Happy Hour

A weekly snapshot of Happy Hours around the region…

Everyday, open-7 p.m., $1.75 highballs, $2.50 house chardonnay, $2.00 drafts, $1.00 off everything else.
310 Cass St., Traverse City

Sunday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m., $1 off all drinks.
422 North 5th St., Roscommon

Lulu's Bistro
Thursdays, 5-9 p.m., $3 wells, $2 off drafts, select $5 wines.
213 N. Bridge St., Bellaire

Boyne River Inn
Everyday, 3-6 p.m., 1/4 off drinks.
229 Water St., Boyne City
Rendezvous Lounge, Odawa Casino
Thursday & Friday, $2.25 domestic drafts, $3.25 well drinks, $3.25 house wine.
1760 Lears Rd., Petoskey

Choice Bits!

Round-the-region snapshots of the dining scene. 

RUTHIE'S CHICKEN & DAIRY TWIST: Roasted chicken and ice cream, malts and shakes.
201 N. Bridge Ln., Bellaire. 213­-533­-8538.

Practically an Up North institution, the place to find out the latest fishing or snowmobile news from the locals and visitors who gather for their hearty breakfasts, steaks, burgers, soup & salad bar, & homemade desserts.
10921 Main St., Honor. 231­ 352­6585.

When you've worked up an appetite from all the bowling and karaoke that Boyne City Lanes has to offer, you'll find a selection of hearty fare to choose from, including homemade soups & desserts. Cocktails are served at the Lanes,with live entertainment and glow ­bowling nights.
1199 West Boyne Road, 231-­582­-6353.

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner. Full Chinese menu, as well as Hunan & Szechuan entrees.  Daily specials, special combination plates,  a lunch & dinner All You Can Eat Buffet. 
616 S. Mitchell St., Cadillac, 231­-876­-8888.

Take a trip back to the '50s where chili dogs & frosted mugs of root beer are still served up by carhops at this All ­American institution. Elvis has been known to make an appearance during their annual summer “A&W Cruise Night” in August, as do cars from the 50’s and 60’s that we remember well.
At the bottom of the hill, 21 Lake St., Frankfort,  231-­352-­9021.

From Antler Ale to Wolverine Wheat, Big Buck specializes in microbrewed beers. Offering the usual beef and buffalo burgers, steaks, and ribs, plus more unusual fare, like their portabella sandwich with red onion marmalade and provolone cheese.
550 S. Wisconsin Avenue, Gaylord, 989­-732-­5781.

A refined atmosphere, subdued lighting, and an appetizing selection of epicurean treats awaits the diner at this Harbor Springs corner landmark. Menu selections range from their smoked whitefish ravioli appetizer to their Atlantic salmon, baked polenta and eggplant, tomato basil fettuccine, or filet mignon ­ and their brunches include one of the best versions of Eggs Benedict around.
101 State Street, downtown across from Bar Harbor, 231­-526-­1904.

Pool tables, a full bar, friendly service and a varied menu make the Village Inn popular with families and locals.  Dinners include Lamb Skewers, Blue Corn Enchiladas, Charbroiled Whitefish, Lasagna and Ribeye.  Also burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and pizza.  Lunch and Dinner.
Just north of the blinking light 116601 Lacorre Ave. on M­22,  Empire. 231-326­-5101.

One of Petoskey's first restaurants, Jesperson's is famous for homemade pies and fresh turkey. Breakfast and lunch.
312 Howard, Petoskey, 231­-347­-3601.
Located in Building 50, grilled panini's, soups, wraps, baked goods, specialty coffees and teas.
1200 W. 11th St., Traverse City, 231-­947­-7740.

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Good things happen at Shirley‘s

Robert Downes - March 30th, 2009

Good things happen at Shirley’s 3/30/09

The first thing you notice about Shirley’s Café Family Restaurant in Mancelona is the vibrant energy of the place. The restaurant gleams spic and span; there are plenty of smiles on the faces of the staff; and there always seems to be a good crowd of customers, drawn by the generous portions of good food.
That positive energy positively radiates from owner Shirley Tracey, who established the restaurant on US 131 in Mancelona just a year and four months ago. Since then, word-of-mouth has made it one of the most popular stops in Antrim County.
But Shirley’s Café didn’t just happen overnight -- Tracey is carrying on a family tradition that dates back to 1956, when her grandparents, Bill and Laura, opened Avery’s restaurant. She spent 40 years waiting tables and raising five kids before taking the plunge.
“Avery’s is closed now, but I grew up working there and I still use my Grandma’s recipe for pancakes and my other Grandma Gildner’s recipe for cinnamon rolls,” Tracey says.
The traditions of family and small town hospitality still ring true at Shirley’s, where Tracey’s husband Sam and daughter Emily Joy are part of the team. “What we do here today is basically ‘mom’ cooking,” she says. “It’s not fancy, but we try to be as creative and healthy as we can.”
And that’s not just lip service, because Tracey has a deep interest in nutrition that finds its outlet in menu items such as carrot wheat bread and flax seed muffins. She cites the book, “In Defense of Food - An Eater’s Manifesto,” as an influence and keeps pace with the latest findings on healthful eating.
Often, that quest gets back to the kind of preservative-free, natural, fresh foods that are at the heart of home cooking. “Everything is real here -- that’s the goal,” she says.
That means using wild Maine blueberries, local produce, fresh chicken, fresh sauerkraut, homemade breads, muffins and pies, and roasting their own corned beef, to name a few qualities. “I love to cook and I may start with someone else’s recipe and then tweak it,” Tracey says. “Every time I get a bowl of dough I love to try my hand at something new; but it’s always got to be something healthy that you can enjoy.”
Prices are pocket-friendly as well, with breakfasts starting at $2.59, running to $7.59 for a creole shrimp omelette and $7.99 for a hearty three-egg omelette with corned beef hash, potatoes and pancakes. Lunch choices run $4.59 to $7.99, with choices including burgers, BLTs, wraps, reubens, and baskets of chicken strips, smelt, clams, shrimp and wings. For a healthy choice, check out their turkey wrap or black bean burger wrap.
Dinner specialties start at $8.99 and include a variety of steaks, chicken, fish, ham, pot roast and liver options. The pot roast is a restaurant specialty, with the meat slow-roasted on site. There are also South of the Border options with a wet burrito and taco salad, and a number of hearty salads with chicken or shrimp.
Nor is hospitality lacking, because with all those years of waitressing in the rearview, Tracey well understands the importance of a smile and prompt table service in keeping the customers happy. That attitude is reflected by the friendly staff and the spotless dining room.
“If you’re just hungry and want to eat, you can always microwave a can of soup and stay home,” she notes. “But if you want to feel special, you go out to a restaurant. It’s our job to make you feel happy to be here in addition to having a good meal.”
Shirley’s Café Family Restaurant is located at 528 S. Williams Street (US 131), Mancelona. Hours 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Ph. 231-587-1210.
~By Robert Downes

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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