It turned out to be a new bakery-cafe in a downtown Toledo building which has a storied food service past.
“I had a dear friend, a single mother of four who came here from North Carolina. She was a cook. I did it for her,” said Grammy’s Goodies owner Sue Micllef.
But personal reasons including a daughter headed to college prevailed, and Sue’s friend and her family returned to North Carolina.
That left Sue and her husband, Mike, of rural Toledo, with a building and a plan. Sue had operated a bakery for a short time in Marshalltown some 25 years ago.
Since buying the former Rebecca’s dress shop dress shop at 115 West High St., on June 14 of last year, they’ve been busy with renovations. The building had been vacant for some three years.
Sue Micllef credits Joe Lux for doing much of the interior work.
But the Micllefs put in a fair share of time on their own.
“Mike went over the wooden floor with a one-inch blade three times, (removing spots of tar paper substance used as a carpet backing). Then, we spent 10-12 hours a day for 12 days sanding the floor,” Sue said. “We spent $600 on sand paper.”
Mike also used a one-inch brush to refurbish the commercial 10-burner, four-over kitchen stove they bought from a church in southern Missouri. The stove, which appears brand-new, works well, Sue said.
She recently sent a photo of stove - “the pride of the kitchen” - to the church pastor.
While not claiming to be an actor, Sue “broke a leg” to get the bakery-restaurant up and running. Yes, while working on a ladder at the front entrance in November, she fell and broke her leg.
The Micllefs now have Grammy’s Goodies, complete with a gleaming floor, tables and chairs which fit the decor and modern kitchen and bakery area. The spacious restaurant area seats 48.
They opened on Jan. 5.
Sue took early retirement last year as auditor at the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, a post she held for 15 years. She was responsible for auditing campaign disclosure reports for all local candidates state-wide. Mike Micllef continues to be employed in maintenance in at Jim Hawk Truck Trailer in Altoona. Sue serves as secretary for Christ United Methodist Church in Toledo.
Grammy’s employs two part-time people- Carolyn Anderson and Nan Aldrich. Sue says Carolyn tells customers “Sue is THE Grammy and but we’re ALL Grammys.”
Sue has three children - Drema Lopez (Dan) Montour, Charlie Durnin (Becky and Kendra (Tim) Skyles, all of marshalltown and eight grandchildren with two more on the way.
Grammy’s Goodies is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. with lunch available from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. On Saturday, hours are 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. with lunch also available.
A breakfast bagel is served in the mornings. Call ahead or stop in to order bakery specialities.
Bakery items include turnovers, strudel sticks, bagels, doughnuts, muffins and pie.
There’s cinnamon rolls, carmel rolls, flavored breads and Sue’s speciality- decorated cakes, which she says she enjoys baking the most.
Pineapple upside down andcherry-chocolate delight cakes have proven very popular Sue said.
There’s an extensive coffee bar featuring regular, decaffeinated and flavored focuses, cocoa, tea, cappuccino and hot cider.
At noon, an assortment of deli-type sandwiches are available along with the soup of the day.
All of this probably sits well with previous operators of the restaurant at this location.
The late Dick and Phyllis McComas who built the well-known Dick’s Restaurant and Granada Lounge a tthe junction of U.S. highways 63 and 30 in Toledo started in business in this spot. Earl and Ben Hunnicutt operated a cafe in the 115 West High Street location. The Knotty Pine Cafe, first owned by McComas’ mother, Mildred, then bought by Dick and his wife, Phyllis, also operated in this location according to the 2003 Toledo History Book.
After the name was changed the downtown Dick’s Restaurant once hosted Duncan Hines who made nation-wide tours and rated establishments.
After Dick relocated, Betty Smith and family operated the Toledo Recreation Center-Cafe at the location in the 1960s. It was then the Tama County Human Services office before a succession of four dress shops occupied the location.
Sue Micllef stands at the front of her new Grammy’s Goodies bakery-cafe in downtown Toledo. The new business seats 48 and offers baked goods, noon lunches and an extensive coffee bar. Chronicle/John Speer
Fact BoxGrammy’s Goodies
•115 W. High, Toledo
•Hours: Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-
•Lunch served 11-1