Select Page

Liz Naylor

As long as I have been able to hold a whisk, my mom and maternal grandmother have allowed me to play in the kitchen. These are fond memories and what have inspired me to go into professional baking. This path was not always so clear and I took my sweet time navigating through life. I grew up in Bettendorf, IA and attended the University of Iowa. I was awarded my B.S. In biology in December 2005—but I decided I did not like life in the lab and switched gears to work for a chocolatier in Iowa City. I spent the next several months learning how to work with really phenomenal chocolate. Somehow, a Hershey bar doesn’t quite do it for me anymore—unless it is part of a S’More, of course.

In August 2006, Ryan and I moved to Ames; a new beginning for both of us. He, to work at Powerfilm as a new product developer, and I to attend culinary school. The Iowa Culinary Institute was gaining in popularity and I was put on the waiting list to start the following year. Since culinary school was a year away, I found work as a bank teller at First National Bank:University Office. If you ever want to know about the inner workings of a city—the bank is a great place to start. I made a lot of great friends and contacts that eventually made Arcadia possible. I also got to know campus town and decided that if I ever had the opportunity to open a shop, campus town would be the location.

I spent two years learning the theory of the restaurant industry at Iowa Culinary Institute but The Cafe taught me about real life. I spent almost two years learning from the best bakery in town. It was a great experience and prepared me for opening my own shop. In March of 2010 I was skimming Craigslist and saw a listing for a building for rent, in campus town, with a drive through. Jackpot! This was too good to pass up and we signed the lease that month. After much uncertainty and six months of hard work—Arcadia Cafe opened it’s doors March 22, 2011. What you see today is the result of many people’s hard work and dedication. I could not have done this without the love and support of those around me. Thanks everyone!