three generations of women owners

ONTONAGON, Mich. (WLUC) — Pastries and donuts are two popular items at Syl’s Café, a family business in Ontonagon.

It has been passed down through three generations of women and was first opened in 1972. Current owner Kathy Wardynski says she follows the original recipes from her grandmother, who opened the cafe.

“It’s really neat to be able to check out a cookbook there and follow recipes that are still written in my grandmother’s handwriting,” Wardynski said.

Wardynski says everything from homemade bread to basic soup recipes was passed down to her, though she had to make some adjustments.

“My grandmother had recipes, but she didn’t really follow them. So the first thing I had to do when I took over the restaurant was write down the recipes with what she put in there. We had a recipe for Molasses Cookies where she said it was four cups of flour, but in fact it was four full cups.

The recipes are extremely popular among Ontonagon residents, who appreciate the restaurant’s authenticity.

“It’s been an institution in this community for so many years and for generations. Every generation is just wonderful,” said client Lois Gregory.

This June 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of coffee. Wardynski also says it was an honor for her to continue what her grandmother started.

“She only went to school until eighth grade and was able to start a business like this which was able to run for almost 50 years. It is a source of pride for me to be able to follow in his footsteps.

Wardynski is opening another business called the Squeeze on Main, it will be a juice and smoothie bar. She plans to follow her family’s tradition and pass it on to her daughters.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement