Well, it’s my favorite time of the month again! Yesterday I headed out into the community in search of finding a blog-worthy local “hot spot” to feature for this month’s Mid-Michigan Exploration post. Thanks to Meghan Litwiller ’15, a local student who currently commutes from St. John’s, Mich., I found Rozena’s Recipiez in Ithaca, Mich.
“Eating at Rozena’s is like eating in your own kitchen. Home cooked food, and people who genuinely care about how you are doing and make the experience a personal one. It’s comfort food when you need a break from the busy Alma College life,” said Litwiller.
So I headed over to Ithaca and had the pleasure of meeting with Rozena and learning all about the store and her family. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Rozena’s was the tagline one the front of the building… “Where life is a little lopsided and moments melt in your mouth.” The second thing, the cupcakes display case! That case held some of the most beautiful and creative cupcakes I have ever seen.
I learned later that Rozena selects themes for each week, and she bases the cupcake designs around the theme. This week was Thanksgiving Dinner and there were cupcakes made to look like turkeys, and mashed potatoes, and there was even a vegetable cupcake!
Rozena and I had the chance to sit down and chat, so I could learn more about how the business began and the ins and outs of Rozena’s Recipiez. Her business is built on one thing and one thing only – family. Rozena began her business years ago when her family went through a rather large change.
“It was 8 years ago,” Rozena recalled. “Our family went from two children to six children through fostering and adoption, and it was expensive to have six school-age children who wanted to be involved and play sports.”
To help pay for the sporting equipment and other fees that come with being involved with organizations at school, Rozena began baking sweet treats in her house to raise some extra cash. She ended up doing so well with this that she was able to sponsor up to 11 students at one point in time. “Any extra money I raised would go to making treats for the sports teams,” she said.
However, that business she created in her home years ago has been through lots of changes since then.
“Four years ago, we received a call that would change our lives yet again,” said Rozena. Zoey, a very premature baby, was born into the world with no family. Doctors were not sure what her chances were, as she was born with several health complications including Cerebral Palsy. Rozena and her family were called down to meet Zoey and all baking ended at that point in time. Zoey was a fighter, and Rozena’s family officially adopted her. Not long after that Rozena restarted the business to help cover Zoey’s medical costs.
Both Rozena and her husband (who also works at the St. Louis prison) work all day in the restaurant and never take a paycheck. Their children work in the business as well, to earn some cash to help pay for their things like phone bills and cars. Rozena knew that if she started slow, they’d be able to move up and grow, which is exactly what is happening with the business right now.
Rozena’s Recipiez is heading to a new location in downtown Ithaca. When the move is complete, you will be able to find them in the McCormack building – which used to be home to Sip-N-Knit and the mayor’s office (142 E Center St, Ithaca, MI 48847). This space will allow lots of expansion in the business. The menu will grow, sit-down meals will served, rental space for parties and events will be available, and they’ll be able to keep the shop open longer hours.
Currently, Rozena’s offers food “to-go” style, though you are welcome to enjoy it in shop. They have delicious (yes, I got a chance to try some!) sandwiches, pizza, and “Rozie’s Cozies,” which are similar to a pasty and so delicious! Her cozies come with several options of fillings like ham & cheese, club, walking taco… you name it! She also serves soups and salads, has a full line of baked goods, and an ice cream bar, too! All of her meals are homemade, from scratch, and are fully loaded with flavor.
Rozena does large orders for special occasions, and she does cakes as well. She also has done lots of donations and charity work, some of her most recent being Mott’s children’s hospital and the Ronald McDonald house and also the new children’s museum in Mt. Pleasant.
Now through Thanksgiving, Rozena’s Recipiez will be collecting baking ingredients (flour, butter, sugar, sprinkles, etc.), which they will use to bake over 800 cookies to send to the troops – a project that they call Operation Confectionation.
Be sure to “like” Rozena’s Recipiez on Facebook to stay up to date with their daily specials and their moving process. Once they are in the new location, they will be open Monday through Thursday from 4:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Right now, the new location is open from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. for coffee and toast, but it should be fully operational in the next few weeks.
Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat or a nice home-cooked meal, Rozena’s Recipiez will not disappoint.
Thank you to Miranda Parker Photography for allowing me to use some of her photos!