By Loren Shaum
Lake Country has plenty of options if you want a caffeine fix, and some stores offer more than just coffee. From what I’ve learned, you won’t go wrong with any of them.
There are no less than six private boutiques, plus a few chain stores. I’ve only visited Wire and Steam Coffee Co., The Light Rail Café and Roasters (one of the few that roast their own coffee) and Creighton’s Crazy Eggs Café and Coffee. The latter also serves an excellent breakfast. Try the Florentine sometimes. It’s a version of Eggs Benedict, but instead poached eggs are perched on spinach, Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon and a toasted English muffin. The kicker here is the homemade roasted red pepper aioli drizzled on top. This is one of the best breakfast foods in Lake Country!
Further up the road, Harvest Coffee and Market recently moved into the former Theresa’s Delectable building and tripled their space. This non-profit organization also sells fresh produce in the summer and has become something of a community center for young people.
They offer locally sourced coffees, espressos, lattes and teas. Teas are particularly great, and you can get them hot or cold. Last summer, ginger peach tea was very popular. It is full of flavor and very refreshing.
Whenever you order drinks, think of their freshly made sweets. Chocolate chip cookies are popular, but there are also muffins, cakes, bread, cheesecake, gluten-free options, and cinnamon rolls.
Bulk coffee is sold in the gift shop. It is roasted at Turning Point Alternative School near Ligonier.
Lake Country attracts over 10,000 additional people during the summer months. So, there’s a lot of desire for boutiques – especially cafes – and Syracuse has some good ones!
A favorite is The Coffee Depot. Kimmie and Dave McIIwain turned this garage into a mock railroad depot. They built a counter where servers access prepared meals from the small kitchen, added a gas fireplace, a dessert counter, and lots of railroad decor. The floor is a masterpiece of expertly selected laminated art-decor magazine pages. One wall is decorated with clocks indicating each of the four US time zones.
Coffees, lattes, mochas, other doses of caffeine and a few rather funky drinks – hot or cold – are on the menu. When the lakers arrive, the drive-up window becomes a high-traffic area.
Over the years, Kimie’s Bakery has brought Lake Country exceptional treats. She makes candies, cinnamon rolls, pies and breads. If you’re lucky when you visit, his peach pie is as good as any I’ve had. The crust is always light and flaky, and its filling is perfect!
But what sets The Coffee Depot apart is the eclectic menu that screams freshness. Breakfast items far exceed the usual local fare, and several are suitable for any upscale resort. In keeping with the railway theme, there are dishes like conductor, covered wagon, locomotive and others. There are also more conventional dishes, such as biscuits and house sauce. These are excellent!
The lunch menu also has some interesting items. Loaded baked potato soup is a constant, but there are also combos, salads, and a kids’ menu.
And, a train roars about every hour!
Down the street is another popular place for coffee, breakfast and lunch: Mug Shots. Located in the same building as Man Cave Brewing Co., they serve fresh Man Cave beers and will brew you a Bloody Mary, a mimosa or a dash of coffee. The drive-up window is always occupied.
Above Dewart Lake is the farmhouse kitchen and catering in the former Dewart Lake Inn. Besides coffee, they serve lattes and other high octane caffeine concoctions. On opening weekend last summer they served over 100 lattes of various types. And, you can still get a mimosa.
Focused on weekends, the menu features twelve dishes with biscuits and gravy being popular. Their homemade cheddar biscuits are smothered in sausage sauce and topped with two eggs. Just share!
Their donuts are also popular, and you can even get “all bacon” (order half a pound, if you like) or the double pork patty “brunch burger.”
If those choices aren’t enough, Brew City Roasting Co. opened last summer in the Village. Their sources of coffee are plantations owned, managed or family owned by women. The mission is to be community driven by offering additional products like Crystal Springs Creamery Milk, Pure Michigan Sugar and Great Lakes Certified Honey. They will reopen this month.
Visitors to Webster Lake pass or walk through The River Coffeehouse in the town castle. They grab one of their sandwiches and a coffee of their choice, then head to the Dixie for a boat ride. They offer organic and fair trade coffee from local suppliers. Fresh baked goods are also locally sourced. In the summer there is outdoor seating, but in the winter guests gather around the large stone fireplace. Some people stay for the day.
Besides the coffee, the selection of drinks is extensive. Mochas, lattes, chai, shakes, smoothies, espresso and cappuccino are some of their offerings.
Kimmel House Inn
If you want to step back in time, this circa 1876 house owned by Dean and Deb Stoops has become a Victorian bed and breakfast destination. They brew their coffee every morning and an antique piano serves as a coffee bar. It comes with Italian espresso, flavored coffees, and specialty sodas.
If you want a rustic breakfast, you can join the guests for a fabulous start to the day. Hot scones and fresh pastries are the inn’s specialty. The apricot scones are exceptional, and they are served with custard. Advance reservations are required,
Also available by reservation, the Victorian tradition of “High Tea” with the inn’s “Republic of Teas” collection. There are nearly sixty varieties of tea. The High Tea service also includes various tea sandwiches.
With the plethora of cafes available in Lake Country, one can always look for something different and will likely never be disappointed.