Saturday, August 13, 2022

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Slow down and enjoy the view at Scenic Route Bakery


When the first warm days of spring appear and give us hope that “the longest winter ever” is finally coming to an end, the roads and sidewalks are filled with runners, joggers, walkers and cyclists who have been itching to hit the pavement. And where better to watch all that action than the Scenic Route Bakery with its bike memorabilia and walls of windows on the corner of East Locust downtown.

The owners of Scenic Route Bakery encourage customers to take time to slow down and enjoy the present.

The owners of Scenic Route Bakery encourage customers to take time to slow down and enjoy the present.

Scenic Route is the product of a creative father-daughter duo from Ames. Katy Nelson and her father, Mark Nelson, share a passion for hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit and a mentality of slowing down to experience all that life has to offer.

Spring and summer tend to be seasons of fast-paced activities. Parents try to jam in as many trips as possible before school starts up again, couples scramble to finish every detail before their summer weddings, and a general sense of “go-go-go” sets in as people try to not miss a moment of summer fun.

But the Nelson family wants to remind all of us to slow down and take time to really enjoy each moment, not just to fit in as many as possible. You can feel that mentality as soon as you walk into Scenic Route; its calm, bright atmosphere creates a sense of relaxation, even during a busy lunch hour.

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Concrete floors, white walls and rustic décor give Scenic Route a contemporary-eclectic appearance that somehow just makes you want to sit back and sip your drink — either of the coffee or alcoholic variety — while reading a book or conversing with a date.

Or even while watching all the action outside the windows — it is called Scenic Route Bakery after all. Floor-to-ceiling windows let the sunlight pour in while allowing guests to watch the walkers, joggers and cyclists moving outside.

Part bakery, part deli, Scenic Route is a great place to start and end the day. The bakery counter displays a wide selection of pastries and other baked goods, while the menu on the wall has a short list of soups, salads and both hot and cold sandwiches.

Coffee drinks are served all day, but there is also a small beer and wine menu. You won’t find a happy hour here — it is still a bakery — and the offerings are a bit more expensive than you’ll find at some happy hours, but this locale offers a place to enjoy a quiet drink away from the regular happy hour crowds at bigger establishments.

Depending on the day, happy hour might call for strong drinks at a loud bar with dozens of people crowded around you. But when you need a quiet place to go and time to reflect on the week, Scenic Route can be the best escape because you can order a New Belgium Fat Tire or a glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling, find a table near the windows and watch the cars go by. It may not be a grand adventure, but it might just lead you to it.

Slow down. Enjoy the moment. CV


350 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Mon. – Sat. 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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