Perhaps because Marquette is freshwater coastal college town, it supports a striking number of ethnic, vegetarian and just delightfully inventive cafes. Babycakes is a local fave, and just celebrated 20 years of serving up their famous top-heavy muffins (the chocolate chip or the almond poppy seed glazed with apricot brandy really rock) and one of the best darn chocolate bread puddin’s anywhere. Owner/baker Kim Danielson breaks the brownies and cinnamon rolls that aren’t sold at the end of the day into a pan, adds pure, unadulterated butter and cream and chocolate and bakes it all into an unbelievably delicious bread pudding. (The pudding was named one of our 41 Irresistible Eats in the March 2006 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.)

Danielson and crew do lovely—and locally grown when possible—lunches, too. Some standouts: the curried chicken salad on house-made cashew date bread; the vegetarian sandwich starring a spicy roasted-carrot hummus and lots of vegetables from the Marquette farmers market, a classic egg salad on a honey whole wheat. Soups rotate, but call on Friday to see if the smoked whitefish chowder is in the kettle. It’s made with the perfectly smoked Lake Superior catches from nearby Thill’s Fish House. Ask about their vegetarian dog treats if you have a pooch companion tied up on the shady sidewalk.

Go there: Babycakes Muffin Company, 223 West Washington, Marquette, 906-226-7744.