Clouds Cafe opened in Ames on Oct. 1 and has since made a name for itself as a unique coffee shop in Ames.
The manager of Clouds, Yann Guenter Queckenstedt, was born in Paris and has lived in several different countries in Europe. Living and traveling to different cities and sitting in their cafes is what inspired the idea of Clouds. Queckenstedt moved to Ames to pursue his doctorate in hospitality management in 2018.
“It’s very inspired from cafes you would find in large cities in Europe, such as London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and it has this kind of vibe that's very cozy, but very homey," Queckenstedt said. “The environment is very peaceful.”
Clouds Cafe prides itself on their menu being made entirely from scratch. The menu items are unique and often something you would find in bigger cities, but not small towns.
The atmosphere at Clouds is ideal for studying, sitting and talking with friends for awhile. It’s a place where you sit down and stay, not grab and go. Their menu consists of mostly coffee and drinks, but has some food items as well. Salads, lasagna, quiche and of course pastries are some of the food items available.
“We are not a restaurant and we are certainly not fast food," Queckenstedt said. “It’s a place to enjoy coffee.”
The type of customers at Clouds will likely be students and maybe someone who tries to support nonprofit organizations.
“We are supporting a nonprofit for the coffee," Queckenstedt said. “Cafe El Zapote is the only coffee we serve here, it’s a nonprofit coffee that is imported from Honduras from Saint Thomas Aquinas, the church on Lincoln Way.”
The navy blue color theme was inspired by the “mariniere,” a shirt with navy blue and white horizontal stripes, historically worn by the French navy. This is also the inspiration for the uniforms of the Clouds staff.
“This uniform is known for the very artistic era in France and Italy in the ‘60s, ‘70s," Queckenstedt said. “It’s very revolutionary and I really like that.”
The relaxed atmosphere at Clouds is also noticed by the staff. The slower pace of the restaurant is something any barista could appreciate.
“It’s very appealing for students because they want to work in a great work environment," Queckenstedt said.
Queckenstedt wanted to share something he loved with the community and felt the best way to do that was with Clouds. He had received so much from the Ames and Iowa State community and needed to reciprocate.