Lyndon - The kolache - an Eastern European sweet roll with fruit - is something different for the palates of this rural, meat-and-potatoes Osage County town.
But it is still an open question whether these small-town residents come to Selighoff Bakery & Deli more for the ethnic foods - it also boasts bierocks and a special sweet Lebanon bologna - that are in the deli case, or for the people standing behind it.
"We are different," said Mary Files, who owns the business with her husband, Bruce. "People come in here and want to know if we are strange or normal. They want to know why we do what we do."
Selighoff Bakery & Deli is more than a place for unique eats. It also is the most visible sign of an Amish-Mennonite community of about 125 people that has migrated to Osage County during the last five years.
The bakery and deli in downtown Lyndon - about 45 minutes south and west of Lawrence - makes no attempt to hide its religious and cultural roots. Mary and her two daughters always wear the traditional Amish-Mennonite head coverings. Bruce has the traditional beard and plain clothes. Questions about religious or cultural beliefs are encouraged.
Pamphlets describing Amish-Mennonite customs hang from a wall. Customers also are serenaded with background tunes that are always sung a cappella by Amish-Mennonite groups. It is the only type of music ever on at the store because their religion prohibits instrumental music.
And then there's the food. All the meats are shipped in from Holmes County, Ohio, which is one of the larger Amish-Mennonite communities in the country. Plus, the majority of dry goods sold in the store are made by Amish or Mennonite companies, including special mustards, egg-yolk noodles and exotic jams such as tomato and gooseberry. But in some ways, that's all kind of secondary.
"I had three goals when I started this store," said Bruce Files. "I wanted to share our faith. I wanted to share our culture, and I wanted to share our food. I do think of them in that order."
Bought a map
If variety really is the spice of life, Osage County is more of a salt-and-pepper community. It is mainly a conglomeration of about 10 small towns, largely separated by rolling cattle pastures, farm fields and a pair of federal reservoirs.
Many of its 17,000 residents - only about 1,000 live in Lyndon - are long-timers in the county. And familiarity is evident everywhere as many county roads are still referred to by the names of the people who live on them rather than the street signs that popped up about a decade ago.
"To some people here, it may have looked like, 'What is this cult moving in here?'" Bruce Files said of five years ago when members of his church started to come to the area. "In the beginning, there probably was some suspicion. But I think our neighbors have gotten to know us now and know that we're not a cult. They've been very kind to us."
It is easy to see, though, how the group's arrival - and particularly how they chose the Lyndon area - may have raised a few eyebrows. Amish-Mennonite Churches generally like to remain small, typically meaning 25 families or less.
"You lose accountability when you start to get too big," Mary Files explained.
When the Files' church near Auburn, Ky., started to exceed that 25-family mark, the congregation decided to do an outreach. That means a half-dozen families or so will pack up and start a new church and community somewhere else.
"We would just buy a map and start looking at places," Bruce Files said of the process. "We're rural people, and we were looking to remain in a rural setting."
A group of three or four men scouted out the Osage County area and liked it in part because land prices still allowed for farming, and it was close enough to larger areas such as Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City to provide jobs for many of the carpenters and tradesmen who are in the congregation.
Plus the area was relatively close to other Amish-Mennonite communities in Missouri and near Hutchinson. That's important because it provides social opportunities, especially for the younger members of the congregation. The church does not allow marriage to people who are not part of the Amish-Mennonite faith.
"We didn't want to be out in the middle of nowhere in that regard," Bruce Files said.
Several Osage County residents this week said they were glad the families had settled here.
"I think it is just the friendliness and down-home feel of the place," said Donna Harper, who frequently drives in from Osage City to have lunch. "It is just old-fashioned type of cooking."
Mary Files said that has been the big selling point of the bakery. The Amish-Mennonites have never used foods with preservatives in them because that would be "too fancy," she said.
"True Amish cooking is really farm cooking," Mary Files said. "It is feeding a family the best way. It is about making it tasty."
Others, though, said they appreciate more than the food.
"I really admire how they live their beliefs," said Wilson Ludlum of nearby Vassar. "We're sure hoping they are successful and are part of the community for a long time because the standards they live by are just excellent."
Bruce Files admits, though, that probably isn't the universal feeling in the community. He said members of the church have been well received by nearly all, but said he has heard of people who are offended by the religious music he plays in his store. He also said there were significant rumors that the church members paid no taxes, which created resentment.
But he said that's only partially true. He said the Amish-Mennonite faith did receive a federal ruling back in the 1960s that exempted them from paying Social Security taxes. That's because their religious beliefs shun the concept of insurance, instead relying on the concept of taking care of one another.
The church also has an exception to the law requiring children to go to school until they are 16 years old. Amish-Mennonite children traditionally go to school only through the eighth grade. The Lyndon church has built its own school that serves 35 students age 7 to 14.
"A lot of our focus is on the Bible-based curriculum," said Lester Wagler, a teacher and principal at the school. "It is more learning how to know God at a young age."
Upon graduation, boys traditionally begin learning a trade with their fathers, and girls work with their mothers.
"Most of us don't endeavor to become lawyers or nurses or physicians," Bruce Files said of the rationale behind the educational philosophy. "Most of us would feel on the male side that the trades and farming has provided a good living. It provides you a chance to be home more and allows your sons to work with you."
How they live
Bruce Files said he thinks the community is beginning to learn about his beliefs and customs. They aren't exactly what people have seen or read about the Amish in the popular media.
Because they are Amish-Mennonite, they do drive cars, unlike their cousins the "horse and buggy" Amish. About half the congregation speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a form of German, although not usually in front of nonchurch members out of concern for being rude.
They also have indoor plumbing and electricity. Although the food is made from scratch at the bakery, they use electronic mixers and other modern conveniences.
Bruce Files said most Amish-Mennonites have the same modern conveniences as anyone else, except when it comes to entertainment. There are no TVs, no radios, no musical instruments, no competition in organized sports. Computers are rarely used, and never for entertainment, although there is discussion about how they should be used for business purposes.
That type of discussion won't take place in a boardroom, but rather will happen at church. Almost all decisions related to standards that Amish-Mennonites live by are made in individual churches.
Almost all of the group's practices and beliefs - everything from their dress to their entertainment - can be traced back to the Bible. But there's also a basic principle behind them as well.
"We try to be modest," Bruce Files said. "We try not to call attention to individuals, but we try to glorify the Lord through our actions. We want people to see something that is not pointing toward us, but rather pointing toward our faith."