A Cut Above
In a field that’s been historically dominated by men, chef Missy Corey has proven herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Whether it’s mastering the art of butchering or cooking her way to victory on the reality show, Chopped, Missy thrives off of challenges. That and the adrenaline rush combined with artistry that comes from working in the restaurant industry.
A Chicago native who has also honed her culinary skills in Portland, Maine, Missy now calls the Saugatuck/Douglas area home. She recently teamed up with pastry chef Bryan Kemp and farmer and garden designer Ryan Beck to open Pennyroyal Café & Provisions featuring farm-to-table cuisine.
Of all the places to start a restaurant, why did you choose this specific area?
Ryan and I saw the agricultural potential of what you can grow here. There’s so much agricultural diversity here, but there had been less emphasis on organic farming and permaculture farming. And, so we wanted to help shape that. And, believe it or not, that extra hour of light being at the westernmost edge of the time zone makes a huge difference for growing. We grow organic veggies like heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants for the restaurant and The Little White Barn, our farm stand behind Pennyroyal.
We also loved how sophisticated the area is considering how rural it is. There’s this amazing art scene here. I had grown up taking classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, so having Ox-Bow here and the Saugatuck Center of the Arts is just great. We love the lakeshore and the dunes. We’ve come to love winter hiking, cross country skiing, and all the seasonal changes you experience here. There’s this solitude of winter and then the swing of summer, which I just love.
What do you hope that people come away with after dining at Pennyroyal?
It’s all about the freshness of the food. We purchase things within 50 miles of the restaurant and get deliveries every day. We have a small menu that highlights only what’s at the peak of seasonality. People really notice the vibrancy and the difference in taste when you eat something just picked. It just tastes fresher and more alive.
From your own menu, what’s the one thing you feel everyone who walks through your door should try?
We have a small menu that highlights what’s available seasonally, but we do offer a few standards. My favorites are the Blueberry Pancakes and the Whitefish Melt. I’m a sucker for a good tuna melt, and this is my Great Lakes version of that.
What would you tell someone planning a trip to the area who’s a foodie?
September or October is the best time. It’s cider season and apple season. That’s when the crush happens, and Fenn Valley Vineyards has their Beaujolais. We really love going to Borrowed Time and Bowdie’s Chophouse, just to name a few. There are so many great places that have been here a long time—we feel really lucky to be part of the culinary scene here.