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German bistro now open in downtown Wadena

Annette Schmedlin cut up sample-sized pieces of Kuchen for her customers. Schmedlin is "Oma" to her daughter Yvonne's five children. It has been her dream to open her own business. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal1 / 5
Willis2 / 5
Lainey Willis, the grand-daughter of "Oma's Bread" owner Annette Schmidlin of Bertha, waited on Vicky Tuorila of Sebeka, left, and Sandy Truax of Deer Creek last Thursday morning in downtown Wadena. The business recently opened in a mall on the corner of Jefferson Street and Aldrich Avenue SE. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal3 / 5
A Frankfurter Kranz cake was decorated and ready to eat at Oma's Bread. German baking is the specialty of the new Wadena business. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal4 / 5
Inge Strayer is a friend and customer who presently resides at Fair Oaks Lodge. Strayer was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States. She enjoys having authentic German food in Wadena. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal5 / 5

The Wadena community has a "treat" coming to it—Oma's Bread.

In case you are wondering, "Oma" is the German word for "Grandma" and the grandma in this business is Annette Schmedlin of Bertha, a transplant from Germany, just like her daughter, Yvonne Willis.

While baked goods will be all around the business is going to be operated as more than that.

"It's going to be like a bistro," Yvonne said. "The building is fantastic. The remodel they did, they did a really nice job."

Oma's Bread opened Aug. 14 and provides Wadena with a downtown bakery for the first time in several years. It is located in a strip mall on the corner of Jefferson Street and Aldrich Avenue.

Yvonne said she and her mother have never run a bakery, but in doing so they are living a dream.

"It's her dream and I'm just helping her make it come true," Yvonne said.

Yvonne came to Wadena County in 2003 as a foreign exchange student at Verndale. Unlike most exchange students, she never returned to her home country. She married and stayed in Minnesota. Her five children were all born here and attend school in Bertha.

Yvonne grew up in Freiburg, a city of 220,000 in the magnificent Black Forest region of southern Germany. Her mother ran a hotel. Annette and her husband, Martin, decided to move to Minnesota four years ago to be close to their daughter and her family.

"They wanted to help with the grandkids," Yvonne said.

Yvonne said there is a tradition in their family that every Sunday afternoon, no matter what, they get together to have coffee and cake.

For the last three years, Yvonne and Annette have been selling their baked goods at farmer's markets around the area while nursing a dream of having a location of their own where people could come to see them work.

In addition to six different kinds of German-style bread, the German bakery will offer Quiche (a savory, open pastry crust with a filling of custard and either cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables). Kuchen (custard pie with different fruit fillings) and a variety of seasonal dishes including Slammenkuchen (onion and bacon pizza), spice cake and big, soft pretzels.

Yvonne said the business will be importing some spices from Germany, and they will make their own cream cheese. Customers will be able to watch the baking process.

"They can watch us bake," Yvonne said. "It's going to be visible to everybody how we make the doughs and the fillings."

The business will be located in the mall on corner of Aldrich Avenue and Jefferson Street in Wadena. While the owners of the new bakery are both from Bertha, Yvonne considers Wadena to be a great place for their business.

"It's a nice, small community," Yvonne said.