The Danish Baker in Dannebrog, Neb., belies it name.
Tom Schroeder, who is of German descent, and his wife, Carol, who’s of Irish stock, own and run the bakery and restaurant. The two make and sell cookies, bread, kolaches (can you say Czech origin?) and other traditional bakery items. The couple also serve breakfast six days a week and lunch on weekdays.
But on Thursday afternoons and evenings, The Danish Baker becomes a pizzeria. (Talk about an Italian-American food.)
The Schroeders take orders all day and the first pizza leaves the oven at 4:45 p.m. Ordering closes at 9 p.m. In December, The Danish Baker’s pizza night will mark its 21st anniversary.
Pizza diners eat in the bakery’s restaurant space, take the pie home or carry it over to the tavern, which has a liquor license, Tom Schroeder said.
“We had 120 fairly steady all summer,” he said. On Sept. 26, the day before the three-day Junk Jaunt, 130 pizzas left the oven.
U.S. and world wall maps track where the pizza eaters come from.
Schroeder said weekly patrons come from all over Nebraska — Dannebrog, Omaha, Litchfield, Columbus, Hartington, York, Kearney, Henderson, Ord, Scotia, Greeley, Lincoln, Spaulding and Grand Island.
Pizza diners also have come from Texas, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and other countries.
“That’s the best part about my job: I get to meet a lot of nice people,” Schroeder said.
The pizzas come in three sizes and each has a set price no matter how many toppings you request. Schroeder said a large meat pizza weighs 5 pounds and will feed four teenage boys. The medium pizza will serve three people and the small pizza is great for a couple, he said.
Pizza toppings run the gamut from the simple to the complex.
If you order “one like Marv has,” you’ll get a pizza topped with ham, pineapple, onion, sauerkraut and jalapeños,” Schroeder said.
The Schroeders also offer dessert items on pizza nights.
Cherlyn Hayes of Grand Island, Neb., emailed to tell us about The Danish Baker:
“It is a very small dining room. You may be asked to share a table with strangers. Sometime during the evening, the cook will come out of the kitchen and sing and play his guitar.”
When all the pizzas have been baked, Schroeder leaves the kitchen, guitar in hand to play and sing songs he wrote.
“I always wanted to be a rock star when I was a kid and now I am.”