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three generations of female owners

three generations of female owners

ONTONAGON, Michigan (WLUC) — Pies and donuts are two popular items at the family-owned Syl’s Café in Ontonagon.

Passed down through three generations of women, it was first opened in 1972. The current owner, Kathy Wardynski, says she follows the original recipes of her grandmother, who first opened the cafe.

“It’s really nice to be able to flip through a recipe book there and follow recipes that are still in my grandmother’s handwriting,” Wardynski said.

Wardynski says everything from homemade bread to basic soup recipes was passed down to her, although she did have to make a few 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 and what she put in them. We had a molasses cookie recipe where she said it was four cups of flour, but actually it was four full cups.”

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

“This has been an institution in this community for so many years and generations. Every generation is just amazing,” says customer Lois Gregory.

The café’s 50th anniversary will be on June 1. Wardynski also says it was an honor for her to continue what her grandmother started.

“She didn’t go to school until eighth grade and was able to start a business like this that’s been around for nearly 50 years. It is a pride for me to be able to follow in her footsteps.”

Wardynski is in the process of opening another business called 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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