Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Table of Contents Café offers literary fare, creative cocktails to Kalamazoo crowd – mlive.com

Table of Contents Café
KALAMAZOO, MI — When sitting down at the Table of Contents Café and looking at the menu, you may get the feeling you are looking at, well, a table of contents.
From novel grilled fare, with items such as “Reuben in the Rye” and “Veg out With a Book,” to breakfast sandwiches like “Pippin,” “Frodo” and “Bilbo” to signature cocktails like “The Good People of New York,” “Wired Wonka” and “Oliver Flip,” the menu pulls from a range of literary favorites.
“Most of the names are based on literary references that hold a special space for someone in the organization,” said Joanna Parzakonis, 46, who opened the café with her husband, Derek Molitor, in fall 2017, nine years after the couple opened the first of two independent bookstores in Oakwood Plaza.
Related: Kalamazoo’s Bookbug wins national award for ability to ‘bring books and young people together’
The stores, This is a Bookstore and Bookbug, focus respectively on new releases and children’s books and, like the café, offer a place for the community together in a shared space over literature.
The café, a popular spot to grab a coffee or breakfast in the morning, spend time with a friend or book over lunch or enjoy a cocktail at night, is located inside This is a Bookstore, at 319 Oakland Drive.
The cocktails, like some of the other menu items, are intended to be conversation starters about books and remind people that “we’re here to tell stories to each other and celebrate each other’s stories,” Parzakonis said.
One of Parzakonis’ personal favorites is “Hope in the Dark,” a bourbon cocktail crafted with house-made vanilla bean syrup, fresh brewed Factory Coffee, heavy cream and nutmeg. It draws its name from Rebecca Solnit’s collection of essays by the same name, a book Parzakonis said studies the importance of darkness in one’s life to find clarity.
Another favorite of hers is “There’s Rosemary … For Remembrance” — a gin and tonic drink with allspice berries and, of course, a rosemary sprig.
“We life to offer something classic with a newer twist,” said café manager Kasey Brown, 33. “We also try to stay as local as possible. We try our best to keep everything local, Michigan-based and regional as possible, as well as support marginalized voices in our communities.”
The cocktails are all made with local spirits, from distillers such as Green Door Distillery, Kalamazoo Stillhouse and Grand Traverse Distillery, Brown said. The coffee products come from Factory Coffee and the syrups, including such flavors as vanilla, botanical, blackberry, basil and lavender, are all house-made.
While mornings cater to the coffee crowd, evenings can see everything from special events, such as literary readings, take over the space and also hosts casual meetups and even date night traffic.
“It’s really cute to see people out on dates,” Brown said. “We’ll watch them peruse the bookstore, getting to know each other over a cocktail while browsing and talking about books and then grabbing a table.”
The café has the same hours as the bookstore, and is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays. Orders can be made in house, placed online made by calling 269-443-2444. No phone orders are accepted between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
For more information, visit www.bookbugkalamazoo.com/table-of-contents.
Also on MLive:
Michigan’s Best Local Eats: ‘Nobody leaves hungry’ at Skillet, serving up breakfast and lunch near Kalamazoo
Meet the newly elected members of the Kalamazoo City Commission
Michigan State No. 3, Michigan No. 7 in first College Football Playoff rankings
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