Melanie Abu-Nameh '14, '18 MSL  and Holly Ervin '97 Headshot

Melanie Abu-Nameh '14, '18 MSL and Holly Ervin '97

Co-owners, Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery

Food for Thought

Friends turned family, Melanie Abu-Nameh ’14, ’18 MSL and Holly (Schantz) Ervin ’97 met at a tennis event in 2014. Flash-forward to 2021, and they are now co-owners of a popular Cedar Rapids restaurant, Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery.

“There are people you meet and instantly know you’ll have a great relationship with—and who eventually become family,” said Melanie. “That’s what happened with Holly and me.”

With an extensive background in culinary arts, Melanie always dreamed about opening up a restaurant, while Holly’s passion for baking emerged from watching her mother decorate cakes as a child.

“The happiness that comes from making other people happy through my work is my favorite part of baking,” said Holly. “Melanie helped me bridge a gap between a hobby and a calling.”

“The happiness that comes from making other people happy through my work is my favorite part of baking. Melanie helped me bridge a gap between a hobby and a calling.”

Melanie was also a big help in the business development plan. With her contacts and relationships in the restaurant world, the idea of Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery emerged from a consulting project Melanie was a part of. As their friendship grew stronger, food and planning for their restaurant became the center of their conversations.

“We just started talking more and more about the food industry,” said Melanie. “It was fun to see Holly start to geek out about food as much as me.”

Not only do the two share a passion for food, but they also share a love for their alma mater.

“My experience at Mount Mercy was wonderful,” said Holly. “I thought I knew where my college path was
leading, but I ended up changing my major five times. In retrospect, having the opportunity to explore different areas of learning gave me the freedom to try anything I wanted. I wish more people would embrace the idea of college as an exploratory time.”

 

Having the opportunity to explore different areas of learning gave me the freedom to try anything I wanted. I wish more people would embrace the idea of college as an exploratory time.

Holly Ervin '97

As an adult learner at Mount Mercy, Melanie’s experience was focused more on professional goals and development.

“Mount Mercy gave me the confidence to take on a new project like Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery,” said Melanie. “I really appreciated the different experiences and perspectives that my classmates shared. I try to bring those perspectives into my everyday life.”

“Mount Mercy gave me the confidence to take on a new project like Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery."

The embodiment of their hard work, education, life experiences, and friendship, Feedwell Kitchen & Bakery features salads, sandwiches, and pastries that are fresh and unique. With Melanie being the mastermind behind the savory, and Holly at the helm of the sweets, their culinary styles are better together—much like their friendship.

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