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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

The S&B reviews Grin City Bakery

Left to right: Anneliese Stattelman, Eyerusalem Desta, Wini Austin, and Abraham Teuber pose outside of Grin City. Bakery. Contributed photo.

This past summer, Grin City Bakery fired up its ovens and rolled out its dough for its grand opening in downtown Grinnell. Grin City is owned and operated by Bill and Andy Molison, a father-son duo with long-time roots in the town. Bill handles the business and community end of the operation, while Andy takes the role of kitchen mastermind. In just a few months, the new bakery has already stirred up quite a following. So, on a bright and windy Tuesday morning, some of our staff headed over from campus to see what all the fuss was about.

Located on the corner of 5th Avenue and Main Street, Grin City Bakery charmed us at first sight. From the rustic rocking chairs outside, to the wooden countertops and cozy decor, the outdoorsy-yet-cheerful interior feels right at home in downtown Grinnell. As we walked in, a large display case tempted us with an abundance of mouth-watering donuts, and an open kitchen revealed where all the baking magic happens. It smelled divine.

Co-owner Andy kindly assisted us as we struggled to decide what to order. We each purchased one item to share: a maple bar for Abraham, a classic glazed donut for Anneliese, an apple fritter for Eyerusalem and an intriguingly-named “Coney” for Wini.

While devouring the sweet treats, we scrawled our immediate reactions on scraps of paper haphazardly torn out of Wini’s notebook. Pastries in one hand and a pen in the other, the flavors transformed from sensations to reflections: “Divine,” “Amazing,” “What I’ve looked for in every dessert all my life.”

Our initial musings may not have been eloquent, but our trip to Grin City Bakery was a reminder that food—much like life—doesn’t need to be complicated to be perfect. On our walk back to campus, the baked goods digesting in our stomachs fueled our analysis of each sweet treat.

How would we describe the maple bar? Immaculate. It only takes one bite into this delicacy to show that it is a smart baked good, not at all overwhelming in its sweetness. Its maple frosting is a perfect match for the approaching autumnal crispness in the air. The classic glazed donut was perfectly golden brown, and objectively beautiful upon appearance. It was soft and sweet with just the right amount of sponginess.

A bite into Grin City’s Coney elicits a feeling of joy we never thought a baked good could provide. The fluffy cream inside this deliciously crispy donut hits the sweet spot somewhere in between frosting and whipped cream. Topped with your choice of either vanilla or chocolate frosting, indulging in this whimsical treat is a sure way to start your morning off right.

“I’ve never had dessert as good as this,” Eyerusalem professed after falling in love with Grin City’s apple fritter. “The crunch is amazing. It doesn’t get mushy like other apple fritters I’ve had.”

The fritter also moved Abraham.

“I feel an immense tenderness for this pastry,” he said.

While gorging ourselves with donuts, we talked with Bill Molison about the bakery’s beginnings. He could hardly get a word in edgewise, though, as townspeople kept stopping to catch up with him. One young woman approached, looking relieved to find the bakery was still open. “Usually I have to come early or nothing’s left,” she said. Clearly, Grin City’s treats are in high demand.

The Molisons are seeking to replicate – but not imitate – legendary bakeries of Grinnell’s past, such as the Danish Maid. As Bill Molison explained, they identified the need for a bakery in Grinnell, and after months of research and preparation, opened the doors to the community this summer. In line with an old tradition of the Danish Maid, Molison hinted that students might be able to pop by for a late-night, freshly baked donut sometime in the near future. One thing we concluded to be certain, though: Grin City Bakery is definitely something to smile about.

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