New Bohemians flock to Northport

By Chris Loud

Sun contributor

Inspired by the local agriculture, their love for the region, and their passion for the cafe vibe, Amy and Kevin Murphy are excited to open The New Bohemian Cafe in the village of Northport. They hope to offer something for everyone, from locals on lunchbreak looking for a quick sandwich, to visitors hoping to experience a plethora of local tastes. Amy and Kevin spoke to the Glen Arbor Sunabout their new venture. 

Sun:What can we expect from The New Bohemian Cafe?

New Bohemian Cafe: We are a European-style cafe and home of the Baia Estate Winery tasting room. We offer espresso drinks, coffee and tea, with a light breakfast and lunch menu of pastries, sandwiches, soups, and salads. We have grab-and-go food in a grocery cooler for people to be able to get a sandwich or sides for a picnic, or wherever they may be going. And we are featuring a tapas-style tasting menu with meat and cheese plates, aperitivo type food to go along with the Baia Estate wine. Basically, you can come in for a latte and a pastry or breakfast sandwich, or a glass of rosé and an Idyll Farms cheese plate, or a sandwich and a lemonade! Wine is available by the taste, glass, or bottle, and you can enjoy your food at one of our cozy cafe tables, or to take it with you. 

SunTell us about the collaborative aspects of the new cafe.

New Bohemian Cafe:The cafe is owned by Amy and Kevin Murphy. We are working with Baia Estate Winery, whose tasting room is located in the café. We are also excited to feature some of Leelanau’s agricultural talents and suppliers. We’ll have bread and pastries from 9 Bean Rows Bakery, and we’re offering Idyll Farms award-winning goat cheese. We are also featuring Leelanau Cheese, and we’re serving Light of Day teas. And you can get a bouquet from Leelanau Cut Flowers (when they’re not sold out!)

SunHow did this idea to open a cafe come about? 

New Bohemian Cafe: We have contemplated a deli/restaurant/cafe business off and on for many years, honestly, with varying degrees of seriousness. We first looked at our retail space in the spring of 2018. After brainstorming some ideas, Kevin contacted friends at Baia Estate and Idyll Farms, thinking they might want to pair on opening a tasting room there. In the end, we decided to go for it! Our love of food, coffee, and wine runs deep. We both worked in café-type settings when we were in college, and we spend a lot of our spare time cooking and enjoying food and drink.

SunWhat else inspired the concept of the New Bohemian Cafe? 

New Bohemian Cafe:This cafe is inspired by our travels around the world, where many of our favorite memories were made sitting at a sidewalk cafe table, watching the world go by. We have an abiding love of farming, food, coffee, and wine, and we wanted to share that connection with our community. We also knew there were some unserved needs in Northport. It was hard to find a quick sandwich, a great coffee, and grab-and-go food. We designed this business to meet those needs, for the people who call this home, and for those who come to visit on vacation. In some ways, we wanted to fit all the things we love most about our home into one business.

SunTell us a bit more about yourselves. 

New Bohemian Cafe:We left mainstream careers, Kevin as a community radio station manager, and Amy was a marketing consultant, to move our family to Northport after our first daughter was born, looking for a slower and more connected life. Since we landed in Northport, we have done some tiny-scale farming, opened an independent marketing consultancy, and Kevin partnered in the Earth, Wind & Fryer food truck that was at the Mitten Brewery in 2015 and 2016. 

SunWhat is your connection to Northport? 

New Bohemian Cafe: Kevin’s family has a multi-generational connection to Northport. His grandfather’s best friend often hosted their family at their cottage, so Kevin and his brother grew up making summertime memories on North Shore Drive. When we moved back to Michigan from Washington State 15 years ago, we spent some time here, and Amy quickly fell in love. One thing led to another, and we bought our farm in Gills Pier about 10 years ago, with a plan to move there as soon as we could. After our first daughter was born, we moved to the village of Northport, where we still live. We later discovered that Amy’s grandparents owned property near Leland, but it’s long been sold.

SunTell us a bit more about Baia Estate Winery and what you hope to serve.

New Bohemian Cafe: The winery makes Italian and French-style wines that pair really nicely with food. Their 70-acre vineyard on North Matheson Road in Northport is planted in Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Fruliano, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Right now in the tasting room, we have Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Rosé, Pinot Noir, and Bubbs, a sparkling Riesling. We’ll be adding Riesling and Rosecco, a dry sparkling rosé as soon as they’re available.

Sun:What are you most excited about?

New Bohemian Cafe: So many things! We’ve been building this space and designing the business for about a year. It’s so wonderful to be making food for people, and serving them coffee and wine. We’re excited for sharing the things that we love with our community. Everything that we’re working on is about giving people food and drink that they will enjoy. It celebrates the resources and bounty of Leelanau, featuring as much of our local food as we can. The wine is made for enjoying with friends and celebrating all the good things about life. Our favorite way to connect is over food and drink, so we’re setting the table.  

The New Bohemian Cafe is located on Waukazoo Street in Northport. Right now they’re open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays (closed on Tuesday), and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Follow the cafe on Instagram @newbohemiancafe.