Paula Feltner adds sweet, spicy and holiday cheer to downtown Nevada

Paula Feltner spent weeks collecting miniature pieces of countryside so she could create an epic Christmas scene in the windows of her two central Nevada businesses.

Now the front windows of Bricktown Bakery and Bricktown Popcorn are awash with winter scenes of a quaint, snowy small town.

Creativity and attention to detail are part of what makes her business successful.

Feltner was named one of 40 Women to Watch in Hospitality by the Iowa Restaurant Association this year and received the honor at an event in mid-November.

But her favorite nickname is Donut Lady.

“I made myself a Donut Lady shirt because that’s what the little kids call me,” Feltner said. “They see me at the grocery store and I can hear them talking when we walk by: There’s the Donut Lady.”

Paula enjoys traveling, especially with Mike, her husband and business partner.

“Some people look for things like art museums when they travel. Not me. I google donut shops or best bakeries,” Paula said.

She’s also a self-proclaimed “doughnut snob.”

The desire to find high-quality baked goods as a consumer means being the owner of Bricktown Bakery.

“It’s a filter for everything around. We taste test them regularly, and sometimes we’re like, ‘This isn’t going to work,'” Feltner said. “We’re pretty picky around here.”

More ▼: Story County’s only popcorn shop, Bricktown Popcorn, is opening in Nevada

What makes a great donut?

Bricktown Bakery opened in Nevada in 2020.

Feltner’s idea of ​​donut perfection is a cake donut that’s moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

There is an extra special ingredient that sets the local delicacy apart from others.

“Our cake donuts are so good because we use a secret butter,” Feltner said.

She won’t reveal the type of butter that was recommended to her by some retired Minnesota bakers, though it adds a perfect twist to the mix.

“Our secret butter quickly crisps the outside of the donut so it crunches slightly,” she said. “But they’re still moist inside.” It also gives it a lot of flavor.”

Secret oil is more expensive than the palm oil commonly used by bakeries, but offers additional benefits beyond perfect crispiness.

“We don’t use palm oil. It’s not good for your health either and we don’t believe in that,” she said. “It’s the oil that leaves a grease on the top of your mouth when you eat it.”

More expensive butter makes Bricktown’s donuts a little more expensive, but consumers are willing to step up for a better-tasting product.

“I’ve learned that people don’t mind paying a good price for something that’s great, that they’ll enjoy the meal from start to finish,” she said.

Bricktown also offers an array of other baked goods, including raised donuts, fritters, scones, cookies and pies. The shop also boasts several flavors of ice cream.

Feltner and her staff enjoy coming up with seasonal flavors and themes at the bakery, as well as for the fan-favorite popcorn they produce.

More ▼: Two Ames-area women named to the list of 40 Women to Watch in Hospitality

What makes Bricktown Popcorn special?

The same standards that elevate Bricktown’s donuts above the rest are also what make Feltner’s Gourmet Popcorn stand out.

The Feltners opened the Bricktown Popcorn shop in October 2022 as the only popcorn shop in Story County and one of only a few in central Iowa.

Paula likes to look for donuts while they travel, Mike looks for popcorn shops.

“We visited a couple of popcorn shops while we were in South Carolina, and Mike said, ‘We can do this in Iowa,’” Paula said.

Bricktown’s Gluten-Free Kosher Popcorn is handcrafted in small batches, made only five gallons at a time.

Toppings, such as salted caramel, create a generous, glossy coating on the big fluffy nuts.

Iowa-grown popcorn is non-GMO and comes in resealable boxes and packages.

There are spicy flavors, like jalapeño popper, and sweet versions, like salted caramel. Modern flavors include mixes like Hocus Pocus Blend, Harry Potter-themed Butterbeer, and Herky and Cy Blends for Iowa and Iowa State fans.

The shop also sells homemade caramels, fudge and chocolates.

Bricktown offers specially made flavors for special events, such as Wedding Cake Popcorn with Almond Drizzle.

It also offers fundraising opportunities for non-profit and educational organizations.

The Bricktown businesses are located next to each other at 1105 Sixth St. in Nevada.

Ronna Faaborg covers business and the arts for the Ames Tribune. Contact her at [email protected].

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