The Unlucky Cat Cafe is the result of two distant daydreams merging together. Grace had been a barista for many years, working on Mackinac Island at both JL Beanery and the Lucky Bean Coffeehouse; ever since stepping behind the coffee bar she had dreams of owning her own cafe cart. Brandon grew up working alongside his father in the family Chinese restaurant (Mandarin Garden) and hoped to one day continue the Chen tradition on his own; but to gain extra experience he first struck out to Mackinac Island to learn other cuisines. It was there we met.
Many long nights we stayed up and talked about what we wanted to do with our respective futures, and it always came down to owning our own food trucks. It always seemed like a lofty idea, one just to keep us entertained. Until we attended a local festival together…A dozen food trucks were lined up, offering dishes from all different cultures: organic vegan, smoothies and kombucha, hot dogs, Mediterranean, even Asian buffet-style. But nothing that could compare to our cuisine at home. A spark was ignited, and here we are today!
We experimented with a few tried-and-true recipes, taking them up a notch to create items we hadn’t seen anywhere else. After sharing them with friends and family, it was decided that we would offer what we now call “Asian-Fusion Comfort Foods.” We took classic American favorites, such as the sloppy joe or mac & cheese, and gave them a little flair by adding new seasonings and sauces. Now we have customer favorites like the Sloppy Cho-cho and the Crab Mac & Cheese!
A lot of our foods and hand-crafted drinks are created with locally-sourced ingredients, from sugar to meats and everything in between. It’s our goal to provide not only a unique lunch experience, but to also provide our customers with quality meals and the knowledge of how those meals were created, literally from the ground up!
So why the name? Inspired by our pampered black feline companions, we created yet another Asian-American fusion by combining the concepts of the tradition of the unlucky black cat with the “maneki neko,” or Asian Lucky Cat. The lore of the [Un]Lucky Cat goes: “Once upon a time, a shop owner down on his luck sacrificed the last of his food to feed a stray cat. The feline, grateful for his kind deed, returned the favor by sitting outside the shop and beckoning customers to stop in and buy some wares. While black cats are traditionally considered unlucky, we have found the opposite to be true, and now our very own Unlucky Cat beckons you to taste our food and celebrate in any newfound good fortune.”