No trip to Quincy is complete without a visit to Underbrink’s Bakery, and a trip back to a simpler time when baked goods were made with care, by hand, from scratch and with really cool vintage equipment.
Since opening as a traditional German bakery in 1929, this little shop near Quincy University has been doing just that.
In 1990, the current owner and baker extraordinaire, LeRoy Rossmiller, took over with a commitment to maintain the old fashioned ways. He showed us all of the inner workings while delivering a running commentary popping fresh with humor and sarcasm. In a nod to Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi,” he calls himself The Nutroll Nazi.
In the customer area, with its display cases that were well worn by the time we were born, LeRoy showed us some of his prized artifacts.
There are hulking antique Hobart mixers, campy trinkets and nic-nacs, and autographed pictures of stars — even a president, all with a slight dusting of flour.
Through the back of the shop we entered the kitchen, where all of the magic happens. Every surface was covered with dough, before or after baking.
There were sweet rolls and “snails” being formed, cookies getting decorated, and cakes being iced. Huge bags of flour, hundreds of eggs, and giant boxes of shortening stood at the ready.
There are no shortcuts, LeRoy explained, the dough must be prepared two days ahead of time in order to bake properly.
Next he showed us the quintessentially low-tech ordering system, a bunch of notes clothes pinned above a table, all the while muttering about dealing with customers.
Behind the character it’s obvious he loves his work and it shows, not just in this phenomenal little shop, but in the outstanding cakes and pastries that come out of it.
By the end of our visit, his gruff demeanor had sweetened to the point that he let us try our hands at icing and nutting some of his famous rolls. Then he presented us with the specialty of the house, angel food cupcakes.
They are truly divine.
— David & Veronica, Illinois Mile Markers
Thanks to our partners for making this trip possible, including the Quad Cities CVB, Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB, Quincy Area CVB and Nauvoo Tourism Office. Want to follow in Mile Markers David & Veronica’s footsteps? Travel the below map!
View Illinois Mile Markers: Great River Road Itinerary in a larger map
Meet the Mile Markers:
David & VeronicaEmpty Nesters
They've been full-time travelers and have been breaking the empty nest rules since 2008. Frequent visitors of Illinois, they are looking forward to exploring the Great River Road this spring!