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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Ottumwa restaurant owner shares his recipe for success during the pandemic

Scott Pierce's childhood dream is still going strong, thanks to community support.

OTTUMWA, Iowa — As a child, Scott Pierce dreamed of owning a restaurant. But not just any restaurant. The Canteen Lunch in the Alley in Ottumwa was a favorite of Scott's growing up, and now, he's the proud owner.

The Canteen first opened back in 1927 and moved to its current location at 112 E 2nd Street in 1937. After decades of enjoying his meals there, Scott Pierce took the plunge on the Canteen which was loved by many. 

"When I purchased it back in 2015, I was warned by a lot of customers. We might be the owners but I have a lot of bosses that watches over this place," Pierce said.

It's a small restaurant with only 17 seats,  well-known for its signature loose-meat sandwich and friendly atmosphere. It's a labor of love, even in those more difficult times. 

"Yeah, last year has, you know, has affected a lot of, lots of small restaurants, um we were slow but steady," Pierce said. "Christmas and Thanksgiving is one of our two biggest days when people come home to visit and, you know, the first thing they do is come to the Canteen. Ya it's been totally different for us in sales."

But with food and familiarity that you can only find in a small-town shop, Pierce is sitting on a recipe for success and what he calls "a dream that came true."