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Apr 23, 2007 02:04 PM

UP: Best cudighi in Marquette?

I'm heading back to Marquette, Michigan, and would love to try a cudighi. Where's the best place in town?

Wikipedia says that Vango's and Villa Capri are "well-known" - but a post in another thread warns people about Villa Capri.


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  1. One place I like to go is in Negaunee. It's not fancy at all, but I question whether there is such a thing as fancy cudighi--it's lunch meat. I can't remember the name of the place, but going east on M-28 toward Marquette you would make a left at the light at the end of Teal Lake, when you come to the traffic light where, if you went right, you would enter downtown Negaunee. But when you make a left, you will almost immediately see a little sandwich stand right on the water's edge. You can sit on their little deck, on the beach, or in your car, eat your cudighi, stare at that amazing blue water, and pretend all's right with the world.

    I've heard good things about Vango's but never been there. I may have been the person who warned against Villa Capri, but I'm not the only one.

    For good italian in downtown Marquette, try That Italian Place.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      Alas, I won't have access to a car once I'm in Marquette, so I'm stuck in town. Then again, I hear there's a great door-to-door bus service in the area, so maybe I can get to that place in Negaunee. It sounds wonderful!


      1. re: Jim M

        That place in Negaunee is called Tino's. Excellent cudighi's. Also in Ishpeming there are a few places to get good cudighi's. Ralphs Italian Deli right on 41 across from the Holiday Gas station and in West Ishpeming there is Lawry's Pasty Shop. They do pretty tasty cudighis too. I prefer Ralph's or Tino's over anything else though. If I'm in Vango's I will get the cugighi every time. I've never actually been to the Lawry's in Marquette but I would imagine their cudighis are decent. I have never had a cudighi from the casa but I highly recommend their cudighi pizza. It's loaded with cudighi and instead of pizza sauce, it has a nice mustard sauce that goes awesome with the meat. I'm hooked on it.

        1. re: HomebrewerBrian

          No it is not Tino's, although I agree Tino's does taste pretty good. Tino's is located downtown Negaunee. The place that Jim might be thinking about is Paisano's....I am not sure though.

          1. re: JabberCHOW

            That's it—Paisano's. Very pleasant spot on a summer day.

            That Italian Place in Marquette has closed and been replaced by a Thai restaurant.

        2. re: Jim M

          The Villa Capri, is an old fashioned, Italian American (if you like Buca De'bepo in Mpls, you;ll like the "Villa". Their garlic bread is legendary and their little steaks topped with a bit of butter are a safe bet. If you like more authentic, especially northern Italian, this is not the place for you. This is the great white north. Find smoked salmon, Cudighi from any one of many bars, deli's and pastie shops ( try the pastie! just don't forget the ketchup!)... try a fish boil with Lake Superior whitefish, now that's world class cuisine. Vango's is (I was told) owned by the folks who own the Villa Capri... but a more modern northern attempt.

        3. While in the UP, also make sure to eat a decent pasty. Impossible to find good ones in the TC.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dotMac

            I hate to admit it, but I'm not a pasty fan - even when I eat them fresh in Marquette. But I've only tried the ones from Jean-Kaye's . Should I try somewhere else?


            1. re: AnneInMpls

              For the best cudighi in Marquette go to Lawry's on US-41. They also have one of the better pasties around.

              BUT, if you can get access to a vehicle, drive the twenty minutes up to Ishpeming and get a cudighi from Ralph's Italian Deli. It is also right on US-41 right at the first stoplight in Ishpeming. This is "the" cudighi as we yoopers know it. Good luck!


              PS- Don't bother with Vango's. It is some kind of watered-down Greek restaurant, a far cry from the northern Italian heritage of the cudighi.

            2. re: dotMac

              Jean Kay's In Mqt is the place to go for a good pasty. It's right on Presque Isle Ave. (4th turns into Presque Isle if you come from Washington St.)

            3. At this point you've probably already gone but...My favorite place to get a cudighi when I make it back home to the U.P. is Tino's in downtown Negaunee. It's a small family owned bar, they're the best. I always buy a couple extra and freeze them to bring back here for a later homesick day. Fave place for pasties is Gramma T's located right off the highway across from Teal Lake, also in Negaunee. Enjoy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Marga

                Yeah, my trip to Marquette has come and gone. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to try any cudighi - being without a car really cramped my dining choices.

                Worse yet, I almost didn't get to Gilbert's for ice cream. That would have been a horrible tragedy! But we managed to stop by on our way out of town. (I cleverly volunteered to drive, so I was in control!)

                But we did OK on food while we were there. We had a good meal at the Thai restaurant (the sit-down one), a nice brunch at Sweet Water Cafe, and some pretty decent BBQ at the Union Grill. Oh, and really good bean soup at the library's cafe.

                But next time, I'll be sure to have a car so I can get over to Negaunee for a cudighi or pasty. I'm saving these recommendations - thanks!


              2. i'm not sure i get it. from the wiki description this would be a run of the mill "sausage hero" in ny or anywhere. somebody please do school me on this!

                8 Replies
                1. re: mrnyc

                  I've never had a sausage hero in NYC, so I can't comment on that. But here's the deal on UP Cudighi:

                  Cudighi refers both to the sandwich and the sausage. Cudughi sausage is a pork sausage made with red wine and a blend of spices that typically include cinnamon, allspice, and such. Everyone makes it differently so there's no set recipe.

                  A cudighi sandwich consists of a cudighi patty, tomato-based sauce, and melted mozzarella. A lot of places add fried bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Many cudighi sandwiches are served on a slightly sweet, soft bun - think potato bread buns with a little sugar thrown in.

                  Lawry's Pastys in Marquette makes one of the best cudighis around. They serve it on their own bread, which is like a version of pasty crust. One of these is enough to serve two people so order accordingly.

                  I also like the Cudighi at Tino's in Negaunee.

                  I know this is a late addition to the thread, but I'd stay away from the Villa and Vangos. The Villa is definitely one of those places that stay around only because people have fond memories of the way it was 40 years ago. Nowadays, I'd only go there to pick up a take-out pizza (which is VERY good, in its own distinctive way.) Anything else on the menu is frankly scary.

                  Vangos is slightly better, but more or less just bar food. Their gyros are good, but they're not authentically Greek by any means. Very good pizza. Stay away from the Spanakopita - I think it's from a box.

                  Overall, besides bar food, Marquette is pretty limited foodwise. The Vierling has decent food and a decent wine list (really! I know it's a brew pub, but the owner is a wine guy and has some good picks). The Italian Place (called New York Deli in the daytime) is good for sandwiches and soups in the day, pasta at night. They do a good job. The Rice Paddy - the takeout Thai place - can be OK, but we've also had some scary stuff from them. Thai House - the sit down Thai place - is really good for Marquette, but nothing special if you live in a place where there's a lot of ethnic food.

                  We're getting a few new restaurants soon. Next door to the Vierling, the Shamrock bar has closed and the owners of Tommy's are opening a steak house called Elizabeth's. Frankly, I'm scared. The Wahlstrom family (Tommy is Tom Wahlstrom) have owned restaurants in the Marquette area forever, and in general they're scary. There's also a new wine bar and upscale restaurant opening by the lower harbor soon. I have more hopes for this one.

                  OH - one more thing - stay away from the Mexican place on the Highway (Los 3 Amigos, I think it's called). My husband and I soooo miss having a good Mexican place and we were really excited when this place opened. That is, until we tried it. Easily the worst Mexican food I've had in my life, and I was expecting nothing better than OK. The "enchilada sauce" is ketchup. Not ketchup-based, not ketchup-like, but pure ketchup as far as I can tell. The refried beans are obviously the dried kind. We've been there twice, and won't go back.

                  1. re: BarbraW

                    When I was growing up it always seemed that a "real" cudighi had nothing more than mustard and onions, maybe some provolone. The pizza sauce thing was always presented as an attempt to sell more of them to folks used to pizza burgers.

                    In any case, I've had few bad ones. My family's recipe uses cinnamon, allspice, and a little clove. Supposedly the magic is in letting it season for two days in the refrigerator. There is something like this in a recipe that I have seen floating around the internet, but I'm usually too anxious to eat it. No set recipe for sure!

                    Otherwise, the new Wahlstrom steakhouse should be terrible. There are plenty of Reinhardt restaurants around already. The one real brightspot in the last few years in MQT was the Waterstone.I have a friend who worked there almost the entire brief period it was open. I'm not sure if anyone made it in, but with the exception of the puff pastry for a single dessert, everything was from scratch. The food was outrageously good, but the place itself could be hit or miss since there was no telling what vendors were willing to extend the place any credit on any given week.

                    1. re: tmassie

                      Yeah, Waterstone was wonderful. We were regulars the few months they were open. And they did make the puff pastry from hand for a while, but eventually stopped because it was simply too labor intensive. I would have thought Marquette could support one restaurant of this caliber, but I guess not. What I heard continually was that it was "soooo expensive", but in reality, you could easily spend as much if not more at Red Lobster and that awful steak house that is now a Perkins. Maybe the white tablecloths scared people off?

                      Interesting about the mustard on the cudighi... I've never had one like that.

                      1. re: BarbraW

                        Hey all,

                        Miss you, and thanks for the kind thoughts. We did our best. Ours wasn't a credit issue, but, to the extent it was ever a problem (and I hope it rarely was), a supply issue - over the year we were open, we worked with local growers when we could, and we count the Seeds and Spores family out of Marquette as suppliers to be honored for what they are trying to accomplish...otherwise, getting live fish and shellfish from Maine and Massachusetts waters, fresh produce from the Oregon mountains, heirloom meats, poultry and game from ranchers I knew and trusted, and using authentic (really, very orthodox French) methods to produce the food I loved the most and wanted very much to share was not the easiest thing to do in a climate that supported root vegetables most of the (short) growing season. The people who came to be friends, such as you folks, and the family we developed - back and front of house - mounting this too-brief venture are what we grieve the most. Stay well, all.


                        P.S. - Puff Pastry. With over 10 maintained stocks (let me count them: fish fumet, lobster stock, clam stock; dark and light chicken stock; guinea hen stock; veal stock; duck stock; lamb stock; venison stock; quail "jus") and integral and non-integral sauces made from all of them, in-house butchery, confits and charcuterie, and patisserie, puff pastry was a goner when my first garde manger came to me near tears, with only a week prior to opening (or less, as I remember it), slapping the beurrage down on the table and saying "I CAN'T DO IT."

                        The only and only time life and death passed before my eyes (well, it might have also been March 20, with 2 people in the room), and I bowed to Pepperidge Farms in gratitude.

                        1. re: Waterstone_Chef

                          Paul, having lived in the Marquette area for over 20 years, I want to reply that I do not think Marquette people did or ever will have taste/desire for overly fancy food, which is what I classify the Waterstone as having. I think any place that moves in up here and does food that fancy is not gonna last long. I think this new Elizabeths steak house is setting itself up for a slow death also......IMO we do not have very many good, family restaurants around here, Bucks in Ishpeming being probably the best, which doesn't say much.....or Delongas or Elmers in Esky.......... this is when I miss the Detroit area....when it comes to restaurant selection............sigh.............

                      2. re: tmassie

                        Yeah, I think pizza sauce was definitely and addaptation to get more people on board with the sandwich. I like lots of mustard and onion, GPepper, Mushroom.

                        I miss the waterstone in Marquette. Paul Smith really had something special going there. Sadly in Marquette, people where a little intimidated by it and had no idea what to expect when they walked by those think windowless brick walls of the building. I was blown away by the excellent beer selection (big belgian fan) and the just the whole experience. The food was some of the best I've had.

                      3. re: BarbraW

                        I was born and raised in Marquette, MI. I find the dinning experiance to be both unique and diverse, but also quite good. I was just wondering if you dad anything positive to say about dinning in this area?

                        1. re: BarbraW

                          The Wahlstrom family is a really terrific group of people. Their restaurants responded to the clientele they served. Simple midwestern fare. I am guessing that BarbarW has some kind of a chip... Marquette is a little isolated town the middle of nowhere. Don't go to Marquette and worry about great Mexican food. Truly great Mexican food is in Mexico...Mexican American food can be found in the border states.... not in Detroit, or Chicago... I am tired of pretentious foodies and their stupidity; and mean spirited commentary that only serves their on ego, not their supposed audience.

                      4. I'm new to this forum and this message is extremely late in reference to the original post. However, I wanted to mention that when I lived in Marquette between 1973 and 1977, there was a fast food joint in Gwinn near KI Sawyer AFB named Rosie's that served an awesome Cudighi burger. If I remember correctly, the Cudighi layed between a huge homemade sourdough bun and was covered in melted mozarella and a wonderful pizza sauce and grilled mushrooms. Is anyone here familiar with Rosie's? Is it still in Gwinn? Thanks for your replies!

                        Greg Zenitsky
                        Lee's Summit, MO