The Best Local Eats in Michigan: The Mackenzies Bakery brings decades of tradition to Vicksburg

The Best Local Eats in Michigan: The Mackenzies Bakery brings decades of tradition to Vicksburg ...

MI: Mackenzies Bakery, a 167-year-old, restored downtown Vicksburg building, brings decades of tradition to the town.

The bakery at 103 E. Prairie St. opened its doors to the public on Thursday, April 14 and will serve long-time favorites such as Struan and Pretzel bread, known to lovers of the similarly named MacKenzie's Bakery in Kalamazoo.

Nona MacKenzie began selling bread, sweet rolls, and potato fried cakes from a roadside sale in South Haven, and 42 years later, her mother moved the family name back to Kalamazoo, albeit with a minor, deliberate change and a new owner.

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Chris Moore, the new bakery owner, added a pair of long-time MacKenzie employees to the company's daily operations, including general manager Jill Younger, who has served the bakery for 20 years, and head baker Cris Najar.

Younger told MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette that in the months leading up to the opening she would receive a couple dozen emails a week from long-time customers and residents of Vicksburg, asking when they'd open. They also asked if they would continue to carry signature breads such as Struan, a slightly sweet wheat bread with brown rice, brown sugar, buttermilk, and oats.

"Everyone's just been so excited," she said of the opening of the 1,700 square-foot space at the Prairie Ronde Artist Gallery, which she hopes will at times offer tables space to enjoy baked goods and coffee.

Younger said the bakery will sell out scratch-baked Crispy Italian, Harvest Grain, and Paesano breads, along with Crispy and French Baguettes, as well as a wide variety of cookies, muffins, and jams, as well as Kalamazoo's famous Factory Coffee brand.

The new bakery, which is located 12 miles south of Kalamazoo, in the former home of, is the first of many projects that Moore, 57 years old, who owns seven other downtown properties as well as the Mill at Vicksburg, intends to undertake in his hometown of Vicksburg.

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"He's really putting an extra effort into his hometown," Jackie Koney, chairman of Paper City Development, Moore's Vicksburg-based company. "He just wants to bring more to the city."

At the time that the building at 103 E. Prairie St. was vacant, Koney told her she remembered Moore, a Seattle resident, who lived there more than 20 years ago. He said he intends to own it sometime.

She said that "he declared it the most stunning building in town." "He's always had this vision and there was always a desire to have a bakery. It was just a matter of when."

When was not supposed to be now, and the bakery wasn't intended to be the first project he would complete, according to Koney, but when MacKenzie's bakery was put on sale, it presented an opportunity to bring a well-known brand with a loyal following to Vicksburg. And that opportunity was too good to pass up.

Moore said he enjoys seeing high school classmates at Vicksburg with a quarter in hand eager to purchase Otto's bakery a turnover. "My hope is that a visit to Mackenzies Bakery will enliven a new generation's worth of memories for residents and visitors in our region."

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When he came to a "bread cutting ceremony," the bakery, which includes photos of the MacKenzie's of yesteryear, was able to smile.

Chris Moore and his team have truly captured the essence of a small-town bakery while incorporating modern functionality, said MacKenzie. The space has so many natural light and charm, along with the best baking oven in the industry.

"It just brings a smile to my face, knowing that this location in Vicksburg has remained the same. "

The bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, contact the bakery at (269) 475-5015.

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