Ithaca, MI

Sweet and Savory -- The Hearthstone Oven in Ithaca is All About Comfort Food

Tracy Stengel

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Photo via The Hearthstone Oven FaceBook page.

Heading to Northern Michigan is a pleasure any time of year, but there’s nothing like making a stop for comfort food when the weather turns crisp. Upon the recommendation of a friend, my husband and I recently discovered The Hearthstone Oven Bakery & Café, just a mile or so off 127 when taking the Ithaca exit.

We arrived at 10:35 AM — the sweet spot for a couple whose tastes differ. My husband’s favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I prefer lunch. Between 10:30 AM and 11 AM, Hearthstone Oven serves both. Jackpot!

Upon entry to the cozy Mennonite-owned restaurant, I felt like I was visiting a long-lost grandma’s home. My sense of smell and sight were delighted with the aromas of coffee, maple syrup, and homemade apple pie. Fresh baked goods were beautifully displayed. There were cookies, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and other sugary confections skillfully topped with whipped cream or icing. I forced myself to walk away from the pie case, only to pass a rack full of freshly baked bread loaves for sale.

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Sweet tooth, anyone?Photo via The Hearthstone Oven FaceBook page.

Once we were seated, I my eyes roved over the extensive lunch menu. I had my pick of a traditional burger or creative alternatives like the quesadilla burger, a 1/3 lb. hand-pattied fresh ground beef burger, topped with pepper jack cheese, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and mexi-ranch sauce, all in a grilled tortilla. But I couldn’t skip over the chicken bacon Caesar wrap, Reuban, or Club. And then I saw the paninis! I tried to curb my mounting appetite and convince myself I should order one of the salads, like the chef or seasoned chicken. Then I saw the taco salad … decisions, decisions.

My husband labored over the breakfast menu, oscillating between the breakfast burrito, French toast, or biscuits and gravy. “You know the gravy is homemade too, right?” he said, his blue eyes sparkling.

I was still debating over the which of the two daily soups to try. On Fridays, they have Chicken Tortilla and Clam Chowder.

I ended up ordering the Spicy Chicken Ranch sandwich topped with bacon, jalapenos, queso cheese lettuce, tomato, with ranch dressing on a fresh butterhorn and the Chicken Tortilla soup. Throughout the meal, my belly did a happy dance.

My husband had the Deluxe Omelet, a decadent combination of ham, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and cheese. He had his choice of toast — and get this — they have English Muffin toast. Toast! “It tastes just like an English Muffin,” he said, “but better, because there is more surface area.” Yum!

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Check out the variety of cookies!Photo courtesy of the author.

On the way out, we purchased a loaf of the English Muffin bread to enjoy the rest of our Northern Michigan vacation. Had we been staying at a cabin or lodge with an efficiency, we could have selected from the homemade “take and bake” casseroles. The selection includes Creamy Chicken Penne, Cheesy Beef Enchiladas, Meatloaf, and Lasagna.

The next time you are heading up to beautiful Northern Michigan, give The Hearthstone Oven Bakery & Café in Ithaca a try. The hospitality, service, and “made from scratch” food will fill your bellies and warm your heart. They are located at 126 S. Pine, Ithaca, Michigan. Their hours are Monday — Friday from 6:30 AM — 4 PM and Saturday 6:30 AM — 3 PM. They are closed on Sundays.

If you’ve been to The Hearthstone Oven Bakery, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI
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