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 · Thai this
. . . .

Thai this

Nancy Krcek Allen - April 6th, 2009
Thai This...
New café offers a taste of Thailand

By Nancy Krcek Allen

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes an extended family, five kids and two cities to raise a restaurant. Not to mention talent, determination, nerves of steel and hard work. Myker Vang Hang has them all. Myker and her husband, Cheng Hang, are the owners of the newly opened Thai Café in Traverse City.
From managing cash flow and staff, to obtaining food and satisfying customers, running a restaurant is not for the weak-hearted. Despite the soaring failure rate and brutal hours, restaurants continue to open in Northern Michigan. Some, like the Hangs’ 30-seat eatery, are pure gifts from owner to diner. It’s the kind of “find” you might stumble into while adventuring through a big city.
The Hangs are not strangers to difficulty. In 2005, the youngest of the Hangs’ five offspring developed lymphoma at age three (she is recovered.) Last year the Hangs’ downstate contractor ran off with $74,000, leaving them with huge bills owed to area businesses. Their house in Charlevoix went to foreclosure.
All this would undo most people, but not Myker—she is Hmong: “I couldn’t give up. I was driven. Everyone in the (Charlevoix and Traverse City) community pulled together to help me. In my heart I knew Traverse City needed a Thai restaurant. I just want people to try my food.”

Family and friends counseled Myker to “forget about it.” Instead, she asked them for loans. Her brother, an aunt, an uncle and both sets of parents sent money. “My aunt took money from her 401K and sent me $5,000,” says Myker. “I was able to borrow $115,000 just from family. That’s being Hmong—when it comes to hardship they are the tightest family.”
In 1970, Myker was born Hmong in Laos. She is part of a family of 10 children. Her father was in the military and worked with the CIA during the Vietnam War. In 1975 her family fled to a refugee camp in northern Thailand. “My dad knew we had to get an education,” says Myker. So her parents sent six elder brothers to the U.S. “In 1983 we left Thailand to come to the U.S. We call this the ‘third country’. We used to say, ‘you go to the third country and it’s like you died—if there is destiny then you’ll see each other again.’ It’s amazing how we met up again and became a whole family.”
Cheng’s parents, Lue and Youa Hang, owned Charlevoix’s Chinese-Thai restaurant, Chee Peng. In 2002, Myker, a health care worker, and Cheng, a computer programmer, decided to move north from Illinois and take over the restaurant. “I started as a waitress for my in-laws,” says Myker. “I learned to cook mostly from my mom. My dad was chief in the camp and he always had guests and meetings. Mom used to host huge parties, she would cook her heart out, and I would help her. I started cooking (at Chee Peng) because I wanted to develop a relationship with my customers. If they wanted to taste the sesame sauce I’d make it for them. I’ve always loved to cook.”
Ohio Yang is Thai Café’s sous chef. The Hangs’ five children (ranging from ages seven to 18) work in both restaurants. “The restaurant is like home,” says chef Myker. “You’ve got to love it. The kids grew up there. They started in back cutting mushrooms with a fruit knife and peeling shrimp; by age 11 or 12 they were ready to wait tables.”
Thai Café’s menu is chef Myker’s creation—influenced by food she ate in Thailand. “I won’t cook anything that I don’t want to eat. My husband is big on soups and salads. I’m big on salads and curries. All of them you can eat with rice—Thais never eat salads by themselves. I want to teach Caucasians that there is a different way to eat: you can eat it all together.”
Myker recommends the Thai yum salads—grilled meat or seafood over vegetables ($8 to $11) and Lard ($8)—minced chicken or beef cooked with Thai seasonings like lemongrass, galangal, roasted rice powder, mint, basil and cilantro, served in lettuce leaves. Her favorite dishes include Gang Ped and Gang Kiew Warm—red or green coconut curries (from $6 to $16 depending on the protein choice: chicken, beef, pork, tofu, seafood or duck), Pad Bai Gai Plow—street-style stir-fry and the fish dish, Pla Chu Chee—white fish with ginger, onion and sweet brown sauce ($12).
Thai Café offers appetizers like house-made summer rolls ($5) filled with vegetables, pork and shrimp, and bound with fresh rice paper wrappers, satay ($5.50), egg rolls, soups, noodle dishes, fried rice dishes, coconut curries, stir-fries, fish dishes and, for those who don’t like spicy, Chinese dishes. Beverages include Thai ice tea and Thai ice coffee. Myker even makes her own classical Thai desserts like Sweet Rice with Mango and Banana Rice Cake.
“My husband has a sign (in the kitchen) that says ‘beware of dog’,” says Myker. “People say to me, ‘you gonna have dog in here?’ Vietnamese and Chinese eat dog. I said, ‘no, I’m the dog. I was born the year of the dog; plus when I’m in the kitchen I’m a b----.’ You don’t want to mess around in my kitchen.”

The Thai Café is located in the Campus Plaza, 1219 East Front Street, Traverse City. Ph.: 231-929-1303. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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