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Brandon Baltzley Planning Joy of Cooking Concept for SW Michigan Cafe

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Before Brandon Baltzley's literal farm-to-table restaurant TMIP opens in Michigan City, IN, he will take over Soe Cafe in nearby Sawyer, MI for a few months. Beginning January 17, Baltzley and his crew will serve dinner Friday and Saturday and run Sunday brunch service. The menu inspiration? Home cooking bible The Joy of Cooking, which is about as far away from what TMIP will be as you can get.

"It's pretty much all focused on 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s Americana food. We're going to run a menu that will change every week, but it will all be 99% from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. Inspired by the oddball recipes from that book. We'll tweak them a little bit to make them nicer," Baltzley says. The menu will change from week to week, so pay attention to Soe Cafe's Facebook page.

The opportunity for Baltzley and crew to take over the presently closed Soe Cafe turned out to be a blessing. As the kitchen team is now all in place and on the farm, this will provide them with something to do in the lead up to opening in April.

"There's a lot to do here but there's also not a lot to do here. When we start full blown construction on the kitchen we're not going to be able to cook food for awhile. I don't want to have a crew here being bored and just doing manual labor," he says. "This is going to be fairly non-stressful. The whole concept is going to be fun."

So what can people expect from the menu? Appetizers, which will range in price from $6 to $12, will include pig tails, smoked herring and Scotch egg. Dinner will have homey dishes such as fried chicken, stuffed cabbage and beef stew, and will range in price from $12 to $24. For those that want to feel even more like they're in an episode of Mad Men, the drink menu will include such classics as White Russians, Tom Collins and Negronis.

Reservations for Soe Cafe, which can be made by calling 508-367-9762, are highly encouraged as Baltzley states they'e capping attendance to 40 people per night (but they gladly welcome walk-ins if space is available). Friday and Saturday service will be from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. with a bar menu offered from 10 p.m. until 12 a.m. Sunday brunch hours are 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

As for TMIP, Baltzley says they have decided to serve both lunch and dinner, featuring the same menu for both. Right now the plan is to do two dinner services a night, ten guests per service. Look for more details on TMIP as the April opening draws nearer.
· All Brandon Baltzley & TMIP Coverage [~ECHI~]
· TMIP [Official Site]
· Soe Cafe [Official Site]
Soe Cafe [Photo: Facebook]

Soe Cafe

12868 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer, MI