MacKenzie’s Cafe & Bakery – Portage
J and I have a little trip coming up (don’t worry, you’ll be jealous and you’ll read all about it when we get back), so I had to run a couple errands in preparation for our little excursion.
J decided to come with me because she figured we could just pick up lunch while we were out. Neither of us were any help when it came to actually picking a place. I didn’t have a taste for anything in particular and neither did she. After thinking about it, I suggested Culver’s and she agreed, but as I turned out of the mall and back on to Westnedge, I remembered a cafe that we saw a couple weeks ago.
MacKenzie’s Cafe & Bakery has three locations in the Kalamazoo metro. Two of those are in Kalamazoo while the third is in Portage. That’s the one we went to.
The Portage store is in the strip mall next to Sam’s Club on the corner of Westnedge and Romence. It sits right next to a sub shop which was tempting, but I thought going to a local bakery would provide us with a better choice of sandwiches.
The first thing I have to say is MacKenzie’s is not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting a great bakery with fresh breads and pastry items. That part of it I found. What I didn’t find was a cute cafe that serves up exceptional sandwiches.
The cafe is pretty small with just a few tables and a counter near the back of the space with pastries and desserts. J and I headed for the counter unable to find a lunch menu. We saw some breakfast items listed on a sheet of paper, but nothing for lunch. J asked for a lunch menu and they pointed us to a cooler along the wall. All the sandwiches are pre-made and the choice is pretty limited.
Since we were already there, we headed over to the cooler to see if there was anything that looked good. All the sandwiches are on a small paper plate and wrapped in plastic wrap. I found a Turkey and Provolone that sounded alright to me, so I picked it up for myself. J grabbed one that was made on a bread with cranberries baked in to it. All we could see on it was turkey and cheese, but we both knew there was something else and there was no sign telling us what it was. She got brave and grabbed it anyway because it was the only thing that looked good to her.
As we headed back to the cashier to pay, she saw a little square of pie in the pastry case and got that as well. Our pre-made sandwiches and a slice of pie cost us over $15. Way more than I was wanting to pay at that point.
We grabbed our sandwiches to go and headed home. The drawback to pre-making sandwiches is not being able to customize. For instance, I don’t like mayo. There’s no way to leave mayo off a sandwich that was already made. My sandwich did have mayo on it, but it was in the cooler and it almost froze. I dealt with it and really couldn’t even taste it was ok. The other parts of the sandwich were turkey, a thick slice of provolone cheese, and lettuce on fresh baked bread. It was a delicious sandwich despite the mayo, but I really would have preferred it been made to order.
J’s sandwich was interesting. We could tell there was something on her sandwich other than turkey and cheese, but we couldn’t tell what. When we got home and unwrapped it, we figured out the turkey was wrapped around coleslaw. She said the sandwich was actually really good and she even liked the cranberry bread. The downfall, again, was the time in which the sandwich was made. The coleslaw had soaked through the bottom piece of the bread making it soggy and hard to eat.
MacKenzie’s was a disappointment only because it wasn’t what we were expecting. As a cafe, I can safely say we won’t be going back. I would feel better about spending that much on a sandwich if I knew how long it had been sitting there. The sandwiches were both very delicious. I’m just not a fan of the way it’s presented. I’ve always heard that MacKenzie’s was one of the best bakeries in town and I’m not judging that side of the business since that wasn’t the focus of our visit. It’s a place I would really like to love, but right now, it’s not doing much for me.