For nearly 100 years, Bauder Pharmacy has been a fixture on Ingersoll Avenue. Started in 1916 by Carolyn Bauder, Iowa’s first female pharmacist, the pharmacy is well known for its lunch counter, selling sandwiches and ice cream made in the pharmacy.
The menu at Bauder is very reasonably priced for lunch. Sandwiches range from $2.50 to $4.95, with simple options like fried egg, turkey, ham, corned beef, Reubens, meatball subs and the two-scoops salad, your choice of a combo of egg salad, ham salad or tuna salad. Bowls of soup run $2.65, chili is $3 and a five-inch pizza is $3.50.
The ice cream is where Bauder really shines. Ice cream sodas, sundaes and floats are $3.35, shakes are $3.40 and malts are $3.45. Options range from the basic chocolate and vanilla to maple walnut and peppermint crunch.
I ordered the Roosevelt special (named for my alma mater), a grilled sandwich with turkey, Swiss cheese and mustard on a hoagie bun for $4.25. I couldn’t pass up ordering a shake, opting for a simple chocolate.
My co-worker ordered a meatball sub ($4.20) and the Buddha’s best shake, made with chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and pecans.
I quite enjoyed my sandwich, which paired very nicely with the shake. The sandwiches aren’t huge, but were very tasty and served quickly. Typically there’s one person manning the lunch counter, taking orders as well as making the food and shakes. Hot sandwiches are made in a small press. It’s an efficient process, especially compared to how long you’ll wait for shakes at some restaurants.
As an added bonus, while you’re waiting for your food you can listen to the workers in the pharmacy run through their spiel with every prescription they fill.
In a current commercial for a big box pharmacy, the chain runs through its history, giving a feel for the kind of place it used to be. Bauder Pharmacy is still that kind of place. It’s a charming little bit of nostalgia, with ice cream that’s worth a try no matter what the temperature is outside.
Roosevelt Special ... $4.25
Meatball sub ... $4.20
Chocolate shake ... $3.40
Buddha’s best shake ... $3.40
Total with tax and tip: $19.22
Where: 3802 Ingersoll Ave.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday.