Cocoa

Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Hot cocoa bar, waffle sandwich on menu at Chef G’s in Lapeer

LAPEER, MI — There’s a restaurant in mid-Michigan that has a rustic French flair, a menu packed with indulgent dishes and a hot cocoa bar to keep warm.

Chef G’s, a crepe and bake shop fittingly named after owner Ginni Bruman, is the ideal spot for breakfast and lunch.

The restaurant, 450 W. Nepessing St., in Lapeer, features an array of sandwiches, soups, paninis, salads, gourmet cupcakes, sweet and savory crepes as well as an infusion bar with gourmet teas and hot cocoa.

“It’s a unique, different menu,” Bruman, who has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, said.

One of the favorites among customers is the waffle sandwich.

Imagine two homemade buttermilk waffles sandwiched together for a Cuban sandwich topped with mojo sauce or a BLT consisting of bacon, lettuce, egg, tomato, avocado and paired with homemade bacon jam.

There’s also an option for a cranberry and turkey sandwich with the waffles that includes, mayonnaise, cheese, egg and cranberry sauce.

Customers can also go the more traditional route and pair the waffles with breakfast fare such as eggs and cheese.

The eatery opened five years ago and got a fresh coat of paint around two summers ago before the global pandemic.

The orange paint and brick exterior sparked joy in the community as they watched it being applied and dry.

“And people are ranting and raving about it, thanking me actually,” said Bruman of the community as paint was being applied. “They were stopping on the sidewalk, or parking their cars just to watch us paint and thank me in person that it was such a relief to see such happiness brought to the city. I’m pretty thankful that I’ve got the community that we’re in.”

The restaurant strives to cook its food with fresh ingredients and makes most of all the dishes homemade.

“I’m just a down to earth person,” Bruman said. “I like living off the earth as much as I can. But we put in a three tier herb garden outside where we either grow our own herbs or we use tomatoes or anything that can grow in four inch dirt.”

Rodney Robertson has been dining at the restaurant since day one.

Originally from Chicago, Robertson described the quaint eatery as friendly and raved over the fluffy omelettes.

“I like this. I come in and I feel like maybe – I’m in Chicago and I like that,” Robertson told MLive-The Flint Journal as he was having breakfast. “The quality of the food is outstanding.”

The Chef G’s regular also noted the importance of supporting small and local businesses.

“What I love the most is the atmosphere here,” Robertson said. “I come in, people coming and going and you see other regulars. To me its a very inviting place. The music is fantastic.”

Aside from the omelettes, another customer favorite includes the array of sweet and savory crepes.

Some of the crepes featured on the menu are the Dijon chicken crepe with cream sauce, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, chicken and spinach and a crepe named the “catch” with broiled salmon, capers and garlic sauce.

If diners want to take a sweeter route they can feast on a peanut butter and jelly crepe with marshmallows, bananas and homemade raspberry sauce topped with sautéed bananas.

An apple pie crepe is filled with homemade caramel sauce and strudel and topped with whipped cream.

A healthy option includes the fruit and yogurt crepe with berries, pineapple, Greek yogurt and homemade raspberry sauce topped with granola.

“My imagination doesn’t stop, it’s always wandering,” Bruman said of the ideas for new menu offerings.

The business also offers an event room that can seat 80 people and be rented out for different occasions as well as a boutique stocked with various retail items such as soaps, lotions, beard oil and clothing.

The boutique also features an infusion tea and hot cocoa bar.

Customers can build on their warm chocolate drink with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, chipotle and ancho chili and can be topped off with marshmallows and whipped cream.

Customers can grab the chocolate drink for $5.

“I want people to just come and check us out,” Bruman said. “I don’t think they’ll be sorry.”

Hours of operation for Chef G’s are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

To see a full menu, visit Chef G’s website.

Would you like MLive to feature your restaurant in Michigan’s Best Local Eats? Send the details, including business name, address and most popular menu item, to Isis Simpson-Mersha at isimpson@mlive.com.

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