Walking into Zest Bakery and Coffeehouse is like walking into a place that seems to encompass the city of Stevens Point. There are professors sitting at tables grading papers, students lounging on the couches trying to catch a quick nap or an emergency cup of coffee, mothers talking about their children. On this particular day, the kitchen smelled of garlic.
"I think all this garlic might suffocate me," Gaede joked as I started to talk to her about their recent honor. Brandi Gaede and Jake Marchant, Gaede’s fiancé and fellow owner of Zest, were recently awarded "Best Dessert" and "Best Overall" at The Taste of the Town, an event where all the proceeds went to help Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Zest donated seven different items to the event, where people were able to sample food from approximately 40 different vendors from the Stevens Point area.
"It was supporting a cause," Gaede said. "And we definitely like to do that."
Gaede explained why Zest’s bakery is unique and special. "We just like to add a unique blend by incorporating savory and sweet… we like to think outside of the box." This outside-of-the-box thinking is apparent in such items on their menu as cheddar-apple sandwiches and a black pepper-rosemary latte.
Zest isn’t afraid to experiment with a variety of flavors or décor (such as student artwork or a wall of teacups filling the bakery).
"Just looking at the décor you can see how eclectic it is," said Senior Arts Management major, Kristin Eggen, an employee at Zest.
Zest opened its door earlier this year, at first offering baked goods and coffee. They now serve anything from flatbreads to breakfast.
"I love Zest," Eggen said. "I love Zest because it’s a genuine place. It identifies with a large range of people: professors, people from residential halls, people from town… It’s like the coffeehouse version of ‘Cheers.’"
Zest is always changing up their menu and recently changed it again for the fall season.
"There’s change here on a daily basis," Gaede said.
There is an all-new lunch and latte menu for autumn, including a pumpkin latte made with fresh, homemade pumpkin syrup. Zest has its own garden so that they may use fresh ingredients in their dishes and pastries.
"There’s been an explosion of Zesty produce," Eggen said.
Zest also now serves fresh bread that comes every Tuesday and Thursday from the New Village Bakery, a local bakery in Amherst.
"We’re always adding more variety… expanding our horizons," Gaede said.
Zest is located on the corner of Isadore Street and 4th Avenue.