After 25 Years of Roasting, Great Coffee Doesn’t Just Happen
PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN | MAY 2018 – There’s a month-long celebration at Roast & Toast Coffee & Café beginning May 1, and it’s a big one! What’s all the fuss, you may wonder? Mary and Bob Keedy, owners of Roast & Toast are celebrating their 25th year in business, which opened in downtown Petoskey in 1993.
How did the Keedys, who were living in Georgia, choose northern Michigan? Explains Mary, “We were committed to specialty coffee – specifically roasting our own – and decided to start our own business. We had maps spread out all over the kitchen table. We looked at Petoskey and thought it was way the heck up there. But, after looking into the schools and visiting the space, we decided we would just go for it.”
With their savings and all their own resources, Bob and Mary moved their young family to the area and started one of only two roasters in northern Michigan. Bob had trained in New York City and for the next fifteen years honed his craft at Roast & Toast, developing the philosophy that “Great Coffee Doesn’t Just Happen.” Chuckie Grooters, now head roaster at the café, apprenticed under Bob and has been roasting since 2007.
Explains Bob, “Using carefully selected beans from around the world, we roast according to bean profile, create blends, and conduct small batch techniques to maintain a selection of freshly roasted varieties.” Commendable, Bob adds, “We never sell coffee more than two weeks old. Any coffee inventory roasted over two weeks prior is donated to Brother Dan’s Food Pantry in Petoskey.”
In addition to house-roasted coffee, Roast & Toast prides itself on quality food offerings. From baked goods to salad dressings, from hand-cut sandwich meats to breads — everything is made in-house using ingredients from local purveyors whenever possible and in season. Patrons can dine in, take out or have events catered. “We proudly support local purveyors and farmers,” explains Mary. For example, Bill’s Farm Market supplies fresh in-season produce, Alden Mill House supplies custom spice blends, Great Lakes Potato Chips garnish sandwich offerings, Maple Moon Sugarbush and Winery sweetens morning pancakes with maple syrup, Plath’s Meats‘ bacon is found on sandwiches and breakfast favorites, and Northwoods Soda & Syrup supplies specialty coffee drink flavors and a variety of sodas, to name only a few.
In 2001, Roast & Toast expanded to include the Burns Professional Building location (now McLaren Medical Office Building). “We are very grateful to the medical and hospital community for their continued support. And, as the hospital grows, we are looking forward to doing the same with them,” says Mary.
Part of the success of Roast & Toast’s 25-year milestone is due to its long-standing, dedicated staff and their community partnerships. Ben Walker, General Manager and Partner, started with the company in 2001 after he frequented the café so often, the Keedys offered him a job. “Roast & Toast was my introduction to the local community. I wanted to move to Alaska, but after starting work here, I fell in love with Petoskey.”
Throughout the years, the Keedys have supported the community. Proceeds from the sale of their burlap coffee bags, for example, support Manna Food Project. In conjunction with Emmet County Recycling, all coffee grounds are recycled into the food scrap program, avoiding the landfill. Through the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Community Foundation, they support The Café Society, a fund created by artist William Hosner to provide baristas and coffee employees with college scholarship opportunities. It’s no surprise why they attract multiple generations of family members to staff their café.
Now, 25 years later, the Keedys couldn’t imagine living or operating a business anywhere but in Petoskey. “We are thankful for our business, for life, for kids, for people. We can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring,” concludes Mary.
The anniversary kick-off celebration begins Tuesday, May 1, with $2.50 Latté Day. Weekly drawings will be held throughout the month. Curbside Cappuccino, where discounted drinks will be made outside, and Throwback Thursdays, with 90’s music and old menu offerings, are part of the festivities. Roaster Tours offered on May 4 and May 18 at 10am give guests an inside look at the art of roasting. Interested in learning more about coffee – from brewing differences to bean origins? Make a reservation for the Coffee Tasting event on May 11; it’s only $15 and includes a complimentary coffee mug.
Roast & Toast is located on Lake Street downtown Petoskey and in the McLaren Medical Office Building adjacent to the hospital. Roast & Toast is part of the Wineguys Restaurant Group collection, with sister restaurants City Park Grill and Palette Bistro, also in downtown Petoskey.