On AdvoEats hiatus since last fall, it is once again time to empty my pocket and fill my stomach with treats from Fargo-Moorhead’s latest eatery. This article is a special one to me, as it pertains to my favorite food group: baked goods.
Hidden behind the Holiday Gas Station at 101 University Drive stands Fargo’s newest bakery. Opened on Feb. 1, it’s a skeleton of things to come, filled out and fattened each day by the fresh product stocked in the display and the swells of newcomers walking through the door.
On its Facebook page, which is actively used, the Sweet Haven boasts of home-style baking made from fresh produce, special ordering and a gluten-free option daily.
The bakery itself began eight years ago in the imagination of Tami Dowers. Dreaming of a place where young people could hangout, the 26-year-old Thief River Falls native wanted to combine her passion for baking and community in a one-stop shop.
“Except for bars, there weren’t many places for young people to go,” Dowers said about her hometown. “This would be not a safe haven, but a sweet haven.”
Christmas tradition at the Dowers household is a baking affair. Dowers said she has been baking cakes since she was 16 years old; it was in her family’s kitchen that her passion was born.
Now, the young baker makes up the ambience of her start-up business. With just three tables and a couch, it is a meek beginning for a hangout location. However, the baker’s gregarious personality, free Wi-Fi and tranquil space make the haven a hidden gem for the studious who know where to find it.
Such was the case for me; I slowly circled three blocks to find the store. My friend and I walked into a small and bare seating area. The supply was low, as it was the end of the day on a Friday. Dowers explained that business had been exceptionally good all week and promised us a treat the following morning.
“I’ll make whatever you want,” she said.
This is a promise to any customer who wants something special. All one has to do is call or Facebook the day before, and the baker will have it ready. I took up the offer, ordering a cinnamon roll that Dower highly recommended.
The next morning I found out that recommendation was an understatement.
I bit into the soft and pillowy dough as hints of almond in the powdered sugar-based icing kissed the swirls of cinnamon in the bread. I shared the large roll with my roommates, and as we licked the plate clean, I felt the price of $1.50 was a steal.
I also tried two muffins, small tokens of grandma’s kitchen. The blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in my blueberry and mixed-berry muffins were fresh. The muffins themselves were small, but for $.75, would be a great to-go snack on the way to class.
Both my visits to the bakery were marked by good conversation with Dowers. Her personable way will be a sure pillar for the Sweet Haven. The passionate baker and businesswoman will make you feel at home.
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PHOTOS AND STORY BY MEGAN HAVIG