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Sweet Water Cafe

517 N. Third St., Marquette, MI - (906) 226-7009
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/6/2011 5:14:00 AM
Many great Roadfood restaurants are blue-collar diners, dives, and truck stops. We tend not to gravitate to eateries with vegetarian proclivities, where the menu boasts of the "integrity" of natural ingredients, fair-trade coffees, and gluten-free options. Not that there's anything wrong with all that stuff, but usually the food is pretty blah and without much regional character.

But we shall not hold Sweet Water Cafe's elevated consciousness against it. We would inscribe this cheerful place in our little black book if only for its wonderful homemade breads and for the locally-made maple spread offered at breakfast. Maple trees are part of what make Michigan's Upper Peninsula so beautiful in the fall, and syrup made from their sap is as big a deal here as it is in New England. In addition to providing it for pouring on French toast and pancakes and to sweeten yogurt in the morning, Sweet Water offers (at $3 extra) a ramekin full of spreadable maple paste about the consistency of peanut butter. Applied thickly to house-made three-grain toast, it is a veritable maple orgy. We also like it dolloped on hot winter grain cereal and even on grilled potatoes.

Sweet Water's menu promises that everything is a cut above normal. Burgers come from naturally raised local beef and are served on made-here oatmeal wheat buns. Bacon in the BLT comes from Vollwerth's of Hancock, Michigan. Fruit salad is freshly cut. The grilled cheese sandwich is available with cafe pesto. While it is an especially good place for breakfast, one non-breakfast meal we recommend is Lake Superior whitefish. The day we came to dinner it was baked just-so, leaving the freshwater jewel heavy with moisture and sweet lake flavor. It came sprinkled with lemon pepper atop a bed of buttery limp spinach leaves and it was crowned with a globe of melting herb butter.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Maple Spread
Hot Winter Grain Cereal
Baked Whitefish
3-Seed Toast
Autumn Salad
European Hot Cocoa
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Maple spread slathered on toast made from slices of three-seed bread is an unbeatable way to start the day.
"Maple spread slathered on toast made from slices of three-seed bread is an unbeatable way to start the day."
Michael Stern





The dinner menu offers whitefish prepared several ways. This is the simplest: baked, with herb butter melting on top. Whitefish at its finest!
"The dinner menu offers whitefish prepared several ways. This is the simplest: baked, with herb butter melting on top. Whitefish at its finest!"
Michael Stern


Hot winter grain cereal includes oatmeal, wheat berries, brown rice, millet, cranberries, raisins, and toasted almonds. It comes with brown sugar and milk to apply as desired.
"Hot winter grain cereal includes oatmeal, wheat berries, brown rice, millet, cranberries, raisins, and toasted almonds. It comes with brown sugar and milk to apply as desired."
Michael Stern


Autumn salad includes roasted root vegetables along with lettuce and blue cheese. That's house-made sourdough at the back of the plate. It is made from a starter brought from San Francisco in the early 1990s.
"Autumn salad includes roasted root vegetables along with lettuce and blue cheese. That's house-made sourdough at the back of the plate. It is made from a starter brought from San Francisco in the early 1990s."
Michael Stern


From Bark River, Michigan, maple spread is fabulous on Sweet Water's toast; the menu also recommends it as a coffee sweetener. It is so intensely delicious, I'd be happy eating it straight, with a spoon.
"From Bark River, Michigan, maple spread is fabulous on Sweet Water's toast; the menu also recommends it as a coffee sweetener. It is so intensely delicious, I'd be happy eating it straight, with a spoon."
Michael Stern


Alas, there was no whipped cream the morning I ordered European Hot Cocoa, but the combo of steamed chocolate milk and Dutch chocolate was eminently drinkable nonetheless.
"Alas, there was no whipped cream the morning I ordered European Hot Cocoa, but the combo of steamed chocolate milk and Dutch chocolate was eminently drinkable nonetheless."
Michael Stern


Restaurant, bakery, and bar, Sweet Water Cafe serves breakfast every day and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
"Restaurant, bakery, and bar, Sweet Water Cafe serves breakfast every day and dinner Wednesday through Sunday."
Michael Stern


Thill's Fish House, down by the Marquette waterfront, is where most local restaurants get their seafood. It was the lady behind the counter who recommended we try the whitefish at Sweet Water Cafe.
"Thill's Fish House, down by the Marquette waterfront, is where most local restaurants get their seafood. It was the lady behind the counter who recommended we try the whitefish at Sweet Water Cafe."
Michael Stern



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