When Lolita Baker and her daughters, Tina Kress and Tammy Stolffers, decided to buy the Breadman Bakery and Cafe in Blue Grass, Iowa, they took a hard look at the cost of labor and the menu items.
They decided the best way to keep prices down for their customers would be for the three of them to do most of the work at the bakery and restaurant. Baker handles the accounting, Kress bakes all of the bread, pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls, and Stolffers handles all of the restaurant orders. The owners even take on the "KP" duties so they can keep their overhead low.
The women work five to six days a week, but the result is that the most expensive item on the menu is their omelets at $6.50. The omelets are plate-sized and filled with vegetables and meat, served with a side of hash browns and toast made from Breadman's oversized loaves.
Alan King of Davenport likes everything on the menu, but especially the omelets. While he manages to eat the whole thing in one sitting, he admits that most people would be able to take half of it home to have for dinner the same night.
"If they do go away hungry, they're either an awful big eater or they didn't order enough," he said.
He also enjoys the bread that is baked fresh daily at the restaurant. Most loaves are $3.25 to $4, but they are about twice as high as a standard loaf from the grocery store. King has even special-ordered rhubarb bread, which the owners made from rhubarb grown in their own garden.
"You know a lot of people don't bake anymore," he said. "And of course my grandmas are gone and they were the bakers and you don't get fresh bread anymore. It's kind of nice just to have fresh bread."
Breadman Bakery and Cafe also carries a display case full of pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls. Pie is $2 per slice. The cookies, which are 5 to 6 inches in diameter, cost 75 cents each, or $7.50 for a dozen. Kress makes three dozen daily and sells out the supply almost every day. The business also features cinnamon rolls that measure 6 inches in diameter for $2 or $2.25 for a filled roll.
"You'll definitely get your money's worth," Stolffers said. "They (customers) usually say they have to go home and take a nap. We're happy with that because it means we did our job."