Sweet Water Cafe & Bakery Serves Food With a Conscious

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Ann Marie Ede serves up an Orbit Pesto Sandwich and a Quinoa Spinach Salad made fresh at the Sweetwater Cafe Restaurant and Bakery in Marquette Michigan. ( photo by Ron Caspi)

Ann Marie Ede serves up an Orbit Pesto Sandwich and a Quinoa Spinach Salad made fresh at the Sweet Water Cafe Restaurant and Bakery in Marquette Michigan. (photo by Ron Caspi)

Marquette Michigan – Inception of the Sweet Water Cafe came about after the owners realized a lack of places to find healthy made from scratch food while dining out in the Marquette area. It was this that moved them to turn their own cooking philosophies into a restaurant featuring whole, real, and minimally processed food made the way they felt people were meant to eat.

In 1993 the Sweet Water Cafe was born; named twofold for the vast lake of freshwater the town sits beside and after the sap of the many sugar maple trees that populate the Upper Peninsula. Now more than 10 years since opening, their multicultural cuisine cafe and bakery has become a thriving stop along the bustling Third St. business district of Marquette. In the beginning, their reputation was built as a breakfast and lunch venue, but now you can get all three meals a day here as they also serve a varied dinner menu as well.

Our dining experience at the Sweet Water was satisfying all around. From the moment we stepped inside we felt at home, greeted by the warm smells of coffee and fresh baked goods. Sunlight flooded the rooms through long windows lining the walls and high vaulted ceilings contribute to an open airy feeling. The sounds of dishes, bells, and happy waitstaff voices chimed together in the background lending a musical quality to the atmosphere.


Melanie Danowski prepares homemade bread for baking at the Sweet Water Cafe. (photo by Ron Caspi)

Breakfast is served till 3pm every day so it was a difficult decision whether to go for a ‘build your own omelete’, or a plate of their infamous heurvos rancheros (both made with local eggs) or to leave the morning behind altogether and opt for some lunch fare. Their afternoon menu features several hearty salads and sandwiches with options for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. What a decision… we went with lunch this time and after becoming pleasantly full, were left wanting still more, a very good sign on a full stomach!

We shared the Quinoa Spinach Salad and an Orbit Pesto Sandwich between two and it was just right for a couple of moderate eaters. I only wish I had squeezed in a cup of their homemade soup (they make two a day) as well, but didn’t think of that till too late. Our food was simple and flavorful; the salad fresh and topped with a rich homemade tahini dressing alongside a made-from-scratch lentil patty in the pesto sandwich which melted in our mouths.

Want something unique to the area? Try their local spin on the classic Rueben made with Whitefish salad called the ‘Mackinac Rueben’. A highlight of their sandwiches is that all bread used on the menu is baked fresh in-house.

Need a drink to top off your meal? You won’t find any coca-cola here. Instead they serve fresh squeezed juices, organic coffee and tea, as well as, an array of unique corn syrup free beverages like ginger or root beer and the mint lemonade in the summer is a must.

As for dinner, you’ll find something for everyone on their menu which borrows from different cultural cuisines and sources meats from local farmers. The menu changes seasonally but always features 3 different types of Whitefish entrees as well as a chicken, beef, and vegetarian option. Don’t worry you won’t go thirsty either, they also serve wine, craft beers, and signature cocktails.

Says Sweet Water Cafe manager Grace Tillison, “Our chefs like to play with their food and we encourage that! We like food and we like that other people like it.” If you’re looking for food with a conscious made with love and thoughtfulness you won’t be disappointed. If not, stay on Hwy41 for the nearest cookie cutter food chain.

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