Let’s talk about Michigan—hold your left hand out in front of you with your palm facing away, and that just about gives the shape of a state that’s sometimes affectionally known as “the mitten”. (With all due respect to the Upper Peninsula.)
The city of Glen Arbor, Michigan resides in the upper pinky of the mitten, on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s here you’ll find The Mill, a small three-room hotel and locally sourced restaurant where coffee is big part of the fun. The lakeside idyll and charming scale of the place belie serious ambition for this coffee program, with high-end gear from some of coffee’s major manufacturers and an unexpected roasting partner out of Brooklyn. All of it’s located inside of a converted historic Grist Mill, which makes this edition of the Sprudge Maps Spotlight series just about as delightfully unique as any we’ve come across thus far. Let’s take a closer look!
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As told to Sprudge by Nathan Kitner.
Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
The Mill is a contemporary take on a Northern Michigan landmark. Our business serves as a riverside cafe, restaurant, and hotel—offering seasonal and regionally sourced fare, fresh baked pastry using house milled flour, and three charming hotel rooms. Situated in the heart of Sleep Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Glen Arbor, The Mill is an inspired destination reimagined to provide a reprieve from the day-to-day hustle.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
At the heart of our cafe is La Marzocco’s Linea PB ABR. For brewing a wide range of products from drip coffee to our house made chai, our Curtis G4 ThermaPro does amazing! Our Malkönig Guatemala for drip, and our Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinders ensure that we are always dialed in and extracting perfectly.
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
We’re proud to serve Parlor out of Brooklyn, NY. After months of tasting roasters from all of the country, Parlor’s coffee and mission stood out to us as an undeniable partnership. They take their relationships with their producers and wholesale partners as seriously as we take our approach to hospitality at The Mill.
What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?
Our cafe is located nearly atop of the Crystal River (it used to run through the basement in order to power the old grist mill!) We are located in Glen Arbor, Michigan—just down the road from Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. We are in the heart of miles of sandy beaches, dune bluffs that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan, lush forests, and vibrant turquoise inland lakes.
What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
Putting a cafe inside of an historic grist mill is no easy feat! There was a commercial construction company that completed the majority of the work, but many of our hired staff put six months of their own sweat equity into the project before opening to the public. On our first weekend of business, we did not have the connection for internet cables completed, so we gave away all of the product for free!
Is there a community organization or charity you’d like to shout-out as part of this feature?
As our property borders national park land, we don’t take for granted the care that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore takes to ensure the rivers, forests, and lakes of our county are protected and kept clean for generations to come. We take pride in where we live and don’t take lightly the responsibility to steward the delicate ecosystem that The Mill borders.
Photos by The Mill, used with permission