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Former Amana Restaurant Home to 3 New Businesses

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AMANA, Iowa It's not the manufacturing plant that the founder of a German noodle company envisioned, but ALB-GOLD Noodle Shop will introduce the company's products to Eastern Iowa residents and visitors to the Amana Colonies.

ALB-GOLD Noodle Shop is one of three food-related businesses located in the Old Brick House Market, 728 47th Ave. in Amana. ALB-GOLD, Serena's Coffee Cafe and Tastings marked their grand opening Friday in a remodeled building that formerly housed the Brick Haus restaurant until it closed in late December 2009.

Klaus Freidler had selected Amana as the location of a North American ALB-GOLD plant following a cross-country tour that took him initially to Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. When the economic recession hit in 2008, plans for the noodle plant and an adjacent Bionade beverage factory were put on hold.

In July 2010, Klaus Freidler suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 52. Amana Colonies economic development officials sent a large bouquet of flowers to Freidler's family.

Wanting to continue the family-owned company's relationship with the Amana Colonies, Irmgard Freidler, Klaus Friedler's widow and ALB-GOLD chief executive officer, and her son, Andre, chief operating officer of ALB-GOLD, traveled to Amana in July 2011 from Trochtelfingen, Germany, looking for the right location for a noodle shop.

"That was exactly the time that Yana and David (Cutler) purchased the building and were changing it from a restaurant to a retail place," Andre Freidler said. "Yana told us of her vision to have Tastings as a shop for specialty foods, and combined with Serena's Coffee Cafe, it was the perfect location for our business."

ALB-GOLD makes more than 160 varieties of noodles, including organic noodles. The company has a close working relationship with its suppliers, allowing it to track eggs, wheat and other ingredients back to the original source.

"It was a philosophy of my husband that we carry on," Irmgard Freidler said. "He said people want to know where their food comes from and we open our factory to show people how we make our noodles."

Yana Cutler, who also owns and operates the Ronneburg restaurant at 4408 220th Trail in Amana with her husband, said Tastings offers local, Iowa and regional food products. The shop also will provide cooking demonstrations.

"We're trying to give people a good idea of what to do with our products," Cutler said. "We hope to bring in children and youth to see how food products like ALB-GOLD noodles can be paired with other items to make a whole meal."

Deb Heitmann, owner of Serena's Coffee Cafe, said her business developed after many years working for Amana restaurants and Millstream Brewing.

"I felt the community needed a nice place for people to sit and relax without feeling that they had to hurry," Heitmann said. "This was really a perfect fit in terms of my neighboring 'sister' businesses."

Serena's Coffee Cafe, which opened at the end of March, serves a menu of cold sandwiches and related items, coffee, tea, soft drinks, frappes and smoothies. Heitmann said the shop hopes to develop a local clientele as well as visitors to the Amana Colonies.

"We feel that offering cold sandwiches will help us appeal to young families and we don't want to compete with the other restaurants," she said. "We have a full staff coming on in May and we will extend our operating hours through the summer months."

Heitmann said her baked goods and other food items are supplied by Amana and Cedar Rapids vendors. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

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