Gracie Campbell— Staff Writer
Walking into Centre Mall, Dutch culture is evident from the start. The most prominent example is Casey’s Bakery, with its traditional Dutch-styled storefront.
Sioux Center is steeped in this rich cultural tradition. From Dutch bingo to the churches on every corner, it seems the saying is true in Sioux Center: “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.” Casey’s Bakery is no exception.
Recently, the bakery has brought back Doughnuts After Dark from 7-10 p.m. Geared for college students, the bakery extends their hours on Wednesday nights, selling discounted doughnuts to the community. Though Casey’s Bakery began Doughnuts After Dark last year, the Midnight Doughnut tradition has been a staple for over a decade.
Last year, Georgia Lodewyk wrote for The Diamond the transition of the event from Orange City’s Dutch Bakery. They would spend Friday nights in community with college students who flocked to the bakery for $1 doughnuts. Due to COVID-19, the bakery took a step back, but now Casey’s is taking a step forward.
Ryan De Groot, co-owner of the bakery, enjoys the event both personally and professionally.
“My favorite thing about Doughnuts After Dark is bringing one of my kids with me and having some one-on-one time with them,” De Groot said. “Professionally, I have always wanted to be able to get doughnuts right out of the fryer to the hands of the people, and I think through Doughnuts After Dark we’ve been able to do that.”
The bakery has been in the family for three generations. De Groot shared memories of working in the bakery as a young kid, admitting to pumping the pudding-filled doughnuts until they exploded. The pudding-filled doughnuts are still his favorite, though his son, who tagged along, favors the twists.
De Groot, who attended Dordt University, also reminisced as he watched students come through the back door of the bakery for doughnuts.
“I’d love to do that again too,” De Groot said.
Though still relatively new, some students relate the event to the Sioux Center experience.
“The atmosphere is very homey,” freshman Hannah Yockey said. “It definitely has that small town feel.”
The space itself is decorated with traditional Dutch inspirations. A new mural, featuring windmills and brightly-colored tulips, adorns one wall, adding to the feel of the traditional Dutch-inspired storefront. Outside of the bakery, Casey’s operates a deli and pantry.
Soon, the deli will begin a Thursday “Chili Bash,” serving all you can eat chili paired with a cinnamon roll and other sides. For the time being, Doughnuts After Dark continues every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m.