Grand opening set Saturday for Center Street Café and Bakery in Union

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Center Street Café and Bakery employees Helen Jelke (left), Nebita David (second from left) and Connie Lepley (right) pose with owner Jamie Stoner in front of the new restaurant in Union. A grand opening celebration for the new business will be held Oct. 6 from 2-4 p.m. with specials throughout the day.

UNION – Grand opening festivities have been set for this coming Saturday for one of the area’s newest bakery and cafes in Union.

After sitting empty for some three years after the Union Supper Club closed in 2015, Grundy Center native Jamie Stoner purchased the building in Union, moved his and some of his fiancé’s family back to the area from Hawaii and opened Center Street Café and Bakery this August.

Stoner said the grand opening celebration is set for Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Samples of the bakery items sold and used in the café on a regular basis will be available for tasting and prizes will be given away in drawings.

After looking at other restaurants that were up for sale in Iowa, Stoner said he put a bid in on the Union Supper Club and it was accepted. The deal was closed on Feb. 28 and the family moved back to the area on March 12. The new café and bakery officially opened for business on Aug. 29.

“I had lived on the big island of Hawaii for six years and it was fun while it lasted, but I was ready to get back closer to family. My fiancé has a sister in Ottumwa and we also have relatives in Waterloo and Marshalltown,” Stoner said. “The cost of living is much cheaper here and there are more opportunities and better healthcare and educational opportunities. We have several family members who came back to go to school at BCLUW and plan to go to college here as well, and have another nephew coming in a couple weeks to attend BCLUW and help here in the café.”

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIENDCenter Street Café and Bakery offers a variety of breads.

Stoner listed several things that makes his business unique and appealing to his customers. One is the fresh donuts, cinnamon rolls, scones, buns and breads that are baked daily. Another is fresh coffee – featured daily in the café and roasted on-site.

“People can buy the fresh coffee beans or have them ground in the store. It is always roasted when they order to assure its freshness,” Stoner said.

In addition, the business carries Hansen’s Dairy products from Hudson for sale and will soon be featuring hand dipped ice cream in several flavors.

The café features a daily lunch special and an evening dinner special daily. The Friday night special is fish – alternating between catfish and walleye on an every-other-week basis. Saturday night is barbecued ribs. A fresh salad bar with homemade salads and dressings is served with every dinner special.

“We tell people to come early as the last two weekends we have ran out of the specials,” Stoner said. “We have had great support from the area townspeople and have heard many comments on how good it is to have a restaurant back in town to bring life back to the community.”

The building is conducive for large gatherings and private parties and Stoner said that reservations are always accepted. He said that reservations are currently coming in for company Christmas parties.

If there were one or two words that Stoner would use to describe the new operation they would be “homemade” and “fresh.”

“We serve the best and freshest homemade food at reasonable prices. Quality in serving our customers and community is what we strive for,” Stoner said.

Center Street Café and Bakery is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily Specials are posted on their Facebook page at Center Street Café and Bakery.