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 · Julienne Tomatoes
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Julienne Tomatoes

Kristi Kates - April 27th, 2009
Fresh is Best at
Julienne Tomatoes
By Kristi Kates 4/27/09

On one of Petoskey’s quaint side streets resides a hidden gem café with a quirky name and exceptional food. Julienne Tomatoes - named for its owners, Julie Adams and Tom Sheffler - spells out the secret of their success simply and directly underneath the logo that adorns their front door - they are “makers of good food.” For Adams and Sheffler, owning and running their popular cafe was a dream years in the making; but it was when they moved to the Petoskey area in 2000 that the wheels really began to turn.
“Julienne Tomatoes has been a lifelong dream for me,” Julie Adams says, “I knew as a child that one day I would own my own restaurant.”
“Julie had worked in the restaurant business since she was old enough to clean tables,” Tom Sheffler commiserates, “she had a love of cooking ever since she had her first Easy-Bake Oven.”
While Adams was honing her chef skills, Sheffler was working as a special-events coordinator, a job in which he was gaining plenty of experience of his own working with restaurant food services. Eventually, the pair arrived in Petoskey, and decided it was finally time to get things started.
“While celebrating Tom’s dad’s 85th birthday, I watched him talking as to how he had wished he’d bought himself a Harley Davidson motorcycle,” Adams says, “it was then that I thought, if I don’t want to look back and regret what I have not done, I’d better get on the ball. I’d been planning mentally for the restaurant for probably 10 years before we actually opened - menu ideas, services, even dragging around equipment and furnishings - then, one day, while working at the bank in downtown Petoskey, I noticed a ‘for lease’ sign on the old Grain Train building. I knew before I even called, that would be our space.”
“We wanted to open a restaurant that would provide good basic foods in a comfortable, friendly setting,” Sheffler explains, “Julie would focus on the food preparation, and I would focus on the business end and the marketing. In June of 2003, we opened the doors.”

And those doors have been busily swinging to and fro ever since. Julienne Tomatoes’ day begins with breakfast at 8:00 a.m., and continues through lunch and a late-lunch service before closing each day at 4:00 p.m. - some people additionally stop in just to pick up something sweet from the pastry case, which is regularly chock-full of cakes, tortes, strudels, scones, coffee cakes, and so much more you’ll have a difficult time deciding.
For breakfast, the delicious menu items include house-made pancakes and oatmeal, the Quiche of the Day, and French toast made with Breadworks’ Cherry Pecan Loaf; teamed up with a coffee or Premium Hot Chocolate - and perhaps a side of potato pancakes or corned beef hash - you’re all set to start your day.
The lunches at Julienne Tomatoes, though, are really the stuff of local legend; unique and fresh soups are offered daily alongside a quartet of fresh salads - and then there’s that impressive roster of sandwiches.
Each of the sandwiches feature perfectly-balanced components, whether it’s Cornwell’s Beef (roast beef, provolone, horseradish sauce, roasted onions and lettuce on multi-grain bread), Drew’s Delight (hummus, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, and fresh spinach on grilled Pepper-Parmesan bread), or the Grilled Ham & Brie with its perfect garnishes of cranberry and romaine.
This is a place that knows how to elevate a sandwich beyond the ordinary.
One of the other great things about Julienne Tomatoes’ food is that everything is remarkably fresh; Adams and Sheffler make a huge effort to not only work with fresh ingredients, but they also try to use as many local products as possible, something they’ve done since well before the current “Locavore” or 100-Mile Diet movements had even begun.
“Growing up on a farm, I know how important it is to support the local producers,” Sheffler explains, “initially that was our focus; the offshoot from that is that it has helped us in developing some great relationships and obtaining some outstanding products.”
The well-known Crooked Tree Breadworks and Pond Hill Farm are only two of the local places that Julienne Tomatoes sources their foodstuffs from; the café’s website lists almost a dozen in all.
“The Farmers Market that started in Petoskey, along with the Taste the Local Difference Campaign, have really helped establish our relationships with local providers,” Adams continues, “we feel that especially in a small community, we need to take care of each other; that has been our feeling since the very beginning.”

So it’s easy to read about many of the elements that make Julienne Tomatoes stand out from the rest of the crowd. But the best way to understand the appeal of the restaurant is simply to stop by for a meal. Julie and Tom are both in the cafe on a regular basis, but while they’re definitely consistently busy, they don’t spend all of their time at the stove or behind a desk; they’ve somehow managed to figure out how to balance getting things done with getting to know their customers. Don’t be surprised if, as you’re enjoying your sandwich or dessert, Julie or Tom stop at your table to personally say hello and ask how you liked your food.
“I think what makes us stand out is the uniqueness of our food preparation, the comfy interior, and the personal service; people are still blown away that we could ever remember their last visit, let alone their names - which totally blows my mind,” Adams laughs, “they are our customers, we’d better remember their names, right?”

Now that Adams and Sheffler have perfected the blueprint for a successful and distinctive restaurant, are there going to be more Julienne Tomatoes around Michigan - or around the world?
“We have been asked by many of our friends if we would consider opening up another restaurant,” Sheffler says, “my response is, ‘I can hardly keep up with just one, how could I manage having another!’ Julie and I enjoy working with each other every day; neither of us would want to be separated by covering different shifts or locations.”
“I can’t imagine expanding as a possiblity,” Adams agrees, “the intimacy of our building cannot be matched; and keeping the pace of just one restaurant is all we can handle.”
That doesn’t mean that they’re ever complacent, though; both agree that they are always developing new ideas for the café, and thinking up ways to improve on what they’ve already made great right in downtown Petoskey.
“Customer and employee input inspire us to continually improve the restaurant,” Adams says, “with a customer base that frequents our establishment as often as ours, we have to be continuously improving. We have also been very fortunate to have long-standing employees, and it is fun to try and mix things up for them, too - to keep it fresh.”
As part of that ‘mixing things up,’ Julienne Tomatoes customers can look forward to some new items on both the pastry menu and the catering menu this season - and Adams says there may also be a surprise or two in the works for their already-established outdoor dining area.
“The economy may be uncertain, but we remain positive,” Sheffler says, “we’re planning on a busy summer.”

Julienne Tomatoes is located at 421 Howard Street in downtown Petoskey, one block south of Mitchell Street; telephone 231-439-9250. Visit them online at www.juliennetomatoes.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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