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 · Taco House
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Taco House

Al Parker - August 31st, 2009
Staying Power
The Taco House has popularity that’s built to last
By Al Parker 8/31/09

Restaurants open and restaurants close, but veteran restaurateur John Coscarelli knows exactly what’s made his Taco House prosper for some 28 years.
“The reason we’re successful, and continue to have success, is the people I’m working with,” explains Coscarelli, the soft-spoken hands-on owner of the popular Mexican fast food eatery in Traverse City.
“We have good chemistry working together. My head manager has been with us 28 years, two others over 20 years, five or six people between 15 and 20 years. People come here and they see familiar faces. That’s a big part of our success – that and the quality and consistency of our food.”
Located on Garfield Road just north of bustling South Airport Road, the area was much less congested when Coscarelli opened Taco House in 1981. “Bill Marsh was just starting his auto dealerships and the Cherryland Mall was there, but the rest of the area just built up around us,” he recalls.
Coscarelli took an empty building that once housed another Mexican restaurant and converted it into a comfortable dining atmosphere. The red-tiled floor and gray-and-white walled interior are clean and inviting.

Overhead beams and southwestern art lend a tasteful flair to the interior. Booths and tables offer ample seating for 50 visitors. For al fresco dining, there’s seating outside for a dozen or so that overlooks the restaurant’s colorful and tidy little garden area.
If you’re in a hurry, there’s a convenient drive-through that sees a steady stream of Taco House regulars during lunch and dinner crunch times.
Taco House food is basic, but tasty, Mexican fare. Hard shell tacos are only $.99 each, while the soft shell version is $1.10. The economical taco/tostada special offers three of either or mix-and-match for only $2.75.
“Our taco special is popular,” notes Coscarelli. “And our combination plates and taco salads are very popular.”
The combo plates come with flavorful refried beans, a helping of tasty rice and some crunchy salad. The burrito and enchilada combos are $6.29, while the taco version is $3.89.
Other Mexican favorites include wet burritos ($5.45), enchiladas ($2.99), taco salad ($3.99), and nachos ($3.99)
The menu is specially designed to be a bit mild, but Taco House offers a variety of sauces that allow adventurous diners to add a bit of heat to their order. Daily specials attract a lot of customers, both regulars and occasional visitors.
“It’s been a good summer,” says Coscarelli, who can usually be found working elbow-to-elbow with his team in the eatery’s bustling open-view kitchen area. “The Cherry Festival was busier than last year and we had several people in from the horse show who said ‘We’ll see you next summer.’”

Taco House is so popular it’s earned a niche on Facebook where fans have created “Taco House United.” Several of them from outside the region vow that Taco House is the first place they hit when they visit Traverse City.
“When people come here, they know what they’re going to get,” said Coscarelli, who grew up in Lansing and learned the restaurant business as a young teen working for relatives. “I don’t tinker with the menu too much. We’ve added a few things over the years, but the basics work for us. Plus our kitchen can only handle so much. Keeping the quality and consistency is the most important thing. And everything is made fresh daily.”
As for the namesake meal, do most customers prefer hard shell or soft shell?
“It’s about 50-50 now,” estimates Coscarelli with a smile. “Well, maybe slightly more hard shell, but soft has gained in recent years.”
Located at 1707 South Garfield in Traverse City, Taco House is open Monday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call (231) 947-0672.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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