STORY BY GIOVANNA ZAVELL
“It was between doing this or being a journalist,” Katy Nelson said. “I didn’t want to be stuck at a desk all day, so it was obvious that I belonged in the kitchen,” she said as she scooped dough and lined them perfectly on a baking tray.
Katy Nelson, alongside her father, Mark Nelson, dreamed of opening a bakery a decade ago. They made this dreams come true when they opened Scenic Route Bakery five weeks ago.
Katy Nelson was stationed at a long wooden table in the back kitchen surrounded by metal shelves stacked high with ingredients. On the opposite side of the table stood giant tubs of flour and sugar.
When walking into Scenic Route, customers’ eyes are immediately drawn to the dessert cooler that is home to trays of scrumptious sweets: croissants, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, scones, blondies, sticky buns and cinnamon rolls, their most popular option. The bakery also serves breakfast and lunch options.
“I found out I loved baking in high school while taking a foods class,” Katy Nelson said. “I was 14 then, and by 20, I was managing cafes and found I really enjoy managing.”
Katy Nelson studied at the Iowa Culinary Institute and continued her studies at The French Pastry School in Chicago, where she pursued her passion for pastry.
Nelson worked as a pastry chef for five years and then moved to Seattle to continue her work.
“Iowa holds a special place in my heart,” Katy Nelson said. “I grew up in Ames and decided to return home to pursue my dream with my father.”
The idea behind the name came from Nelson’s love for biking. Both are avid bikers and wanted to display and share that passion in their new bakery.
“It’s all about slowing down and enjoying the beauty of what’s around you,” Katy Nelson said. “I’m a big lover of the beauty of the sun touching the horizon, and I think that helped shape our name.”
With the aroma of coffee in the air, clients sit at wooden tables, and businessmen and women discuss their plans for the night or what was accomplished at work that day. Young adults from the surrounding area gather for a sweet treat or a college student’s lifeline, coffee.
“The bakery has a rustic yet modern feel. There’s many antiques, but with the way they are set up with clean cut lines, it gives them a more modern look,” first year Brianna Bauer said. “It’s also a great environment for studying because of all the natural light coming through the windows and large tables.”
When asked what her favorite sweet is, Katy Nelson responded with monkey bread.
“We make all of our laminated dough in house and it’s very buttery and flaky,” Katy Nelson said. “This dough is used for making our cinnamon rolls and croissants. Most bakeries cut off the edges of the dough and only serve it to their employees. But, we sell our monkey dough and its buttered and rolled in sugar. It’s awesome.”
Scenic Route barista Mettima Surbeqsu said his favorite treat is the bakery’s blondies.
“It’s so sweet and yummy, I don’t know how else to describe it,” Surbeqsu said. “I was really excited when I found out I landed the job at the bakery and have been an employee here since they opened. I saw the advertisement in Craigslist and thought, well, it’s food, working with food is amazing. Plus, Katy and Mark are awesome and make for a fun environment.”
“Right now, we are working on starting our catering business,” K. Nelson said. “We would be serving continental breakfasts for local businesses who may be having morning meetings, and then of course other events.”
Make sure to stop in to Scenic Route Bakery located at 350 East Locust Street #104 in East Village of Des Moines and check out their delicious bakery treats.