Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 19, 2010

Road Food Report: Cedar Street Cafe

Barista Carla makes drinks and small talk---in German---for two visitors from Austria

Opening a cafe wasn’t top of mind when Carla Cheuvront and her husband moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from Chicago almost six years ago. With work he could do anywhere there’s an internet connection, the couple chose to uproot from the Windy City for a different way of life—one that included easy access to Lake Michigan.

When I met Carla she took a break from meeting with a couple of other members of the city's Sesquicentennial planning committee at her sidewalk cafe

They chose Manistique, and in September Carla will celebrate the second anniversary of her Cedar Street Cafe and Coffee House in the beautiful downtown Emerald City (I need to research how it got that nickname).

Her cafe concept for from-scratch cooking using lots of local products was new for the downtown strip, although there is another tasty spot, the Upper Crust Cafe, at the marina, that is a bit different from most diners you’ll find across the UP.

Carla took over a traditional, coffee shop-type restaurant and did a major renovation, stripping the walls down to the brick and decorating with the work of local artists in monthly changing shows.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s a full coffee bar menu and free WiFi, so you’re welcome to stop in just for a java, too.

The half dozen breakfast choices are straightforward: bacon and eggs, omelet, breakfast burrito. And the tempting Decadent French Toast. When I stopped by Carla was sampling the housemade vanilla cream sauce that’s served on its side.

Sandwiches, wraps and salads dominate the lunch menu but dinner is of the full, sit down variety with a choice of seafood, beef, and specials. Check the Cedar Street Facebook page for updates.

It was little early for lunch when I was there so I took a Greek Chicken Wrap to go, but passed on the fries, which two people in town had raved about.

I thought they’d get cold by the time I’d stop to eat lunch at one of the state parks I was going to pass on my route. But the aroma of that sandwich was overpowering and I ended up munching it soon after I’d left Manistique in my rear view mirror. Shoulda had the fries.

From city slicker six years ago, Carla has gotten involved in the community in a big way with planning Manistique’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, which continues through the summer. She’s also busy with a new community memorial fountain that just broke ground with the help of Governor Granholm.

I asked Carla about the changes in Manistique, which I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, and whether her friends from Chicagoland had followed her to the UP, sparking the new Jack’s grocery store and boom in lakeshore home construction.

She laughed and said that new folks had indeed discovered the area, and that, “Some are from Chicago, some from below the (Mackinac) Bridge. Hey, it’s just a really great place to be.”

Manistique seems to suit her well and I would have loved to have chatted more, but she had a Governor’s appearance to prep for. And then there’s that little thing called Cedar Street Cafe to run; Wednesday is Mexican Fiesta night. Ole!

Visitor Info Click: Manistique

Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation Association

Travel Michigan:

I visited Cedar Street Cafe at that in-between breakfast and lunch hour



  1. How delightful! I love places like this – maybe someday I’ll have one of my own and you can come visit 🙂 Cedar Street sounds like one more reason to go to Manistique!

    There’s a cool little coffee shop like that in Twin Lakes up here though I can’t remember the name of it :{

    • I had that coffee shop dream many years ago. Never too late!?!?!

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