My first memory of cooking was at my mom’s side in Elgin, IL, smelling the large bubbling pot of marinara, simmering for hours on the gas stove, the wooden spoon balancing on the edge of the large pot. One of my brothers came into the kitchen wanting a taste, not able to contain himself and knowing he would get in trouble, he tore off a piece of bread and swiped it along the sweet-savory edge. At the nearby counter my mom and I were rolling out gnocchi with just the right amount of flour on the over-sized wooden board. She’d say, “look at momma, see how I put my hands like this…” her hands, side-by-side, delicately, but purposefully rolling out the long strands of dough. Then she used this now flour coated tiny paring knife with a dark wooden handle to cut the strands into little pillows. I wanted to do it just like her. All-the-while this going on she was humming songs like “Volare.”   Just one of our my many, many moments like this together.

When we were children playing outside after school, my mom would call out “Anthony, Gregory, Vivian, Mary Beth!” and we’d come running. Everyone always sat at the table for dinner. We had a nice salad, sometimes with dandelion greens she picked from the yard. She didn’t like iceberg, which everyone else was eating at that time, it didn’t have any flavor or nutrition, she said. Whatever we were having, it was nutritious and made with great care.

Luisa’s Café started with my mom her love of Michigan, it reminded her of hometown in Italy…by the water, rolling hills, vineyards, and orchards. She bought the Harbert Swedish Bakery in 2001 and had the dream of opening a restaurant attached to it.

Coming to this country from Italy at the age of fourteen, she brought with her cooking skills from home, along with a passion to nurture others. She carried with her the dream of opening her own restaurant. Less than a year after she bought the bakery she opened Luisa’s Café for lunch and dinner, Italian style. The work was overwhelming, running a bakery and a restaurant, so when she closed the restaurant for the season, she was going to close it for good.

This is where I come in … I was working in Chicago in the corporate world and wanted a change. I, like my mother, always had a passion for cooking and nurturing people. I used to travel a lot for work and often ate out for breakfast. I sought out the small, family-run cafes. They were hard to find. I thought one day I would open the type of café I was seeking. Using only fresh, natural, simple ingredients, served in a clean, friendly place.

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Served Thursday - Monday from 8 am – 2 pm.


Bakery Hours: Thursday - Monday from 7 am – 3 pm.


BAKERY ITEMS VARY DAILY

BREADS

Swedish Limpa
Swedish Rye
Open Hearth
Potato
Vienna w/ Poppy Seed or Sesame Seed
Buttercrust
Seven Grain
Country Rye
Italian Sour Dough
Julkaka (Seasonal)

COFFEE CAKES

Swedish Cardamon
3-in-1 (Cardamon, Cinnamon & Almond)
Cinnamon-Pecan
Cheese
Kringlor (Raspberry & Almond)
Cinnamon
Raspberry
Apricot
Blueberry

COOKIES

Chocolate Macaroons
Chocolate Chip & Pecan Rock
Salted Toffee
Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Chunk with Sea Salt
Ginger Molasses
Sugar

GLUTEN FREE

Brownies
Scones
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Macaroons

SWEET ROLLS/PASTRIES

Apricot
Cherry
Cheese
Custard
Blueberry
Raspberry
Cinnamon
Pecan
Caramel-Pecan

DONUTS

Plain
Cinnamon Sugar
Glazed
Chocolate
Sprinkled

KOLACHKI

Apricot
Blueberry
Raspberry

BISCOTTI

Anise-Almond
Chocolate-Pecan-Orange

AND MORE STUFF…

Apple Strudel
Croissants
Dinner Rolls
Onion Rolls
Elephant Ears
Eclairs
Napoleons (Summer Only)
Hot Cross Buns (Easter Only)

 
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Wake Up!

Proudly serving Intelligentsia & Dagger Mountain Coffee

Fresh Brew
Espresso
Americano
Cortado
Cafe AuLait
Cappuccino
Latte
Chai Latte
Matcha Latte
Con Panna
Hot Tea
Matcha Tea

 

Located in the heart of Harbor Country!

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WRITE US!

Phone:

(269) 469-9037

 

Location:

13698 Red Arrow Hwy.
Harbert, MI 49115

 

Hours:

Café
Thursday-Monday 8a-2p

Bakery
Thursday-Monday 7a-3p

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