Jordan Anderson, owner of Baker’s Rhapsody, is no stranger to southwest Michigan, having grown up in South Haven. Anderson was attending culinary classes in Phoenix, Arizona, when he met his future husband, Hector Rivas. The couple returned to Michigan in 2013 to start a business near Jordan’s family. Two years later, Baker’s Rhapsody was opened and has become one of the area’s top bakeries.
Hector was born and raised in Phoenix. He now works at Baker’s Rhapsody full-time.
What is your favorite place to visit in Michiana?
JA: In the Dowagiac area, for like food and stuff, we like to go to the Sister Lakes Brewer, the Strand. The Wood Fire downtown is great. We are big eat-out people. At least before the pandemic, we went to a lot of restaurants. Now we were big takeout people. Heading down the Indiana way, we always sent to Salsas. We just try to keep it fresh and hit new places when we can.
HR: My probably favorite thing to do is take a walk down in St. Joe. Living in Phoenix my entire life, I really never got to have that sort of beach experience. You always had to drive to San Diego or Los Angeles to get to the beach. But, it is not the same as coming here to the Michigan coast and getting to walk around and feel like you are almost on vacation.
Do you think living in Michiana has changed you in any way?
JA: I always kind of grew up in the area, so it is a little tough to tell for me, but I definitely think living here has shaped how I see the world and how I see things. I think it felt like it was such a big change moving to Phoenix for a while. It was like “Oh man, this is such a big city.” You don’t walk by people on the street that you see every day.
HR: I remember when I first moved here, I was walking down the street, and a random person said “hi” to me. I remember telling Jordan this random person said hi to me. Phoenix, where you don’t walk around a lot, one, because it is too hot, you just drive everywhere. So, that was different for me. Even now, I find myself walking down to the post office, or walking down to the grocery store, if I know them I will say hi, or even if I don’t know them, I still say hi.”
What do you think makes Michiana unique by comparison
to other places?
JA: I always loved the Midwest in general because of its weather and it feels homier. I lived out in Phoenix for a while, which is a big city and it was fun in and of itself, but I really love the small-town communities like Dowagiac and South Haven. One of the things I particularly love about Dowagiac is you are pretty much half an hour away from anything you need. You can get down to South Bend-Mishawaka, you can go to Kalamazoo, or you can go to St. Joseph or South Haven. It is kind of a nice hub to be based out of.
HR: Just Dowagiac itself, you not only see people at the bakery, but you see someone at the store grocery store, and we recognize people. It is like, this is our home. It is a community.
What is your favorite time of year?
JA: For me, I like the in-between seasons. I like fall and spring, just because that is my kind of outdoor weather. I am not a big fan of the super-hot for the summer stuff. So, I like to do outdoorsy stuff in the fall or spring.
HR: For me, I would probably say fall would be, because that was something I never got to see before. It was always cactus or the Palo Verde that would bloom in the spring, but that was it for color. In the fall, here, every drive we take, either to the grocery store or down to Mishawaka, it is always different in the fall.
If you were to meet someone planning a visit to the Michiana area for the first time, what places would you tell them or her not to miss?
JA: You have got to check out the beach. I know when Hector’s family came, everyone was just astounded who had never seen the Great Lakes before. They were like, “oh my gosh, it is as big as the ocean.” Nobody was expecting not to see the other side of it. So, if you haven’t seen the water and the Great Lakes, you have to go see it. Any of the small, walkable downtowns, be it St. Joe, Dowagiac or South Haven. A really fun thing to do is walk in and out of all these great little shops. If you are here in the fall, a color tour or hiking trail in the woods is great. I know growing up, I was really involved in the theater stuff. So, there are a lot of great, small community theaters in the area.
HR: Anytime my parents come, they just want to drive around and see what they can stumble upon. Even for us, we find ourselves on the main path, so it is just a matter of getting off the path we usually take. That is when we find something new. χ