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.

Home · Articles · News · Dining · Small town Fusion offers big city...
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Small town Fusion offers big city fun

Nancy Krcek Allen - March 30th, 2009
Small town Fusion offers big city fun
Nancy Krcek Allen 3/30/09

When Bobbiesee and Va Chong Ku decided to start looking for a restaurant, Bobbiesee’s father told them to “just drive down U.S. 31.” So they did. In 2003, the Kus bought the former Joann’s in downtown Frankfort and turned it into a thriving Pan-Asian restaurant. “We fell in love with Frankfort,” says Bobbiesee. “We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
In May 2008, the Kus bought and remodeled the former Rhonda’s Wharfside, just down the block from their first restaurant. The new Fusion takes you by surprise with its sleek, big-city look. “Our intention,” says Bobbiesee, “was to provide a better dining atmosphere. We didn’t want to raise prices—we want to give good service, great presentation and taste, for a value price.”
That kind of dedication paid off for Fusion, which earned top awards for Best Asian Food and Best Appetizers from Northern Express readers in 2008.
Chef Va and Bobbiesee are a team. While Va oversees the kitchen, Bobbiesee helps prep, and presides over the front. She offers intimate, small town warmth. Her staff accuses her of being cheesy. “We love to see people ecstatic over their first bite,” says Bobbiesee. “We eat, sleep and drink Fusion. We have customers who drive from Ludington, Manistee, Traverse City, Acme and Elk Rapids, so I want them to be able to say, ‘wow, I’m so glad I drove 45 minutes to get here.’ I want them to feel special.”

City girl Bobbiesee was born and raised in Chicago. Va, born in Laos, grew up in Philadelphia and Detroit. The couple, whose heritage is Chinese, lived amid “clashing cultures” and foods. “At first we were thinking of the name ‘East/West’,” says Va, “but we looked at the menu and our food was Chinese, Thai, Korean and even sushi—so it all came together into The Fusion.”
The Kus are from restaurant families—they first met at Va’s brother’s restaurant. “I went to college at Michigan State,” says Va, “and got a degree in food science. During that time my brother opened a restaurant (Golden Chopsticks) in Traverse City, so I’d help on weekends and holidays. My parents have always been in the restaurant business. They taught us that hard work was the thing that mattered and that’s in me now.”
“My dad and mom (who were born in China) love to cook,” says Bobbiesee. “When they came here they saved for 18 years to buy six restaurants—from Grand Rapids all the way to St. Ignace. They ran them for 15 years ’til they retired.”
Va’s elder sister owns Hang-On Express in Sutton’s Bay and other relatives own small Asian restaurants in Elk Rapids and Bellaire. The Kus are following in their families’ footsteps, although their taste in décor is different, and the menus range farther afield. The couple owns three restaurants: Fusion’s original location is now Tali Bistro and Bar. Its continental menu focuses on Italian, French and Spanish food. A third restaurant in Ada, Michigan, with the same menu and décor as Fusion is called Mynt Fusion. And a noodle and dumpling house just might be in their future.

The couple’s true passion is Asian cuisine. “I love the food we make,” says Bobbiesee. “The Seafood Delight is light. The Blue Panang Curry is rich and hearty with coconut and our Peanut Noodles—my father’s recipe—we have never changed from day one. My customers are addicted.”
Chef Va loves Thai curries: “I can eat them all day. They are starting to be big at Fusion. For every five tables, three order only Thai curries.”
The Fusion’s appetizers and “small plates” menu are intriguing with orange beef (braised short ribs, $12), barbeque pork steamed buns ($5), calamari with wasabi aioli ($9), chicken satay with peanut sauce ($8), fresh rice roll with chicken and herbs ($9) and seven different soups from miso ($3) to hot and sour ($3).
The dinner menu offers a large range of Asian entrées from yellow curry with Indian spices ($10), Massaman curry ($10), roast duck with red gang curry or garlic and honey ($16), to Chinese moo goo gai pan (chicken in light garlic sauce, $12), shank your noodle (pork shank on noodles with garlic-tomato sauce, $17) and bulgolgi, a spicy Korean beef dish ($13).
For dessert, the Fusion has fun. “We do a lot of desserts, like a tempura twinkie,” says Bobbiesee. “Our dessert menu changes all the time. Our most popular is chocolate molten cake, but we do panna cotta, flan and raspberry and ginger sorbet.”
The Kus are responsive to customers needs. They love to fuse classic and popular Asian dishes into something new and healthy. They’ve offered low-carb and gluten-free dishes, brown rice is available and, for seaweed-shy customers, they offer sushi wrapped in soy or rice paper. Many new menu items are in the works.
“Bobbie and I wanted a job where we could work together,” says Va. “We wanted to do something we are comfortable with and we wanted to give back to our family.”
“Working 16 hours a day is okay with us,” says Bobbiesee. “ It’s good when your passion is your business.”

The Fusion Restaurant is located at 300 Main Street, Frankfort, MI 49635-9142.
Phone: (231) 352-4114. Winter Hours until June 1: Monday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Tali Bistro Bar, 411 Main Street, Frankfort, MI 49635, ph. 231-352-5252.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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