WAVERLY – The sights and smells of cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, cakes, bread and more now greet people walking into the historic building at the corner of Kenilworth and 142nd streets in downtown Waverly.
The Bake Vault opened in February and owner Rae Fraley said the bakery is off to a good start.
Fraley and her husband, Nick, also own Vike’s Corner in Waverly. The Davey couple has worked together in that Highway 6 mainstay restaurant since 2017.
But, something was still missing for Fraley.
“Being able to decorate cakes was that piece I was missing when I was at Vike’s,” she said.
She now has a place to use her cake decorating and other pastry skills.
The Bake Vault opened Feb. 22. Fraley’s cinnamon rolls have become a staple on the counter.
“I’ve been trying to offer different flavors of muffins, too,” she said.
Blueberry muffins seem to be the customer favorites so far.
Cake by the slice has also been popular with her patrons. Fraley said this selection is more for the crowd who wants to sit down at the Bake Vault with a cup of coffee or friends.
For those who want cake that is not served on a plate, she always has a variety of cupcakes in the case. Those, she said, have been going over well too, and now she has added chocolate chip and sugar cookies to her offerings as well.
But, it’s not just items for the sweet tooth that can be found on the Bake Vault’s menu. There are also sandwiches, chicken pot pies, chef salads and other offerings.
“And, I try to have two soups that run daily,” Fraley added.
Fraley said it wasn’t practical to have a full kitchen at the Bake Vault. She does have an oven to make all her baked goods, including bread. The rest of the food is prepared by her husband at Vike’s Corner.
“I have taken a little of his lunch crowd,” she joked.
But, she said it was nice to be able to bring a restaurant to town in another location.
“A lot of the faces that come in, I’ve seen before and they are becoming regulars here,” she said. “And, it’s nice getting to know people on the other side of the tracks.”
With her background, it’s not too surprising the Fraleys’ new spot in town would feature baking.
She graduated from Southeast Community College in 2005 with her degree in food service hospitality. Her first job was at Yankee Hill Country Club, working with pastries. She also spent some time doing cake decorating at Russ’s Market. For seven years, she worked at Le Quartier Bakery and Café in Lincoln.
That calling back to cake decorating and baking in general was strong.
Fraley said they had considered purchasing the building and starting a business a few years back.
“At the time, it wasn’t right for us and we put it by the wayside,” she said.
Then in 2017, the opportunity came along to purchase Joni’s, home of today’s Vike’s Corner. When the Fraleys were approached again last year about buying this building, they decided it was time.
Fraley said it was her husband that came up with the name for the new business. People who don’t know the history of the building may not get the Bake Vault name at first, but once they come in they will see the connection.
There have been several different businesses there over the years, but it was originally built as a bank. The bank vault still exists and so does the counter that tellers once stood by.
“I am a huge sucker for something historical, so this is perfect,” she added.
She has found pictures of when the bank was being built and plans to have those enlarged to use as artwork at the Bake Vault.
As Fraley settles into her new digs, she will continue to bake customer favorites, as well as experimenting with a few new items from time to time.
“It will just be evaluating and finding our groove,” she said.
The Bake Vault is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 402-786-2944 and more information can be found at bakevault.com.