N7 Creamery, Cafe & Bakery
by Su Pak
Welcome to our first feature of Homegrown, a local feature showing off the best of the Inland Empire by focusing on those that are creating a product in our community that is fueled by passion. If you've been reading our blog over the years, you may have read something similar, "Local Star." We're giving it a new spin, to go with our spunky new website. Thank you for joining us on our first Homegrown feature.
I had not only the pleasure of meeting the family behind N7 Creamery, Cafe & Bakery, but also obtained a real education on life, business and hard work. I've been following N7 Creamery's progress since before they opened their doors, and had patiently followed them on Instagram for updates. I was excited at the propsect of having a farm-to-table artisanal liquid nitrogen ice cream shop, bakery and cafe in Rancho Cucamonga.
The family behind N7 Creamery followed their passion to open up a table to farm cafe, bakery, ice creamery and brunch spot at the Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. N7 Creamery was recently voted #1 coffee shop and #1 bakery in the Inland Empire by IE Hot List—All this within a year of opening their doors. How did they do it and what new adventures are on the horizon for N7?
We scheduled a photo and video shoot with the N7 Creamery family and team. Bright and early, we started the day at Augie's Coffee House in Redlands, the hometown to co-founders Andrew Bingaman and Michael Mascaro. The N7 Family was all there, and it truly is a team effort. Andrew and Michael grew up together in Redlands, CA. Andrew's parents, Brett and Jessica, are also co-founders and heavily involved in the product development and business. Meka, their marketing director, is a long-time friend of Andrew and Michael. Just from spending that morning with everyone at the video shoot, I could tell that N7 Creamery was a family affair.
The family affair is a reflection of this group's passion for bringing quality, locally sourced, all natural food to the Inland Empire. In a culture where fast and easy is often times an unhealthy choice, N7 Creamery wants to help spread the message about "good food." That mentality is reflected in their ingredients, the development of their local farm network and education efforts.
N7 Creamery sources their ingredients from local vendors. Literally, right after the video shoot, Andrew had to leave to pick up a large order of eggs from a local farmer to take to the shop, where we would catch up with him later in the afternoon. N7 Creamery has built a local network of ingredient providers that allow them to keep their menu seasonal, all natural and with quality, all while supporting our Inland Empire farmers.
After the video shoot, the Bingamans invited me to join them for lunch at the Mitten Building, across the street from Augie's. What a treat to get to know the family, eat an amazing meal and a great example of the quality and locally sourced ingredients mentality that encapsulates N7 Creamery. You see, the chef that created the lunch at the Mitten Building is the same owner and chef as the former Farm on Main St.—another farm-to-table restaurant. Farm was actually the restaurant where Andrew developed his skill and appreciation for the farm-to-table menu and business.
Andrew's parents whole-heartedly believe in the value of locally sourced, quality ingredients. Over lunch, we discussed how with their effort they hope to introduce quality ingredients to families in the Inland Empire while revitalize the roots of our agriculture industry. Brett was so passionate about it, he insisted we take a drive out to a farm in Highland. This was an unscheduled stop, but, BOY, it was worth it! He called up the farmer, and we were on our way to an unexpected and delightful detour.
I arrived at Claire Family Farms in Highland. Farmer Calvin, the owner and farmer met us there and walked us through his farm. This retired local fireman and his family grow organic fruits and vegetables, like pumpkins and other produce, that go directly into N7’s seasonal ice cream and other items and for other local businesses.
Brett also explained to me the strength of clean soil and how all the ingredients start right there—from the soil. He continued to draw a picture, for me, of the plans he and Calvin have for the farm and working with local school districts to educate students about the basics of food and where it comes from.
I don't want to give away all their secrets and upcoming plans, but let's just say that many people will greatly benefit from their passion and effort to provide quality food to the Inland Empire. Let's just say thank you, in advance, and always remember that all quality ingredients start with good soil.
Our last destination for the day was N7 Creamery Cafe & Bakery—the culmination of all their passions. This is where I got a real chance to discuss the business logistics required to execute such an undertaking as starting a new business. By good fortune, every one of the N7 Creamery team brings a different skill-set to the table. Their complimentary talents are what fuels N7 Creamery. Amongst all of them there is restaurant, business, sourcing, marketing, networking, leadership experience that has brought to fruition N7 Creamery, Bakery & Café.
Brett and Jessica shared with me the ins and outs of working with a city to open a business. We discussed how some cities in the Inland Empire make it easier for new businesses to open, while others could be more streamlined. We discussed the importance of marketing and spreading their story to those that will listen, early and often. And, let’s face it, why wouldn't you want to hear about how food, made from clean soil and from the bare hands of local farmers into a hand crafted ice cream or pastry? Doesn't it already make you want to hear more?
Thank you to the N7 Creamery family for spending the day with IEShineOn.com and sharing their story with us. It was an unforgettable day. Also, thank you to the talented marketing team that helped provide our photos and videos: Videos ATBP and DevonVP Photography.
Check out our video interviews with Brett and Jessica Bingaman to learn about the inspiration and passion behind N7 Creamery. Click here or on the video.