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 · Willow Mercantile
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Willow Mercantile

Al Parker - August 30th, 2010
Willow Mercantile brings farm-fresh foods to Cadillac
By Al Parker
A pair of energetic entrepreneurs have taken a shabby location on Cadillac’s South Mitchell Street and turned it into a bustling produce and specialty market that lures shoppers from across the region with its fresh produce, extensive roster of Michigan products and on-site greenhouse.
Cadillac natives Brian Jones and Brian Johnson opened Willow Mercantile in April and are already building a reputation for offering farm-fresh produce and a variety of specialty items that just can’t be found in big-chain grocery stores.
“Our business is built around the produce,” says Jones. “We talk to local farmers and make good deals. Twice this week farmers stopped by with items and we made deals right in our parking lot.”

Willow Mercantile sits on a site that at different times housed a car dealership, a furniture shop and a Salvation Army outlet. Jones and Johnson leveled a 6,000-square-foot building to build the 4,000-square foot market. The accompanying 3,000-square foot greenhouse is where vegetables, annual and perennial flowers, shrubs and trees are housed.
“In our minds this was going to be a seasonal market,” recalls Jones with a wry smile. “Then as we went along, it got more complex and turned into a year-round operation. Then we added the greenhouse.”
Several Cadillac area restaurants have discovered Willow Mercantile, including the Park Place Café, Chico’s Taco House, the House of Hunan and the Blue Heron Cafe. While business has been steady and growing, there has been one problem that Jones has worked hard to solve.
“We need to get the word out that we’re not an expensive specialty store,” he explains. “We have regular items and fresh produce that are priced lower than a larger grocery store. But we also offer items that are not found in many other places, plus a large selection of Michigan products.”
For example, the Willow Mercantile has an impressive display of beers from more than a dozen Michigan breweries, including Arbor Brewing, Arcadia Ales, Atwater Block Brewery, Bell’s, Tri City Brewing, Dark Horse Brewing, Founders, Keweenaw Brewing, Mt. Pleasant Brewing, Michigan Brewing Company, North Peak Beer Company, New Holland Brewing and Short’s Brewing. There are also organic and gluten-free brews.
“We sell a lot of the (Michigan) beers,” says Jones. “And we let people mix and match a six-pack so they can try different beers.”
And the selection of Michigan wines is equally impressive with dozens of varieties from Black Star Farms, Chateau Chantel, Chateau Grand Traverse, Forty-Five North, Good Harbor, Leelanau Cellars, Left Foot Charlie, Mackinaw Trail Winery, Orchard Valley and Peninsula Cellars.

There’s also an assortment of four different Michigan coffees, spices, pastas, sauces, meats, jams, jellies, salsas, peanut butters and preserves. Jones and Johnson are constantly looking for Michigan-made products to add to the selection, trying to add four or five new choices each week.
Working with several vendors, Willow Mercantile features its own house brands of mushrooms, olives, pickles, hot sauces, pickled beans, asparagus, salsas, pears and peaches. “We have people who buy our pickles by the case,” says Jones with a laugh.
Gluten-free foods are growing in popularity and Willow Mercantile offers a growing array of items ranging from kitchen basics like vegetable, beef and chicken stocks to tasty treats like chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles. Bakers will want to check out the gluten-free mixes for cornbread, pancakes, breads and biscuits. There’s even a gluten-free beer available from Lakefront Brewery.
The mercantile runs special prices on a half dozen items weekly and includes items that they can get at low prices and pass on the savings to their customers. They try to offer deals in different areas – produce, market items, beer and wine too.
“We spend a lot of time working with our suppliers to get good products at good prices,” says Jones. “If you want unique, we’ll get it, but if you’re also looking for basic shopping, this is the place to come. For example, we offer cage-free organic eggs, but we have regular eggs too.”

The Willow Mercantile, at 916 South Mitchell St. in Cadillac, is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (231) 468-2682 or visit willowmercantile.com.

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