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 · Blu
. . . .


Al Parker - November 10th, 2008
Veteran chef Randy Chamberlain has been working for others in the restaurant business ever since he was knee-high to a spatula.
In June, the son of noted Traverse City restaurateur Charlie Chamberlain, finally opened Blu, his own “contemporary American” eatery on the shore of Lake Michigan in Glen Arbor.
“The summer was fabulous, just fabulous,” says Chamberlain of the restaurant’s debut. “We opened June 19 and the buzz around town was strong. We had a full restaurant the first night. It was a good night.”
Chamberlain has worked the kitchens of several Traverse City area
eateries, including his family’s and most notably at the M-22 landmark, Windows. Chamberlain operates Blu with his wife, Mari, who serves as the restaurant’s sommelier and oversees the front of the house, while Randy prepares the food.
“We met at Windows; she was a server and I was a sous chef, and we didn’t really get along,” he recalls. “But now we’re a great team. She runs the front and I’m in the back. It’s really a perfect match.”
Blu is located in the former home of Windows at Le Bear. It offers visitors a clean, stylish interior with about a dozen tables and booth seating. Tasteful, appropriate artwork lines the white walls, but the most eye-catching feature is the panoramic vista of Lake Michigan that can be seen from about three-fourths of the restaurant’s 50 seats.

But Blu’s most attractive feature is its eclectic, ever-changing menu.
“We call it contemporary American,” explains Chamberlain. “The daily changing menu reflects the freshest possible local and specialty ingredients available.”
One recent menu offers a glimpse of the delicious diversity that Blu provides its guests.
The wide-ranging appetizer list includes lobster bisque ($8), blue crab puffs with a Creole Menuire sauce ($12), escargot with butter and garlic ($8), grilled shrimp with risotto and parmesan cheese ($11) and fried green tomatoes with tomato-rosemary cream and capers ($9).
The salad selection is less diverse with one selection of field greens topped with a creamy peppercorn vinaigrette, parmesan cheese and red onion ($6) and another choice of rocket arugula with honey crisp apples and pecans, served with a maple-mustard seed vinaigrette ($8). While the salad choices are limited, the flavor is plentiful.
On any given night there are about a dozen entrees, many that are seldom seen in Northern Michigan eateries.
Beef lovers will want to try the grilled Steak Delmonico, with a leek confit, sautéed mushrooms, Burgundy jus and whipped potato ($37). Another beef choice is Steak Diane, a pan-roasted eye of choice sirloin, served with a tasty Dijon-shallot sauce and mushrooms ($28).
There’s also a hearty duck confit, with passion fruit jus, butternut squash and whipped sweet potato ($27). “The duck is probably the dish that I’m most proud of,” says Chamberlain. “It’s done in a traditional, classic French preparation with accompaniments.”
He offers an interesting take on a classic veal scallopini, with a shiitake-crimini mushroom cream sauce and gnocchi ($36). There’s also an impressive pan-roasted rack of lamb with an herbs de Provence marinade, roasted garlic and gnocchi ($40).
Those seeking a rainbow of flavors will want to sample the mixed grill, featuring a petit sirloin filet, duck confit, and lamb chops with a mushroom demi-glace ($40).
Even something as basic as a grilled chicken breast is treated with imagination and respect when Chamberlain accompanies it with plum tomatoes, garlic, couscous and Calabrese sausage ($23).
Vegetarian diners will enjoy the butternut squash ravioli featuring pine nuts, browned butter, parsley and garlic ($20).

If you’re confused about choosing the right wine from Blu’s inventory of 300 to 400 choices to accompany your meal, Mari is there to help. She is planning to offer a basic Wine 101 class for those interested in learning more about wines.
In addition to several Northern Michigan selections, there are wines from Italy, France, South Africa and more.
Blu’s dessert choices include a simple raspberry sorbet with berries and cookies ($8), a chocolate mousse ($10), a vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate sauce ($8) and more.
Many times the restaurant’s daily menu is not decided until about an hour before Blu’s 5 p.m. opening.
“Each season helps determine our menu,” explains Chamberlain. “In July, we were serving halibut, but now it’s done. In November and December it’s root vegetables, squashes, braised veal shank, osso bucco – heavier things that I want to eat.”
When he gets a break from the kitchen, Chamberlain likes to visit with his guests and ask their opinions on menu items.
“I try to approach every table during the evening and talk to them about the food, get feedback from our guests,” he says. “And if a guest has a favorite meal and they give us advance notice, we’ll be glad to prepare it for them. I have many memories of going out myself and having a great meal. I respect that.”

Located at 5705 Lake Street in Glen Arbor, Blu is open during the winter Thursday through Sunday 5 to 10 p.m. For more information, call (231) 334-2530 or go to www.glenarborblu.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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