Toni’s is a few blocks off U.S. 41, the main road leading up through the Keweenaw Peninsula. We likely never would have found it if an enthusiast we met down in Houghton hadn’t told us that we needed to detour there for the nisu and saffron breads. Those loaves, which are made by many Finnish bakeries in northernmost Michigan, were just a few of the wondrous eats to be had at Toni’s.
Sticky buns, for example. We smelled them the moment we walked in the front door. Three big round loaves of pull-apart buns were set upon the glass bakery case to cool. Each roll severed from the motherloaf was modest-sized but big-flavored. Just inside the front door, to the left, we peeked into the semi-open kitchen, where bakers were rolling dough on a floured table and another woman was plowing forearm-deep to hand-mix a big pan full of ingredients destined to be the filling of pasties. Toni’s pasties are exemplary, light and elegant yet profoundly beefy.
It was late fall when we stopped in. The modest, one-room cafe was buzzing with conversations among locals who were reminiscing about the summer and anticipating the snows to come. When we ordered pasties, the waitress beamed with pride and exclaimed, “The best, ever!” We left with bags full of oven-warm molasses cookies to munch as we drove.
Note: Toni’s closes just before Christmas and reopens at the end of January.