Located in the former Komos on Cass near East Front Street, Hanna opened this fall to an enthusiastic audience. Its signature is simple yet strong excellent food, outstanding service and a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere.
Owners Jim Milliman and Rob Giffer are familiar faces to the regions food lovers. Milliman created Suttons Bays popular Hatties 17 years ago and earned a reputation for innovative menus and elegant dining. Giffer joined Hatties over a decade ago, becoming a partner in 2000. They bring their high standards to their new venue while taking a fresh direction with the bistro menu.
America has become a more casual nation, Milliman said. We recognized the trend toward casualization and wanted to exploit it.
Were taking almost an Italian approach with techniques that are simple and straightforward. he said. We promise great food that is simply prepared.
Fresh food and seafood are showcased with such entrees as wood grilled salmon and tuna, clams poirer, east coast fluke, and wild Atlantic tilapia. The pan seared Florida red snapper is served with toasted orzo, roasted corn and a lobster chorizo broth while the sautéed orange roughy features a thai red curry sauce.
Other unique entrees include braised lamb shank with porcini mushrooms and red wine served with homemade spatzel, crisp spinach ravioli made with won-ton ravioli and a gorgonzola cheese sauce, calves liver with onion and rosemary, and veal meatloaf with shitake mushrooms, potatoes and gravy. For lighter appetites, stone baked artisan pizzas range from classic to clam.
While the main courses may take center stage, appetizers and salads are also noteworthy. Look for lobster tomato bisque, coconut curry mussels and won-ton wrapped fish stix as well as the popular crisp, morel mushroom raviolis for a starter. Salads, ranging from apple slaw to a Caeser wedge are available in house or entrée portions with unique dressings created specifically for the plate.
The childrens menu features healthy alternatives to fried, fast foods with meatloaf, potatoes, pasta, whitefish, chicken and vegetables.
Saving the best for last, many desserts feature homemade ice cream vanilla bean, caramel and espresso with milk chocolate along with fare ranging from light to decadent. Chocolate truffle cake, pumpkin crème brulee, a lemon meringue tart and homemade cookies and cream are a few choices.
The trend toward casualization is carried throughout Hannas décor. Glen Arbor designer Pam Houterman created a relaxing, urban ambience featuring food tones of eggplant, caramel and avocado. Booths and tables are comfortable and cozy, complemented by soft lighting rimmed with copper mesh lampshades. An intimate eight seat dining bar overlooking a food preparation area is among the most popular seating areas. The bar stands near the street front window, welcoming patrons and passersby.
The design was created with women in mind.
We wanted feminine appeal, to create a place where women feel comfortable, Milliman said, noting that when women feel welcome, the men usually follow. The strategy is working, based on a recent Friday evening observation, with the bistro filled with a friendly mix of men and women of all ages, couples, families and groups. Santa Claus even strolled through for a quick hello between holiday engagements.
Millimans move to Traverse City had been considered for the past several years.
We considered where we wanted to be, long term, he said. This is where the traffic is.
The plan took shape when the renovated firehouse which had housed the former Komos restaurant became available. Hatties was sold to Elbertus Sam Hybels, and Milliman and Giffer were headed downtown.
Hanna capitalizes on the energy of downtown and the synergy of the districts growing number of distinctive restaurants. Milliman noted that, with neighbors like Amical, 310 and Poppycocks, patrons have many excellent choices and may even frequent several on a given night with dinner at one and drinks or dessert at another.
During these first months, Hanna is open for evening service from 4 to 11 p.m. Lunch offerings may be in the future, but right now Milliman and Giffer are fine tuning their initial success and settling firmly into downtown Traverse City.
Weve got a great staff and were off to a great start, Milliman said.
Hanna is located at 118 Cass Street in Downtown Traverse City. Hours are 4-11 p.m. Walk-ins are always welcome but reservations are recommended 231-946-8207.