River to River Bakery & Pizza, formerly known as Brick Street Bakery in Adel, has gone through multiple changes to highlight its new identity.
In 2016, Brick Street Bakery opened to meet the growing demand for baked goods and pastries from Brick Street Books and Café.
“The bakery has become its own thing and we wanted a way to distinguish between the two locations,” Raccoon Forks Microbusinesses coordinator Andrew Bassman said. “We also wanted to distinguish ourselves from other businesses in Adel with the Brick Street name.”
The new name is a nod to the old River to River Road that created the first direct route from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, greatly contributing to the good roads movement in Iowa. The route ran through Adel, along Main Street and the courthouse square.
River to River Bakery & Pizza is a Raccoon Forks Microbusiness, owned and operated by Optimae LifeServices. Raccoon Forks Microbusinesses are a group of small businesses located throughout Central Iowa that provide job opportunities and job training to intellectually disabled individuals and others with barriers to employment.
“River to River is also a tip of the hat to the Raccoon Forks Microbusinesses’ name, headquartered near where the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers meet in Des Moines,” Bassman said.
The pandemic gave them the opportunity to step back and reevaluate the bakery’s operation. They started making bagels and purchased a new oven to make pizza. They also rearranged the kitchen and dining room to make it more inviting to customers. A handful of their recipes were switched from pre-made products to those made from scratch, allowing them to lower the prices of some of their products. There is also a large patio for outdoor dining with a view of the courthouse square as well as booths in the dining room to accommodate bigger groups.
The previous menu catered toward breakfast and dessert and the management team wanted to fully utilize their space, thus looking for ways to stay open through lunch and into the evening.
“When the pandemic hit and the pace slowed, we thought we could use the slowdown in action to carve out the time to establish the pizza operation,” Bassman said. “We also did not see too many other pizza places in Adel and thought we might have a chance to meet a need in the community.”
They are planning to open in the evenings/weekends to sell pizza, currently only selling pizza over the lunch hour and during the week. Since pizza will be a major part of their business operation, they wanted to include it in the new name.
“Most of our management team started out working in the same pizza place a couple of decades ago,” Bassman said. “We are passionate about pizza and launching a pizza operation has been in the back of our minds for a long time. Our pizza is excellent. Come get a slice!”
A separate bakery menu is offered, including scratch breads, pies, cookies, donuts and more. They also roast their own coffee at Raccoon Forks Foods in Ames and try to roast it just for the week ahead. Bassman said they grind it right before it is brewed to bring the freshest cup of coffee possible.
“We make fresh, made from scratch products every day of the week and offer something for everyone at very good prices,” he said.
They also saw a need in the community for bagels and already had most of the ingredients/equipment on hand. The bagels provide a complement to the mostly sweet items they serve.
“Making bagels from scratch is a process with a lot of steps,” Bassman said. “We really enjoyed the challenge of working through it and finding what worked for us and coming up with our very own thing.”
For more information, visit raccoonforks.com/rivertoriverbakery. To place an order, arrive in-store, call 515-478-1187, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message them on Facebook.
“We love to eat good food,” Bassman said. “We make food we like to eat and hope you will like to eat, too. And hopefully, we do a little good while we are at it.”
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