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The Dutch Oven

Kristi Kates - December 14th, 2009
Rustic Meets Gourmet at
The Dutch Oven
By Kristi Kates
Some 70 years ago, The Dutch Oven Bakery and Cafe in Alanson was a
rustic log cabin. Today, it’s a bustling local business where John and
Theresa Sirvaitis offer their locally-legendary baked goods and
breakfast and lunch items, while holding on to their own little piece
of the American dream.
“Back in the 1930s, Mr. and Mrs. Flay Lacy arrived in Alanson from
Florida and decided to open a bakery,” John Sirvaitis explains, “Mr.
Lacy built the log cabin building and named it The Dutch Oven. He made
cinnamon bread that became famous - and it still is - and turned out
baked goods for many years, to the delight of everyone.”
Sirvaitis and his wife had spent over 25 years in the corporate world,
and had decided that it was time to make a change in their lives. He
says they weren’t specifically looking for a bakery, but simply a
“good business,” and happened to run across the Dutch Oven.
“While we had no experience in commercial baking and had to learn -
although Theresa does bake at home really well - our backgrounds
helped us immensely in the business aspects of customer service,
establishing repeatable processes, marketing, quality, training and
product development,” Sirvaitis says, “we wanted to go after the
American Dream of owning our own business.”

HARKENING BACK
The exterior of today’s Dutch Oven is still log-sided, and, in fact,
the bakery portion of the building is still the original building, to
which the Cafe and an additional Yarn Shop have been added over the
years.
“The feel when you walk in is warm and friendly, and the smell seals
the deal by bringing one back to a comfortable place in one’s life,”
Sirvaitis says.
A full-service bakery, The Dutch Oven covers a wide variety of baked
goods, and also offer a range of more unusual bakery items that might
not be found in other local bakeries or grocery stores.
“We pride ourselves in unique items not usually found in stores, be it
something European like our Biber - handmade in a wood mold filled
with homemade almond paste - or one of a kind, like our Dry Bone
cookies which can only be found here,” Sirvaitis explains.
“Our most popular item is the aforementioned cinnamon bread, which has
been made at The Dutch Oven since it started. The recipe has been
tweaked over the decades to take advantage of new ingredients, but it
is made fresh every day. We have a great selection of petit-fours that
are filled with our own homemade almond paste or chocolate ganache; we
have everyday items like pies, cookies, breads, tortes and all kinds
of bar sized treats that will fill that particular sweet tooth. We
can’t forget our chocolate “Love Bugs” - and we also make creative
cakes for all occasions at a reasonable price.”

OLD FRIENDS
Sirvaitis also says that the Deli portion of The Dutch Oven features
baked items instead of fried for breakfast, and that they roast their
own turkeys in a special brine. The Cafe also offers lunch items,
including a meatloaf that’s served on The Dutch Oven’s own fresh-baked
bread.
“We strive to provide a unique assortment of fresh goods along with
good customer service, because it seems that in the bustle of life the
easy access to frozen, processed or fast food has taken its place,”
Sirvaitis says, “it’s worth the effort, based on the feedback we get
from customers in kind words, and the support from generations of
families over the years. The Dutch Oven brings a sense of continuity
in an ever changing world that has a craving for the newest things.”
Many customers have been going to The Dutch Oven for generations,
including a member of the Washington Redskins who Sirvaitis says used
to treat his teammates to Blueberry Frycakes during their training
camp - but John and Theresa say that they look forward each year to
one group in particular.
“It’s a family and friends group of about 15 people who stop in and
sing a homemade donut song,” Sirvaitis chuckles, “and they’ve been
doing this for at least 15 years.”

The Dutch Oven is located at 7611 South US-31 in Alanson, telephone
231-548-2231. They will be open all winter Tuesday-Saturday from 6:30
a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a short break in the spring.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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