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My Just Desserts
30 Apr 2014
Published To
Description

My Just Desserts is a wonderfully nostalgic bakery located in downtown Alton, Illinois, a few blocks from the riverfront. Owner Ann Badasch founded the bakery in 1989, and serves over 150 lunch specials on a rotating basis, including between nine and 13 types of her famous pie each day. While Badasch credits the half-pound chicken salad sandwich recipe with My Just Desserts’ initial success, desserts are the bakery’s primary focus today. Some customer favorites include apple praline and sour cream lemon pie, and the Tollhouse brownies also receive rave reviews.

My Just Desserts attempts to create a familiar, downhome atmosphere comfortable for its customers. The bakery’s website exclaims, “You’ll think you stepped back in time for lunch at grandma’s house,” due to details such as the chalkboard menu and the squeaky hardwood floors of the bakery’s almost 170 year old building. Even more important to the bakery’s atmosphere is the community of loyal customers Badasch has accumulated through her 25 years of business. My Just Desserts is essential to the fabric of Alton as a central gathering spot for locals, who have come to expect a warm greeting from staff members and a convivial ambiance. But before you think My Just Desserts is too quaint, Badasch is quick to declare that her bakery is anything but a “‘tea room’ that your husband wouldn’t be caught dead in.” Despite its small town charm, My Just Desserts intentionally separates itself from the idea of a “fancy” bakery, choosing to stay true to its simple and unpretentious roots.

A glance at the Alton Visitors Bureau website shows that both local and national fast food chains have a significant presence in Alton; My Just Desserts stands as an important contrast to these establishments. Badasch takes care to make her food personal, incorporating her customers by frequently featuring their pie recipes, such as Mrs. Ledbetter’s chocolate, which has earned a permanent place on the menu rotation. Additionally, many of Badasch’s pies include local ingredients, such as the popular Ozark berry pie, which uses local blueberries. These initiatives to return to seasonal, locally grown produce and intentional food preparation combat the impersonal presence of fast food in Alton, and My Just Desserts’ success demonstrates that this restaurant model is sustainable within the community.

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