COLLINS, Iowa – When Jenny Oaks first started her cake business, she was part-time and spending time with her small children. After her baking reputation grew and a pandemic ruined some small restaurants near Collins, she found people asking for more kinds of food. When she got the chance to expand from a small space on Highway 65 to the entire building she jumped at the chance.
After Friday’s ribbon cutting Oaks is off and running, busier than she expected. She credits the small-town spirit of supporting their own combined with her choice to buy and serve local food, and made from scratch breads, for the stream of customers eating at Sweet Oaks Bakery + Bistro.
Collins Mayor Brett Comegys isn’t surprised to see the Oaks expand. He’s happy to see their hard work paying off and says Collins, with a tattoo parlor and cricket business which was already a WHO13 story subject, is a small town bucking the trend of businesses closing up.
Oaks was recognized by the Iowa Restaurant Association as one of 2020’s 40 Women To Watch when she was doing cakes and cupcakes. She says she will have to see if she has time for the custom cakes she’s known for. For now she says, “I just want somewhere that people enjoy coming and hanging out, just a quiet comfortable atmosphere where they can just come and relax and enjoy a good bite to eat and a good coffee or baked good or whatever.”
Menu items include a hash brown omelet, where the eggs are inside the hash browns, and French toast made with bread they bake. The Philly cheesesteak in the video looks pretty good as well.