Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

'Fire in the Hole', 'Rootin' Tootin' are favorites at this cafe

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 12/08/2011 8:50 AM

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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Lance Wells and his wife, Lisa Paradise, offer traditional and out of the box pastries and lunch specials at The City Bakery in Fergus Falls.

The "Fire in the Hole" bismarck and savory beef stew served in the bakery's bread bowl are among the favorites.

Wells is the chef and uses his culinary knowledge of spices and flavor. The bakery's blue plate specials are popular with the lunch crowd. For $6, customers receive a tasty, filling meal and beverage. A different meal is featured every day. Open face roast pork loin sandwiches are served on Monday and lasagna on Tuesdays. Wednesday's feature is turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. Thursdays feature roast chicken breast served with the bakery's famous dressing and gravy is highlighted. Beef stew and bread bowl rounds out the week.

The City Bakery's signature sandwiches include The Nutty Bird — made with two slices of honey grain bread smeared with cream cheese walnut cranberry spread and filled with sliced turkey and sprouts.

Their Rootin' Tootin' is a hit with patrons. Ham and Swiss Cheese with an onion aoli between slices of root beer rye bread.

A whole sandwich is $4.50; a half sandwich or cup of soup is $2.95; and bowl of soup is $3.75.

Baking is Paradise's department. She offers more than eight different pastries and doughnuts.The fire in the whole is popular.

"It is not terribly spicy but the interesting thing is if you eat it right side up, you get one kind of taste and, if you eat it upside-down so the chili powder hits your tongue first, you get a more spicy flavor," Paradise said.

Other treats include peanut butter cup bismarcks, cranberry orange scones, peach and raspberry cream cheese crispies, caramel mocha long johns and cake pops.

The only white bread baked is sourdough, Paradise said. She bakes hearty honey grain, wild rice bread and the Rootin' Tootin' root beer rye.

Together they have 65-plus years of food service experience, Paradise said. They worked for 20 years in eastern Washington state, but they wanted to move closer to family in the Midwest.

The two purchased The City Bakery a year ago. Its previous owners, Tom and Pam Goebel wanted to sell due to health concerns. They were willing to train the new owners but feared, if they couldn't sell it, new buyers might gut the building and end the 80-year-old bakery.

Some of Tom's signature breads remain bakery customers' favorites.

"We like being the shepherds of this business," Paradise said. "We purchased a house that has long been part of the community and this business has a great history on Main Street. We feel we are caretakers of both while we are here. People will come in and tell us how they remember coming here with their parents. It's great being part of that heritage and continuing the tradition of putting out a great product for our customers."