Fresh food tastes different, looks different, and feels different.
Photos by Jeremy Gonsior
It was obvious from the moment I arrived at Pennyroyal Cafe and Provisions (3319 Blue Star Hwy) in Saugatuck that I had left the typical West Michigan dining scene behind and was about to embark on a culinary adventure. The restaurant, which opened in April 2019, uses ingredients from their own farm in Fennville and a network of more than 20 other local farms.
“My partner Ryan and I started the restaurant because we wanted somewhere that was farm-centric and the farming community in southwest Michigan is truly amazing,” said Chef/Owner Missy Corey, the 2012 winner of the Food Network show “Chopped.”
My son and I chose an outdoor table on this cooler Sunday afternoon because the back patio area was alive. Plants everywhere. The leaves were changing colors. Music was playing in the distance.
We nestled close to the warm patio heater and were soon greeted by a pleasant waitress, Gaby. She guided us through the daytime menu, available from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. It includes breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, and lunch items.
“The menu changes with the seasons which makes us unique,” Corey said. “We have menu staples but lots of items are constantly changing or getting seasonal updates.”
We settled on drinks: milk for my son, the Morning Buzz for me. The latter is a delicious cocktail consisting of bourbon, cold brew, turbinado (a brown sugar), and orange bitters. It tasted like a sweeter, highly caffeinated Old Fashioned.
What a start.
Then it was time to select our Sunday brunch meal. My son ordered a stack of three plain pancakes and a plate of bacon a la carte. The smoked whitefish options — the croissant, the salad, and the melt — all caught my eye. Gaby steered me to the Whitefish Melt: pickled peppers, swiss, and smoked whitefish on rye bread.
While waiting for our food, we soaked up the good vibes. Soon our meal arrived, piping hot. The presentation was on point and we couldn’t wait to dig in.
My first bite of the melt was unforgettable. All of my taste buds were awakened at once because the sandwich had a hot, spicy kick. The fries were perfectly crisp.
One seat over, my son was devouring his meal. He described the huge pancakes as light and fluffy, while the bacon was greasy and crispy, just the way he likes them.
When our meals were finished, we didn’t want to leave. But we waved goodbye, confident we would come back and that many Saugatuck visitors will savor Pennyroyal for years to come.