Former "Blue Bloods" star Jennifer Esposito is embracing her latest role: a bakery owner in New York City.
The 40-year-old actress recently opened the gluten-free bakery "Jennifer's Way" in Manhattan’s East Village, the latest step in her own personal efforts to battle celiac disease.
Back in October
, Esposito had a very public falling out with CBS, after accusing the network of writing her off "Blue Bloods" due to her health issues with celiac disease. The autoimmune disease is triggered by the consumption of gluten (found in nearly all bread and pasta products) and can lead to severe abdominal pain and life-threatening vitamin deficiencies.
“CBS PUT me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac,” she wrote. “CBS didn’t listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise! It’s been almost two months without bringing me back to work + keeping Me from working anywhere else!… Absolutely shameful behavior.”
Taking a break from her acting career, Esposito says her new bakery is an opportunity to provide real options for those suffering from gluten allergies or looking to avoid the substance altogether.
"I created Jennifer’s Way as an answer to all that — to be the Celiac Standard, requiring only the purest, healthiest, organic, non GMO ingredients I could find," she writes on the site. "All made in this gluten free facility in small batches to ensure quality, nutrition and taste! For the celiac, the gluten challenged and anyone who wants to live a healthier life.
"Food should be ENJOYED, not feared!" she adds.
Early reviews on Jennifer's Way from foodies are overwhelmingly positive, with one even giving credit to Esposito for just being there.
"The bakery itself is super cute and cozy
with a big table off to the side," says the gluten-free site MisterBelly. "We walked in and immediately noticed that Jennifer was sitting there catching up on business and making plans to get the word out about her bakery with her team. I have to give her kudos for being truly involved with her bakery instead of just passing it off to someone else to deal with like so many celebrities tend to do."
"Gluten-free CAN be delicious
, and this bakery does it just right!," writes another on Yelp! "They are a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for: quality and a healthy choice."
Interested? Hit up the full menu
and learn more about Esposito's battle with celiac disease on the bakery's official site.