CEDAR RAPIDS — Trays of sugar cookies, pumpkin bars and cream horns sit alongside bright pink Mexican conchas cookies, mantecada muffins and piles of freshly baked bolilo and telera bread at The Bakery, newly opened on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids.
On the door, bakery is spelled out in more than a dozen languages — panaderia (Spanish), pekarna (Czech), boulangerie (French) and backerei (German), to name a few.
“We want to be ready to welcome anyone,” owner Al Farrington said.
He opened The Bakery in August as a demonstration kitchen for his family’s company, American Baking Systems, which makes and sells baking equipment to companies across North America.
At The Bakery, potential customers can try equipment for themselves before buying, similar to test driving a car. To work at top quality, however, the ovens need to run regularly, Farrington said, so it made sense to start baking their own goods as well.
“Then we thought, why not open it to the public? We can fill a need for the Hispanic community that was here,” he said.
He saw a hole in the market in The Bakery’s industrial neighborhood. There were not a lot of places to get lunch in the immediate area, and Latino community members he knew told him they wanted a place to get freshly made tortillas and baked goods.
“People in the area really wanted to have a bakery of their own,” he said. “One thing led to another.”
It also is making bread for Rock Top restaurant and slowly looking to add more wholesale accounts.
His son, Scott Farrington, who helps run the business, noted they are not making doughnuts or pie — and that’s intentional.
“It’s not our job to go against the other area bakeries. It’s our job to fill a business niche that’s not being filled,” he said. “We’re not going after Donutland, we’re not going to go after Kathy’s Pies.”
Along with baked goods, which also include European-style artisan breads, they decided to serve authentic Southern Mexican food like menudo and pozole soups, tortas and tacos.
Farrington said he’s enjoying watching people of all backgrounds come in for lunch.
“It’s been like a little community melting pot where people can get to know a little bit about each other,” he said. “We have people, 60 or 70 years old, who have never had a real street taco before. And they come in, and they try it, and they like it.”
WHERE: 4719 J St. SW, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
DETAILS: (319) 366-1915, thebakerycr.com