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Chew on This: Kathy's Pies taking over Kettel House Bakery & Cafe

Geri Rhomberg of Cedar Rapids slides a fruit-filled pie onto a rack at Kathy's Pies in Cedar Rapids on March 6, 2019. (L
Geri Rhomberg of Cedar Rapids slides a fruit-filled pie onto a rack at Kathy’s Pies in Cedar Rapids on March 6, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The owner of Kathy’s Pies has bought Marion business Kettel House Bakery & Cafe.

Kettel House owner Cindy Kettelkamp put the Uptown Marion business, 945 Sixth Ave., up for sale in October, telling The Gazette she hoped to find someone willing to keep it going. Amy Jordan said she wants to do just that.

Jordan is making buying bakeries something of a habit. She purchased Kathy’s Pies, at 616 Fifth Ave. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids, almost a year ago, on Feb. 1, 2019, taking over from longtime owners Kathy McCauley and Terri Henecke.

“The community has been very supportive,” Jordan said. “Our business has increased a little bit, which is good.”

She said one thing she has noticed over her first year in business has been how many people come in asking to buy a single slice of pie. But the Cedar Rapids storefront is small, with no room for tables and chairs to provide a place to enjoy that slice. She said she also fields a lot of inquiries from people in Marion who want to buy Kathy’s Pies but don’t want to drive to downtown Cedar Rapids. So she started looking for a way to expand into the northern part of the Corridor. When Kettel House went on the market, it caught her eye.

“It’s a great location, and it seems like a great fit,” she said. “They have a kind of homey set up ... it’s kind of like Grandma’s house. That’s kind of what our vision was.”

She said she will offer pie by the slice at the Kettel House and will sell additional baked items, including gluten free items, from Kettel House’s menu in the Cedar Rapids store. She stressed that it won’t be certified gluten free for people with Celiac disease, as potential cross-contamination is difficult to control in a small bakery setting.

She said the transition for Kettel House has been smooth; all the staff have stayed on, and she isn’t planning any closures. She plans to keep the menu the same for now, with the potential to expand hours and add things like milkshakes.

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“We would like to eventually do a ‘sweetery’ type of place. It’s a term I think we made up,” she said. “Kind of a family place, with ice cream cones and milkshakes. A place focused on sweets, whether that’s pies or bars or cookies or milkshakes.”

Next up: a possible third location to the south.

“We hope to be somewhere in the Iowa City or Coralville area by the end of the year,” she said. “As soon as you leave Cedar Rapids, people don’t know our name in Iowa City. There are two places that sell our pies in Iowa City. We would like to expand that direction.”

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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