For more than 20 years, Bob and Mary Keedy have been toasting residents and visitors to Petoskey with their signature coffee drinks.
But it almost didn’t happen. Good thing mother knows best. When the Michigan natives decided to move back home from Georgia, they brought their love of fresh roasted coffee with them, almost opening a coffee shop in Novi, Mich.
Until Mary Keedy’s parents, who had earlier moved to Alden, said that simply wouldn’t work.
“Mom said we had to move up north,” she said with a laugh.
And it was mom who actually discovered the location in Petoskey, formerly home to a kitchen supply store.
Like many coffee shops and cafes, Roast and Toast enjoys a fairly steady stream of business, from the morning jolt crowd to the lunch bunch.
Mary Keedy she “loves” her diverse customers.
“We get teens, moms with young kids, business people,” she said. “People can come in alone, or come and check their email.”
Though their first season was good, the Keedys were warned that after Labor Day, their business would “die.”
But that wasn’t the case, Mary Keedy said.
“On Labor Day all the locals were in,” she said. “It was like a party, with a real nice vibe.”
The couple began to believe the naysayers might be wrong.
“My husband and I caught each other’s eye,” she said. “We thought, this might turn out to be okay.”
The menu includes coffee drinks and flavored syrups. Keedy says the menu changes a bit from winter to summer, as many of the hot chocolate drinks are set aside in favor of iced coffees.
Roast and Toast also offers teas, freshsqueezed lemonade, French and Italian sodas, fruit juices, and yogurt-based fruit smoothies.
On the cafe side, Mary Keedy says they prepare four soups daily, one of which is always vegetarian. Salads include a Cajun chicken salad with mixed greens and fresh veggies tossed in honey Dijon dressing.
Sandwiches include a grilled chicken gyro; veggie pita; peppered turkey with Swiss cheese, sundried tomato pesto mayo and roasted red peppers; an avocado BLT and many others that can be served on whole wheat, rye, sourdough, or vegetable bread. There are three wraps on the menu as well.
The dinner menu (labeled “After 2pm”) includes chicken potpie, roasted vegetable lasagna, spinach ricotta stuffed shells, and shepherd’s pie.
Mary Keedy says the most popular cafe items are the turkey avocado club and the Lake Street salad. The former includes turkey, bacon, tomato, onion, avocado, and leaf lettuce, while the latter features mixed greens with dried cherries, toasted pecans, grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese.
She says the homemade dressings are the secret to their popularity.
“We make our own deli sauce [for the sandwich], and the lemon-cherry vinaigrette is home made,” she said.
Of the coffees, she cites the Dirty Irishman as the best of the best, a blend of coffee with crème de cocoa and Irish creme syrups with espresso, topped with whipped cream.
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As the name implies, the beans are roasted and ground on site. While that’s been the case since it opened, Mary Keedy says the business has changed in the 20-plus years Roast and Toast has been serving Petoskey.
Coffee drinkers for one have become more sophisticated, ordering cappuccinos, espressos, and chai lattes.
But to her mind, the biggest and the best change has been in their ability to use and serve local foods.
“It’s gotten to be a lot easier,” she said. “We get lots of produce from Bill’s Farm Market, our [beverage] syrups from Northwoods Soda. Cherry Capital Foods makes it easier as well.”
Coffee starts at $1.90 for a small cup; cappuccinos at $3.05. Sandwiches and salads both start at $6.25, though the house side salad is $5.25. The dinner menu starts at $7.75.
Roast and Toast is located at 309 E. Lake St. in downtown Petoskey. It’s open seven days from 7am-9pm. For more, call (231) 347-7767, or visit roastandtoast.com or its Facebook page.