Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Bart‘s Texas-style BBQ...
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Bart‘s Texas-style BBQ Offers a Taste of the West

Andy Taylor - July 8th, 2004
Right across from the Park Place Hotel in downtown Traverse City, a new parking garage welcomes newcomers. Along with this urban landmark comes another eye catcher: Bart’s Texas Style BBQ is a restaurant that opened its doors this spring in a ground level section of the building.
“I was told that there was a space in the parking deck and I thought, ‘where in the parking deck’,” says Bart Wilson, owner of Bart’s and the entrepreneur who started the business. “This is kind of a funny thing for this area because a lot of the people are not used to urban sites. You go to other cities where there are parking garages and there are restaurants in them or retail stores. It’s a common thing. But here it is a really foreign idea.”
The rustic look of the Texas countryside was kept in mind when the design was being made. “I knew that in Texas when you go to a barbecue restaurant and it’s out in the country there is always a stone patio or a walkway leading up to it. It’s just like a trademark, and I thought: I’m gonna bring that element in here. Then the stone on the walls is very typical of construction in Texas. Then there is the barn wood (on the walls) that is an element. All that wood is from Suttons Bay off a farm. A very, very old farm that was built in the 1860s,” Wilson says. “I wanted to keep it really simple and clean; something that fit the downtown area but still had the rustic feel to it. It’s Texas rustic with a modern twist.”
Wilson spent most of his early working years in the food industry so he felt he was well-prepared for starting his own restaurant. “When I lived in Texas I worked for about 15 years in the restaurant business. So really you could say that I have been building up to it my entire life. I was never able to get really good barbecue in this area, so I thought Texas-style barbecue: everybody loves that. People from all walks of life and all ages. So I thought well that would be pretty cool to have a good Texas barbecue up here,” he says.
If you are looking for taste of the West, then Bart’s is definitely the place to be. Wilson explains that his restaurant comes from a wide-ranging group of barbecue styles, but stays true to the Texas type that is so revered. “There are about four major styles of barbecue in the United States. If you look at the major markets you have like an East Coast Style barbecue, you have like a St. Louis, then a West Coast Style and a Texas Style,” Wilson says. “Texas Style barbecue is a dry rub based barbecue. What that means is that there is no sauce put on the meat at all. It is smoked for a period of time; for example the brisket takes anywhere from 6 to 12 hours depending on how many you are doing and how big the cut is too. So basically it is a very slow, low temperature cooking process. We have a smoker here that we use on the premises and it is fueled with Oak wood.”
It is the brisket that really separates this restaurant as far as the Traverse City area is concerned. “In Texas a good barbecue restaurant is judged by how good its beef brisket is. It’s not about the ribs or the sausage. And a lot of people up here have never even tried brisket. So we have customers who come in and ask what this brisket is. And really the best way to describe it is to sample it. Usually when they try it they are all over it,” Wilson says. Brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the ribs or lower chest of an animal, usually from a cow. Because it is an extremely tough type of meat it must be slowly cooked for long periods of time to soften it up, and this slow-cooking process is almost considered an art form in Texas.
Bart’s menu is comprised of various sizes of pork ribs, sausage, chicken and, of course, brisket. These main courses also come with a generous amount of sides like potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, pinto beans and fries.
For dessert you can try Bart’s Mom’s pecan pie, or some apple, cherry or peach cobbler.
As far as barbecue sauce is concerned, Bart’s offers three different homemade recipes. “Everything made here is my recipe except for my mom’s pecan pie. We have a sweet and mild sauce which is more like a Kansas City style sauce. In Texas you have more of a tangy style sauce that tends to be a little thinner; it’s not super spicy but it has a little bit of a punch to it. And we also have a hot sauce that is not so hot that it burns your tongue. It’s almost like a good Thai sauce with its blend of peppers. It’s extraordinary. And that’s what I strive for; it has that barbecue flavor and is good and warm but it doesn’t kill your taste buds.”
When asked what makes his restaurant unique, Wilson is candid. “Everything is made from scratch here and I think that makes a difference. Our recipes are very simple. We have expanded our menu too to include a lot of things that you wouldn’t find in a lot of barbecue restaurants. That’s like salads for example,” he says. “We are also gonna offer brisket tacos. If you like spicy food then it’s for you. I make a killer dish that’s like a stuffed jalapeno that’s skewered and char broiled. They are just awesome. I have also had people tell me we have the best ribs they have ever had [so that is unique].”
As for future plans, Wilson designed his restaurant with the intent of replicating it. The intention is to build a chain. In fact he has already had people approach him about franchising it, but is reluctant because once franchising starts a lot of control is lost. “I’d like to get another one open in 18 - 24 months. At that point we might do a stand alone commissary kitchen where we will bottle our sauce and make our own sausage to get it ready for the restaurants and also sell it. Right now we just need to get more customers in here, keep our doors open and make sure our profitability is where it needs to be to sustain the restaurant.”

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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