Eclectic bakery adds to Negaunee’s downtown district for decades
NEGAUNEE — In the heart of downtown Negaunee along Iron Street stands an eclectic blue building with red and orange trimming. Initially opened as an antique shop with a small bakery found in the back, the business grew into what’s now known as Midtown Bakery & Cafe, a popular destination for anyone who appreciates a variety of homemade items and a unique, welcoming atmosphere.
About 25 years ago Marybeth Kurtz, Midtown’s owner, moved to Negaunee from the Detroit area. After buying the building located at 317 Iron St. and opening shop in 1996, Kurtz has helped make the downtown district more vibrant by being a part of it.
“I moved here not knowing anyone or anything about the area,” Kurtz said. “I got involved in Girl Scouts early on, which I think helped people get to know me and me get to know the community, … and it’s been so fun. I feel very lucky that we’ve been able to be open for 20 years and have the community’s support.”
Midtown Bakery & Cafe serves a lunch menu throughout the day that consists of specialty sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages. There’s also offerings for children, as well as vegan and gluten-free options. Everything is fresh, made-to-order, and never frozen. However, since everything is made daily, there’s a limited supply of food prepared; so when popular items like the tomato basil parmesan soup are the daily special, Kurtz said she has a long list of people she calls to notify.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have such a good group of loyal customers,” she said. “I think because we bake everything from scratch, we don’t use any mixes or bases or frozen products, our clientele really appreciates that.”
Since it made an appearance on the public television show Under the Radar, Midtown Bakery & Cafe has been sought after for its “Almost World Famous Cheesecake.” Kurtz said show hosts visited Midtown more than a decade ago to try samples of the cheesecake, but to this day, people come in and say, “I saw this place on T.V.”
According to the bakery’s website, the award winning cheesecake recipe can be enjoyed in over 400 delicious flavors, including triple chocolate, strawberry raspberry, turtle, cookies and cream and chocolate peanut butter. The bakery asks that desserts be ordered several days ahead of time.
Over the years Kurtz and her team started catering for all sorts of events, including weddings, graduation parties and baby showers.
“I think people like us because we’re not the same ole same ole,” she said. “We’re more than happy and willing to be creative and fit whatever anyone’s looking for. We have menu ideas but we use it mostly as a jumping point and go from there.”
Midtown Bakery & Cafe has a comfortable space for groups, families and friends to gather, or individuals looking to relax and read a book while enjoying a delicious treat.
“We want it to be like home,” Kurtz said, smiling. “‘If you need anything just holler or get it yourself.’ We’re just kidding of course, but it’s fun. We don’t have people bus their (own) tables. Sometimes they try to bring their dishes to the counter and we tell them we’re going to have to hire them if they keep it up.”
Once the weather warms up and the snow melts, there will be outdoor seating along the building by the garden where Kurtz grows a variety of herbs for Midtown’s popular herb lemonade that’s available seasonally.
When asked what her favorite thing about owning a business is, Kurtz said it’s nice to be able to come to work every day and “know that you’re making people smile, and happy, and filling their bellies with good food and having fun while you do it.”
Midtown Bakery & Cafe hours of operations are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The bakery is closed Sundays and all major holidays.
For more information, visit Midtown’s website at midtownbakery.wixsite.com/midtown or its Facebook page for daily specials and updates.
Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.