Everything You Need to Know About Southwest Michigan's New All-Vegan Cafe

 

Edit: At this time, Water and Wheat Cafe's physical space has closed. While the owners, Josh and Kerry, plan for the future, they are keeping themselves busy in the meantime. You can expect to see many collaborations from the duo and several vegan events in West Michigan. They will also continue to take custom orders for baked goods and catering jobs featuring other vegan favorites. They remain active on social media, so be sure to follow them for updates. 

Husband and wife duo, Josh and Kerry, moved to the Watervliet area over two years ago for the beautiful and fruitful environment of West Michigan. They opened Water and Wheat, an all-vegan café, in November of 2017. With the help of Arclight Brewing owner, Dave Coyle, the café operates out of the brewery at this time, allowing for a brew-inspired menu. We had the chance to sit down with Josh and Kerry, and after a shorter-than-expected drive from Kalamazoo, we were in awe of the amazing café offerings available and future plans this duo has in store. From sweet treats to savory salads, Water and Wheat has something for everyone.

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For the coffee lover:

Josh and Kerry certainly know good coffee. The café uses Uncommon Coffee Roasters, a West Michigan-based company. For drink customization, vegan creamer, soy, almond, and coconut milks can be added. Specialty coffee drinks are made to order, including a decadent candy bar-infused Mocha Latte. The café also offers hot cocoa with vegan marshmallows, which we observed a group of kiddos indulging in on their sledding break.   

 Uncommon Roasters Coffee

Uncommon Roasters Coffee

For the sweet tooth:

Water and Wheat has a plethora of rotating baked goods to curb your cravings, however you won’t find these pastries to be overly sweet. Chef Josh prides himself on creating flavorful and balanced treats without heaps of sugar. In order to keep things fresh, he keeps the basic framework of his offerings, but often tweaks the recipe providing a rotation of flavors. And as you would expect, Chef Josh takes full advantage of his surroundings and incorporates the flavors of the brewery’s beers and ciders in many of the baked goods. Here’s what we tried:

  • Monkey Bread Donuffin: with coffee in both the dough and the glaze, it’s no wonder we loved this donut-muffin-monkey bread combo
  • Chocolate Chip Scone: finished with a delightful chocolate drizzle. It was everything we expected and more.
  • Salted Caramel Apple Sticky Bun: topped with a pear sour glaze from the brewery. Josh notes that he likes to play around with smoked sugar and salt with this one.
  • Blueberry Pop-Tart: W&W’s pop-tarts have received a ton of attention, and for good reason. Ours had a blueberry filling, with organically-grown berries from Joe’s Blues Blueberries located in Bangor. Josh and Kerry certainly keep their produce as local as possible.

The café also offers a variety of cookies and muffins among other pastries

 Monkey Bread Donuffin and Chocolate Chip Scone

Monkey Bread Donuffin and Chocolate Chip Scone

 Blueberry Pop-Tart

Blueberry Pop-Tart

 Salted Caramel Apple Sticky Buns yet to be iced

Salted Caramel Apple Sticky Buns yet to be iced

 Chef Josh hard at work on the sticky buns

Chef Josh hard at work on the sticky buns

 Finishing touches

Finishing touches

 Salted Caramel Apple Sticky Bun

Salted Caramel Apple Sticky Bun

For the savory bruncher:

Sweets aren’t the only thing stocked at the café. It’s easy to find savory sandwiches, salads, and brunch classics.  

  • Biscuits and Gravy: flavored using a house-made herb salt created with herbs grown from the duo’s garden. At VegOut, we consider this dish a “must try.” Furthermore, we recommend getting some to go as biscuits are available by the bag.
  • Chickpea Salad Salad: yup, you read that right. This dish was once planned for a sandwich, but the staff found it best to serve it on greens with apples, tomatoes, cukes, avocado, and sunflower seeds.
  • Grain Bowl: our bowl consisted of farro, tofu, pickled fennel, radishes, pomegranate seeds, and topped with a orange vinaigrette. This dish is not only delicious, but incredibly colorful and easy on the eyes.
  • Daily Sandwiches: while the flavor of the tofu and house-made focaccia vary each week, the combo is used to create sandwiches with the addition of other plant-based goodness.  
 Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy

 Chickpea Salad Salad

Chickpea Salad Salad

 Grain Bowl

Grain Bowl

For the future:

In addition to short term goals like offering a soup du jour and extending the hours and menu to accommodate dinner, Josh and Kerry have some long term goals on the horizon. The duo plans to change locations and expand the menu. Don’t worry, the two plan to stay in Watervliet, in fact, they plan to move into the old pharmacy building, a hop, skip, and jump from their current location. Josh plans to expand the new location into a wholesale business by incorporating retail items like crafts, books, and gifts as well as grocery items including his infamous Butternut Squash Bacon. The ultimate goal for these two is to form consultant partnerships with other food establishments by distributing vegan offerings and/ or assisting them in the crafting of their own vegan options: a huge step for veganism.

Whether you are in the mood for a cup of joe and a scone, a sandwich and a beer, Tuesday night trivia, or an inspiring conversation about food, veganism, and sustainability, Water and Wheat is your place. Pop in and tell them VegOut sent you!

 

Water and Wheat Café is located at 544 N Main St., Watervliet, MI.

 

At this time, hours include:

Wednesday - Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Sunday: 10am - 4pm

 


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Words by: ANJA GROMMONS

@vegcentricdietitian

Editor for VegOut Kalamazoo, Anja is also a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Masters Degree from Western Michigan University. Growing up in her parents' restaurant in Northern Michigan instilled in her a lifelong passion for nutrition and cooking. Anja has completed the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition certification and keeps a personal blog at vegcentricdietitian.com full of plant-based recipes and nutrition information.


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Photos by: JESS FALES

@epicfalesphotography

Photographer for VegOut Kalamazoo, Jess is a life-long Kalamazoolander, and is frequently spotted at the local coffee shops and bookstores. She is currently a student at Western Michigan University, where she studies English literature, world literature, and creative writing. As a freelance photographer and owner of Epic Fales Photography, she focuses on capturing the beautiful things in life—everything from obscure trash to mountain weddings. Jess mostly enjoys wandering around Kalamazoo and northern Michigan, and she’s always looking forward to new adventures, and wherever they might take her.