Places to get coffee in Ames: Provisions Lot F


Provisions Lot F opened in July 2017 and has since become a new Ames food and drink staple.

Nicole Mattson

Provisions Lot F is a restaurant located in Research Park that has a cafe area located inside. Jon Vandewater, Provisions’ general manager and partner, shares what makes their coffee so great.

Provisions Lot F opened in July of 2017, and since then, they have filled their restaurant and cafe with loyal customers from their sister restaurant, The Cafe. They have also reached out to the community of Research Park to bring in new customers.

Vandewater, who is a former chef at The Cafe, shared he believes they have really fantastic coffee as well as a great atmosphere. 

“It’s just a cool area. We’ve got a lot of big windows and lots of natural light,” Vandewater said. 

Provisions Lot F has booths as well as outdoor seating. In response to COVID-19, Vandewater said it currently has limited indoor and outdoor seating and now offers online orders.

It has also moved up its closing time to 8 p.m. due to people eating earlier than they used to and have one complete menu instead of separate lunch and dinner menus. 

Provisions aims to offer very unique items customers cannot get anywhere else. Customer favorites consist of their lavender honey latte in the spring and summer seasons and their pastries. 

“They’re the best pastries you can get around here,” Vandewater said. “We have our own bakery in-house, and we make all of our own laminated doughs. Everything is made from scratch in-house.” 

This is something Vandewater highlights as something customers cannot get at places like Starbucks, which ships frozen items to their stores. Provisions also offers seasonal options on their menu to keep new items rotating in and out of the menu throughout the year. They are currently serving pumpkin spice drinks for the fall season.

If you have a thing for sweets, Provisions Lot F has a wide variety for customers to choose from, with fruity and chocolate desserts.

Vandewater compares Provisions Lot F to franchise cafes such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts by highlighting the flexibility they are able to have. 

“I can make changes; if something is not selling or we’re not happy with something, I can change it that second and we can go after something better,” Vandewater said. “I don’t have to go through multiple conversations and meetings and phone calls with people to figure something out.

“If we have to pull something from the menu, it doesn’t have to go through corporate. We have the flexibility here to do whatever we want and to tailor it to our customers. We have a personal relationship with them, and I know them. I see them, sometimes, more than my own family.”

Switching over to Provisions Lot F from The Cafe, Vandewater found the ability to do something new, different and very refreshing. 

“I really enjoy everything I do here,” Vandewater said. “I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of showing somebody a really good experience and exceeding their expectations.”

He shared a story about why he loves the customers as Provisions Lot F, telling about a memorable couple that had come in for their anniversary. The couple had to wait for a table for a long time, and they were very understanding about the situation.

Later in the night, Vandewater decorated an anniversary plate for their dessert, and he really enjoyed being able to surprise them in that way and create a special experience for them that exceeded their expectations. 

“I really enjoyed that; I enjoy showing people a great time,” Vandewater said.

Vandewater finds the personal experience of Provisions Lot F as a huge advantage to franchise cafes because they are in control of it and they know the people who are coming in every day.

“Everything in this place has been touched and thought out by the people who own it and run it, and we’re the ones here every day doing it,” Vandewater said.