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 · Buy local, make a difference
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Buy local, make a difference

Kristi Kates - September 21st, 2009
Buy Local,
Make a Difference
Annual guide helps grow local food movement

By Kristi Kates 9/21/09

The photo on the cover of the 2009 Taste the Local Difference guide says it all.
Shot by photographer Ken Scott, the photo was taken while Scott picked up his “weekly farm share” in Suttons Bay; the photo showcases two varieties of chard, eggs, Tavera green beans, cucumber, Genovese basil, sweet corn, Roma tomatoes, purple scallions, and wild apples.
It reminds us that dining on foods like this is no longer something that should be saved for gourmet dinners, or only enjoyed by the skillful farmers that grow the crops – It can, and should, be a way of life. The aforementioned guide and its wide range of locally grown foods is an example of how the buy-local-foods movement here in Northwest Lower Michigan is making a much-needed impact.

The annual Taste the Local Difference, guide is a project of the Michigan Land Use Institute and directs consumers to farms and other businesses that offer the freshest, locally-grown and sustainable products in the region. A local “Food Exchange” and a “Ready to Pick” guide (showing what’s in-season locally and how to prepare it) are two of the helpful tools that are available. But for MLUI Marketing Coordinator, Janice Benson, these are important but miniscule elements in a much bigger picture.
“The Local Foods movement, to me, is a conscious return to our agricultural roots,” Benson says. “It’s about being aware of where our food comes from, how it’s grown, who’s growing it. It’s about supporting the farmers in our own region, and about protecting the land that they need to farm. It’s about realizing the impact that buying from local farmers has on the local economy, as well as realizing the great nutritional and environmental benefits of eating food that hasn’t traveled far. It’s about dining with the seasons and preserving the local harvest for winter.
“It’s also about understanding our own role, as a consumer, in the food system,” Benson continues, “and how our choices of what to purchase affect the farmer, the grocer, the restaurateur – and how their choices affect us. It’s about taking a few steps back from the huge global marketplace that our food system has become and simply seeking out fresh, healthy food that’s grown nearby whenever possible.”

Benson says that the Local Foods movement is “crucial” to Northern Michigan for a number of reasons, not the least being that agriculture is part of our history.
“Cherries, apples, grapes – people travel miles just to see our orchards and buy our fruit,” she says. “Agritourism is huge for this reason; so if our agricultural community is thriving, we’ll continue to thrive as a region. It’s our heritage and our future.”
In Benson’s opinion, consumers in big cities tend to lose a connection to where food is from because they don’t have any contact with the farms; therefore they’re not aware of the impact of the purchases they make. But even in Northern Michigan, if the farms falter, it becomes obvious more quickly than you might think, as Benson points out. A familiar farm stand goes out of business, housing developments replace apple orchards, local corn suddenly becomes unavailable in the local grocery.
“We don’t always realize the connection, but we notice,” Benson says.
Regarding a different kind of connection – that of transporting foods around the region – one might think Northern Michigan is at a disadvantage, with its long country roads, far-spaced towns, and lack of a train system. But Benson thinks there are other benefits to the proximity of local farms to most communities.
“I actually see us as positioned quite nicely,” she says, “despite our reliance on automobiles for transportation, our close proximity to so many farms, big and small, is key. We don’t have to travel very far to find an abundance of local food, like some bigger regions. But yes, efficient, effective transportation is essential and there is a regional working group, the Food and Farm Network, that works on issues like these. Its goal is to double the market value of food and agricultural sales in the six-county area.”

While the bigger organizations fight the big battles, there are plenty of things that the local consumer can do to participate in the Local Foods movement to both benefit their own dinner table and the region’s local food producers.
“One of the best places to start is to get a copy of the guide,” Benson suggests, which can be obtained at localdifference.org or by calling 231-941-6584.
Seeking out local food is much easier with the help of the guide -- and you might be surprised at the variety of local products you can find in the Northern Michigan region.
“The guide lists items that are seasonal, like asparagus and blueberries, but it also lists items that you can get throughout the year, like eggs, milk, and meat,” Benson says.
The benefits to the community and the local commerce infrastructure are obvious. Buying local foods helps to keep the money in our region, and helps keep farmers in business – Benson says that if Northwest Michigan households spent just $10 a week on local farm foods, our regional economy would gain nearly $5 million in new revenue each year.
That’s a pretty big reason to buy local.
And there are even more benefits that you may not have thought of.
“One of the biggest reasons to participate in the local foods movement is that it benefits you,” Benson enthuses. “You benefit by getting food that’s fresher and healthier, as it hasn’t traveled far, retains more nutrients, and tastes better.”
Benson hopes that in five years, people in our region will have learned to see supporting local farms as so basic and essential to our region and our sense of community, that it will be part of everyday life.
My vision,” she concludes, “is that it becomes second nature to us all.”

To learn more about the 2009 “Taste the Local Difference” guide, and to get your copy, visit www.localdifference.org. Information on the Michigan Land Use Institute can be found on their website at www.mlui.org.

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