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Troost: now serving comfort food

Chef Steven McCarter has joined the team at Troost Coffee & Tea. He was pleased to learn that Troost is the Dutch word for comfort, since many of his recipes are for comfort food. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)
by Ashlee De Wit

LANSING, Ill. (April 25, 2018) – Chef Steven McCarter has joined the staff at Troost, and he brought his grandma’s biscuits and gravy recipe with him.

The Lansing coffee shop, which opened about a year ago, recently hired McCarter and expanded its menu of baked goods to include some heartier breakfast items—the biscuits and gravy among them.

“When I heard that troost means ‘comfort,’ the first thing I thought of was biscuits and gravy—that’s the most comforting food I can think of,” McCarter said. “I’ve been making it since I was five, and I could do it with my eyes closed.”

Specialties like grandma’s biscuits and gravy, served in mugs, add to the comfortable atmosphere that McCarter first experienced as a Troost customer. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)
It’s not his grandma’s exact recipe—he uses turkey instead of sausage and has switched out bacon fat for smoked gouda, to make it a lighter—and at least somewhat healthier—fare. The adaptation has proved quite popular so far.

The new menu also includes other breakfast standards: a breakfast burrito and oatmeal are among the options. And for the more adventurous diner, they’re serving shakshuka—an over-easy egg atop a spiced sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers and feta cheese. It’s a popular dish in Israel and a favorite of Troost owner Renae Fentress.

“I first had it in India, made by Israelis,” she said. “In Israel, it’s a typical breakfast. People [here] are a little nervous to order it.”

But those who took a chance on it have come back to order it again, McCarter noted.

The pair worked together to create the menu, each pulling from their own experience—Fentress from her travels and her favorite meals; McCarter from his culinary education and family cookbook.

McCarter graduated college with a culinary arts degree and has worked in restaurants across Chicago, but he credits his love of cooking and most of his culinary education to the After School Matters program in Chicago. He took part in the program from ages 13–18, learning under the guidance of Gloria Hafer. He still participates today—now as an instructor.

McCarter and Fentress met by chance; he was shopping with friends, and they intended to get coffee at Grindhouse Café in Griffith. When they discovered it was closed that day due to snowy roads, a Google search led them to Troost.

“The first time we talked, I told her [Fentress] I really liked the place because I felt comfortable here,” McCarter said. “It was really fate that we met.”

Troost is located at 18155 Roy Street in Lansing. They are open from 7:00am–6:00pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:00am– 5:00pm on Saturday. Breakfast items are available until 11:30am each day.


Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.