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 · Slabtown Burgers
. . . .

Slabtown Burgers

Al Parker - August 10th, 2009
Bag It!
Burger in a bag recipe is a hit for Slabtown Burgers

By Al Parker 8/10/09

So what does a property owner do when his tenant, a restaurant, falls victim to hard times and has to close its doors?
For longtime Traverse City realtor Jeff Pownall the answer was to roll up his sleeves, remodel the building and open yet another restaurant, Slabtown Burgers.
“I’ve been in the real estate business for years, but I’ve never run a restaurant,” says Pownall. “I was real nervous.”
That nervousness subsided when Slabtown Burgers drew an out-the-door line of customers at its April opening.
“We went through 700 pounds of beef and 1,000 pounds of potatoes in six days,” recalls the affable Pownall, who once tended bar at Dill’s Olde Town Saloon, a Traverse City landmark.
Known at various times as Baghdad, Little Bohemia or Slabtown, during Traverse City’s formative years, the west side was home to hard-working mill workers and skilled woodcarvers who built tidy cottages for themselves out of scraps or “slabs” from the sawmills.

Once one of those private residences, the restaurant’s building was the site of three failed eateries – City Kitchen, The House and Vinnie’s West Side Eats, which closed in February.
Despite that ghastly gastronomic track record, Pownall and his partner and restaurant co-owner Toni Dye were optimistic about running a classic burger joint. They’re joined in the effort by managing partner Bill Barnes.
For inspiration and advice, Pownall turned to long-time friend Jeff Wiltse, who owns and operates three successful area eateries, Firefly, Giovanni’s Roadhouse and Bubba’s. He also borrowed a couple of ideas from restaurants featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” hosted by hipster/chef Guy Fieri.
Pownall offers Slab Grab Bags with a single burger dressed with ketchup, pickle, onion and mustard, French fries and a large drink in a convenient paper bag for only $4.90.
“It’s all about the volume,” says Pownall. “We couldn’t do it if we didn’t get the volume that we do.”
Other bag meals include an olive burger, bacon burger, mushroom burger, a chicken sandwich or a west side burger, stacked with ham, Swiss and American cheeses. All are under $6.50.

One of the most popular Slab Grab Bag meals is the Double Bypass Bag, which features two double cheeseburgers, French fries and a large drink ($7.70). Couples often can be seen sharing this tasty lunch for a very reasonable price.
“We got the bag idea from a joint in Alpharetta, Ga,” says Pownall. “But one common theme we got from watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is that the successful restaurants offer fresh, quality food at fair prices and fast. That’s what we do.”
In fact, on one recent Friday (the busiest day of the week) Slabtown Burgers provided customers with 250 bag meals during a frenzied three-hour lunch period. Or about one meal every 45 seconds!
During a typical six-day work week, the restaurant goes through 1,000 pounds of beef and 1,200 to 1,300 pounds of potatoes, estimates Pownall.
Diners, who are mostly locals, place their order at the counter where their name and order is written on a paper sack. Visitors are invited to take a seat and the meal is delivered to them in minutes.
“Our goal is to take the order, freshly grill each burger, then deliver it to our guests in 10 minutes or less,” says Pownall. “Everything is fresh. We do our own hand-cut fries and use a special seasoning on those.”
In addition to burgers and fries, Slabtown’s menu features four different wraps ($5.95-$6.50), four different salads ($5-$5.95) and Pownall’s father Gary Pownall’s famous hamburger soup ($2.25-$3.25). Other fresh soups are made daily.
Designed by Dye, whose family has been in the restaurant business in Benzie County for decades, the restaurant’s cozy interior pays homage to the neighborhood’s past by displaying dozens of photographs illustrating Traverse City’s history.
“The positive response from everybody has been really neat,” says Dye, who also designed the restaurant’s sign and logo.
Despite the success of the restaurant, Pownall remains an active realtor as part of the Pownall Group, housed upstairs from Slabtown Burgers.
“Our success with the restaurant has exceeded any volume we ever thought of,” says Pownall with a smile. “Our goal was to save the building. Well, we’ve saved the building.”

Slabtown Burgers, at 826 West Front St. in Traverse City, is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 9p.m. For more information or takeout orders, call (231)932-1760, email:food@slabtownburgers.com” or www.slabtownburgers.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5