By Rachel Semjenow
With the scent of cinnamon rolls and fresh baked cookies floating through the air, Christina Devaney, a sophomore at Kansas State University, waited at The Bakery for a few old high school friends to gather so they could reconnect.
“I no longer live in the dorms, so now it is a special treat to come back to The Bakery,” Devaney said. “I can’t stay away for too long.”
Near four residence halls, The Bakery is located inside the Derby Dining Center on the K-State campus, but is open to the public. It offers traditional bakery treats such as fudge brownies, Rice Krispie treats and fresh baked bread.
The target customers are residence hall students, but in the few years it has been open, The Bakery has gained popularity throughout the campus and the city of Manhattan.
Just walking through the Derby Dining Center, The Bakery can be easy miss. Two double doors are propped open during operating hours, showing off a large display case filled with goodies. Behind the case is a small workspace where employees prepare orders. Patrons often spread out to benches or tables for two spread throughout the Derby’s lobby to enjoy their purchases.
The Bakery is more than a place to grab a bite to eat. To many students it has become a place associated with special memories.
The first time Meredith Muller came to The Bakery, she was not yet a K-State student.
“It was a senior day and my mom and I were wandering around by ourselves,” Muller said. “We were walking by The Bakery and had to stop and share a cinnamon roll with extra frosting. It topped off the end of a great day.”
Devaney frequented The Bakery almost weekly her freshmen year. At K-State, The Bakery is unrivaled in its variety of fresh treats. The campus holds many coffee shops that also offer sweets, but The Bakery boasts a homemade flavor unique to the other on-campus options.
“Once we celebrated my friend Kelsey’s birthday,” Devaney said. “A big group met by The Bakery and we all got different treats. Then we sat in a big circle on the benches nearby and shared in some fun and laughter for the next hour.”
Most individual items at the bakery are under $2, but special orders like personalized birthday cakes or variety gift bag are available as well. The birthday cakes cost $12 to $22 depending on the size, while the gift bags, which contain different assortments of gourmet cookies, fresh fruit and fudge brownies, average $6.50.
The Bakery’s hours of operation occur when the dining center is closed in order to draw students looking for a snack. The doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 11 p.m., but they also close during the rush of student meal times around noon and from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“In the last five years that I’ve been here, the hours have gotten more convenient,” senior Chelsi Thissen said.
Many students use the late night hours of The Bakery as a motivation to study.
“I like that The Bakery is open late because I love getting a Rice Krispie treat as a break before I return to studying,” freshman Tina Tadros said.
K-State Housing and Dining decided to open The Bakery to provide residence hall students with another food option during non-meal times. Residence hall students are not able to bake or cook as readily as their off-campus peers, but making fresh baked goods accessible quickly became popular.
Since then, students began to utilize The Bakery as a meeting spot.
“I use The Bakery to hang out with people,” Thissen said. “It’s great because it is a common place to meet up and it doesn’t even feel like you’re in the dorms.”
Other students use The Bakery as a place to start new friendships.
“I took my new international buddy, Masa, on his first trip to The Bakery earlier this year,” freshman Kelly Zachariasen said. “We hung out and got to know each other better.”
The Bakery serves many purposes to students of the K-State residence halls. Memories of splitting a peanut butter Rice Krispies with a friend or indulging in a butter pecan cinnamon roll after bombing a test has become, for many students, part of the K-State experience.