Blue Plate Cafe, Union Pier Michigan
Today was another day filled with simple journeys into the Michiana area. Michiana is quickly becoming a weekly respite for me and mine. It is a definite trip back in time. A time when things were much simpler. Below are two of the representations of local "simple" treasures. Blue Plate Cafe, in Union Pier Michigan and Ben Franklin 5-10 store in Bridgeman Michigan.
Our day began with a drive east on route 12. We passed by New Buffalo (another favorite get-away) and on to Red Arrow Highway. The leaves are quickly turning and our path was adorned with the multitude of autumn hues. First stop, Blue Plate Cafe for breakfast. A brightly painted building next to a museum and post office. As we walked into the restaurant to the left was the kitchen staff cooking away, along with a day's worth of fresh pastries, sweet treats and other goodies. Sitting on the bench by the hostess station was one of the owner surrounded with little girls. It was a joy to see three little girls, all with aprons on (see my story about Momma's apron and you will see why that was a fascination) learning the restaurant trade alongside of a woman that I believe was their Momma. They were sweet, innocent, much like the unassuming, but tasteful decor of the restaurant.
We ordered caramel apple french toast, and a carb-buster breakfast, which consisted of 3 chicken sausages, 3 strips of bacon and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and leeks. The waiter graciously asked us if we were sharing. We affirmed that, yes, we were indeed. What was delivered was the meal specially divided with equal portions. Now, you do not see that very often, do you. You see one of the benefits of dining at a Mom and Pop establishment is the special touches, the break away from corporate portions. I seek out the independent owner operations whenever I can. The Blue Plate Cafe in Union Pier Michigan is indeed one of my favorites. We were overjoyed when we found out that it is open year round.
Next it was a nice drive up into Bridgeman, then Stevensville and finally St. Joseph Michigan. As we entered Bridgeman we stumbled upon a piece of our childhoods. An authentic Ben Franklin 5 and dime. We were greeted by two older ladies, who quickly asked if there was anything they could help us find. Both Steve and I did find little treasures. The simplicity of the store was just as I remembered. Just enough to provide necessities, with a few little extras. Not too much though. So often I find myself lost with all of the choices. I have come to loathe the large super stores. I feel overwhelmed and quite often frustrated by the selections that the vastness of it all. We spent a long time walking around and memorizing all that they had too offer. I reacquainted myself with the fabric section and remembered all the pretty dresses I made for my daughters. I almost bought an apron pattern to make my grand-daughter her first apron, one to match her MeMe. Then I almost bought a little dress pattern to make her a dress for Christmas. Then I remembered that I would have to have time to sew them, so I rethought my purchase, well at least for now.
Both Steve and I made our little purchases. Exiting the store we both had smiles on our faces and excitement that not all the representations of our youth have disappeared.
The one thing that we both took note of was the order of the small towns leading up to St. Joseph along Red Arrow Highway. Everything was so crisp and clean, so, refreshing. Just the way Saturdays should be.
Ben Franklin 5 - 10 Bridgman Michigan