the BluePrintCleanse craze where folks detox solely on juice for a few days.

The Gundalow crew unpacks for a day of juicemaking magic, including the new Mainstay Green flavor made with apples, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger.
The Gundalow crew unpacks for a day of juicemaking magic, including the new Mainstay Green flavor made with apples, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger.

“I wanted to make juice that someone like my dad who’s not a health-focused guy might pick up,” she says. “Our juice is definitely approachable. You can drink it just because you like it—and get the health benefits by default.”

Born and raised in South Baltimore, Sicko takes pride in her Charm City-themed juices that include “The Hon” (blackberry, honeydew, lemon, ginger and pineapple) and “The Oriole” (pineapple, strawberry and lime). But she’s even more proud of her all-women team, which she dubs her “Gundalow Girls,” who work tirelessly and efficiently at the hands-on process in their Federal Hill headquarters.

“It’s pretty magical, our ingredients go from being complete fruits and vegetables to being bottled in just about seven minutes,” she says. “We work in a little 10-by-10 room together—and it’s the most organized chaos you’ve ever seen.”

The challenge is that the 1,300 juices her team makes weekly have to be driven to New Jersey to be processed in a hyperbaric pressure chamber, which kills off any possible bacteria while still maintaining the vitamins and minerals, due to Maryland Health Department regulations for wholesaling. “You kind of have to laugh at the irony of it—it takes seven hours roundtrip for a 120-second process,” Sicko says.

While the juices are currently sold for pickup, delivery and at fitness centers including The MAC, Sunlight & Yoga and BeachFit Baltimore, Sicko would love to eventually see her product on shelves in Graul’s, Eddie’s and Whole Foods—but for now she’s delighted by Gundalow’s small but sweet progress. “It’s been cool to get to know people and make an impact in the fitness community, rather than just competing for shelf space where no one knows our story.”

Krystal Mack
Krystal Mack

The Cool Girl

Krystal Mack
KarmaPop ICE POPS | PieCycle Hand Pies

A year ago, Krystal Mack made her dream of KarmaPop—a mobile, vegan, urban farm-to-stick ice pop pop-up shop—a reality with the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

Her Soaring Sorrel pop has a coconut milk base with organic sorrel from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Aquaponics Project (plus, a bit of citrus and honey).
Her Soaring Sorrel pop has a coconut milk base with organic sorrel from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Aquaponics Project (plus, a bit of citrus and honey).

“$7,000 is such a lofty goal to set for yourself,” says Mack, 30, who was surprised by how enthusiastically her funding needs were met. “A lot of funders were people I didn’t even know, which was crazy to me.” Her Kickstarter fans also gave her the idea to soon after launch her year-round sister project PieCycle, a mobile small-batch pie and cookie bakery.

A former esthetician for six years, Mack would bake treats for her customers, who encouraged her to get into the food industry. After gigs at Le Garage and the Kinderhook snack company in Baltimore, she realized she wanted to start her own venture with her own food ideology.

“I work full-time on Real Food Farm in Clifton Park, which gives me a more well-rounded food experience, knowing where my food comes from and how I can introduce that to people,” she says. “I don’t know very many ice cream vendors that source local herbs and fruits and state that.”

Look for Mack’s giant tricycle all over Baltimore, including regular stops at Trohv, Union Graze and The Exchange, so you can sample her funky ice pop flavors like Holy Basil & Chocolate Mint, Avocado Matcha and Malted Vanilla with Candied Mushroom. Her vegan pastries—including energy truffles made with rolled oats and dates, and a raw apple baklava with cashew crust—are also sold at Grind House Café and Juice Bar in Charles Village.

Mack says her sweet tooth is what first prompted her to start experimenting with healthy choices, but sometimes it still gets the best of her.

“Milkshakes are my thing. I love the boozy ones from Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill,” she says. “A milkshake with some whiskey in it and I’m good to go. It’s totally the opposite of everything I sell.”

Ben and Cam McDonald
Ben and Cam McDonald

The Bromance

Ben and Cam McDonald
Butter Brothers

If you stopped by Bonjour French Bakery’s table at the Emporiyum back in April, you were probably offered a trendy box of colorful macaroons and a colossal, scrumptious butter bun. (I devoured mine and it was life-changing.) Brothers Ben and Cam McDonald showcased the
muffin-shaped croissant-cinnamon bun hybrid as the signature product of Butter Brothers, their brand new pop-up concept which is an offshoot of the famed Falls Road bakery helmed by their grandfather Gerard Billebault.

The current goal: turning this test concept into a full-fledged, flaky dessert pop-up shop that will roam all around town, once they have the time to craft the business plan. Can you imagine? Complex carbs magically appearing outside your office or front door?

“One thing that will distinguish us apart from the Bonjour is that we’re taking traditional French concepts and adapting them to our palates and tweaking them to make something new,” says Ben, 24, who ditched his original plans for a career in real estate development to apprentice with his grandfather at the family-run bakery for more than a year. Billebault, a third-generation Parisian pastry chef and baker, has shared his craft with his grandchildren since they were kids.

“A big part of the motivation behind this venture was that our grandparents are getting older and at some point, they’ll want to step away from running the shop. It’s been such an integral part of our family life,” says Cam, 22, who is studying entrepreneurship at UMBC. “Growing up we both wanted to do something different than sitting at a desk 9 to 5. To be able to put the entrepreneurial skills I’m learning to work while Ben does what he loves to do has been really cool. We complement each other and maximize our strengths.”

Sure, the bros occasionally butts heads as you’d expect when working together side-by-side every day. But they believe their past experience with sibling rivalry makes them even better business partners.

“Our experience growing up together and fighting the way we did trained us for moments of disagreement and friction,” explains Cam. “We’ve been able to maintain a balanced professional relationship while staying close as brothers and as friends.” 6070 Falls Road, 410-900-5650,

Megon Dee of Corazon Cakery
Megon Dee of Corazon Cakery

The Icing Queen

Megon Dee
Corazon Cakery

Megon Dee has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. So when she lost her job as a waitress due to pregnancy discrimination, she tapped into her resources and decided to pursue her passion: Baking. Four years later, thanks mostly to word of mouth, the 30-year-old mom is the force behind some of Smalltimore’s most creative artisanal desserts at Corazon Cakery in Pigtown.

Corazon, which means “heart” in Spanish, is dedicated to Dee’s grandmother, Maude, who was a baker for Andrews Air Force Base, and is also the middle name of her son, Mateo.

While Dee’s intricate custom-designed cakes and cupcakes are enticing enough—we’re obsessed with a luxe fashion brands-inspired cake she recently made, complete with an edible Christian Louboutin shoe—her penchant for using out-of-the-box ingredients is what makes Corazon even more unique.
“My background in baking comes from a lot of personal intolerances I have. The healthier the ingredient, the easier,” says Dee, who lists rice flour, quinoa, agave nectar and coconut balsamic vinaigrette as some of her faves. “I will try everything.”

Corazon Cakery
Corazon cupcakes sneak in healthy ingredients like quinoa, coconut balsamic vinaigrette and agave syrup.

Dee’s passion shines through in every element of her business, but it’s partnering with her customers (and seeing their reactions to her creations) that she considers the biggest perk. “It’s amazing when someone wants to express how they feel about a significant other and we work together to create the perfect [representation] of that relationship,” she says. “I found that I’m truly in the business of love.”

While Dee hopes to expand her City Arts building headquarters to a storefront and add a food truck down the road, her immediate focus is her egg- and dairy-free cookie dough (flavors include classic chocolate chip and white chocolate cherry macadamia), which she sells under the JFX at the Baltimore Farmers Market & Bazaar. She’s also developing the Corazon Culinary Project, which aims to provide underprivileged youth with employment opportunities and the experience of learning business management skills and pastry art. 440 E. Oliver St., 443-990-1090,

Renee and Don Gorman
Renee and Don Gorman

The Healthy Hippies

Renee and Don Gorman
Harmony Bakery

Restaurant-biz veterans and wife-husband duo Renee and Don Gorman first became acquainted with sourcing food locally in the ’70s when they apprenticed for a Japanese macrobiotic chef at the Seventh Inn in Boston. Some decades later, Renee, 70, and Don, 75, have stuck to that principle—they ran the Pikesville health food restaurant Puffins for 20 years and have sold their locally sourced treats at the 32nd Street Farmers Market for 10.

Their latest locale is Harmony Bakery, a small gluten-free shop they opened in Hampden this past April, which Don says was a great solution to attracting those with celiac disease, health nuts and those curious about the ever-popular gluten-free diet fad.

“A lot of customers we get who aren’t gluten-free are into meditation, yoga and working out,” says Don. “I guess it goes hand in hand with people who are more conscious about every other aspect of their life.”

Renee and Don Gorman
Gluten Free Goodies

Forget sugar, eggs and butter: Harmony’s vegan dessert fare has already become a huge hit with the diverse Hampden crowd, consisting of gluten-free doughnuts, cupcakes and power bars with ingredients like brown rice syrup and agave. Those searching for savory cuisine won’t want to miss out on staples like vegetable tarts and polenta pizza.

The tranquil couple also lucked out with keeping the love of healthy food in the family. Their daughter, Lisa, who contributes to a third of the cooking at Harmony, has been helping them out since she was 14. “This is our passion and we love working together as a family,” says Renee.

The two couldn’t imagine running a business with anybody else.

“We all work and get along so well,” says Don. “It’s nonverbal communication in that we never have to discuss who does what. We just know.” 3446 Chestnut Ave., 410-235-3870

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