Chase your cares away at the Blue Plate Café

Published 5:24 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

Multigrain pancakes with fruit are on the diverse menu at Blue Plate Cafe. Photo by Kathleen Schwarz


Blue Star Highway

As I stepped in the door of the Blue Plate Cafe in Union Pier, Mich., a lively kitchen, friendly staff, full tables and the delicious aroma of fresh-baked goods greeted me.

Blue Plate is owned by Linda Beck, a longtime lover of southwest Michigan. Originally from Ohio, Linda and her husband, Howard, used to vacation in Michigan on weekends. Fourteen years ago, when a piece of property opened up, she knew she wanted to start a restaurant.

Such was the birth of the Blue Plate Cafe.

The word “colorful” describes it mildly; while the outside of the building is painted in vibrant reds and greens, the inside is equally attractive with bright orange walls and blue trim.

“It’s very eye-catching,” said my friend, Liz, who makes a living as an art teacher. “Red and green are complementary colors.”

The food is just as colorful as the location is—which speaks to the absolute freshness of all their ingredients. Our server, Ryan, recommended the Blue Plate’s original watermelon lemonade to drink, a refreshing thirst-quencher for a hot summer day.

And with a menu offering breakfast all day, you certainly don’t want to pass up on the blueberry pancakes. Even the multi-grain pancakes were light, fluffy and delicious — words not often associated with multi-grain pancakes.

Blue Plate’s selection could be described as comfort food, but a step above — tastes that remind you of home, with a little something extra.

Liz went for the tarragon chicken salad sandwich. While chicken salad is normally the “safe” selection among a myriad of mystery meats, the Blue Plate’s chicken salad was, according to Liz, “definitely above average.”

Made with Amish chicken, fresh tomatoes and alfalfa, and seasoned with aromatic tarragon leaves, the Blue Plate chicken salad sandwich stands above all others.

With vegetarians in mind, I tried the fresh mozzarella sandwich. Talk about mouth-watering! This sandwich combined nearly all of my favorite things: mozzarella, avocado, tomato, sprouts and pesto. These ingredients tend to make for a bit of a mess—but a tasty, worthwhile mess.

While vegetarian options usually seem like an afterthought at most restaurants, this sandwich was easily the best vegetarian sandwich I’d ever had while dining out, and on the menu are plenty of other veggie options to choose from.

Blue Plate prepares everything “from scratch, using our very own recipes and the best organic, seasonal, and local products available.” Indeed, Linda prides herself on buying as much as possible from local growers.

Even the meat used in her recipes is purchased from the local butcher down the road. Linda told me that her menu tends to change every three or four months according to what’s in season, which is why the Red Haven Peach Crisp is a popular dessert choice right now.

Blue Plate is a leisurely little cafe great for families and friends. So if you’re feeling blue (or not), stop in. You’re sure to leave happy — and full.

Blue Plate Cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a look at the full breakfast, lunch and bakeshop menus, or to see some of Linda’s own original recipes, visit