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 · A Move Uptown
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A Move Uptown

Ross Boissoneau - April 29th, 2013  

TC newcomer offers upscale vibe and European favorites

Those who enjoy some of the specialties at Opa! and the Metro in Traverse City now have a new, more upscale alternative.

Paul and Brigette Barbas, proprietors of those two restaurants, have opened their new- est endeavor uptown. Make that Uptown. Located just east of downtown TC on Front Street, Uptown opened April 15, and Paul Barbas says they have been pleasantly surprised at the response thus far. “There are hints of Opa, but there’s added value as well,” he said.

Like their restaurant at the Cherryland Center, Uptown features numerous Greek and Polish specialties, owing to the owners’ Greek and Polish heritage. But its menu is more expansive, including more European favorites, and the vibe is more urban and upscale, though hardly stuffy.


The former JP’s Diner (and before that, Roma Italian restaurant) has been transformed into a casual upscale restaurant. The bar area includes a grand piano.

That’s but one of the differences between Uptown and its culinary brethren.

“We found out in January it (this location) might be available,” said Paul. “We said, ‘How do we do it differently?’” One answer was to emphasize the urban, European vibe. To that end the couple hired artists such as Greg Nachazel, Paulino Cecilio Jr and Joeseph DeLuca, as well as Traverse City Art & Design Studio to transform the setting.

Patrons are welcomed by a large wallmounted sculpture, and colorful large scale paintings adorn the walls near the restrooms.

“We’ve got the waterfall glass to separate the dining areas,” said Paul, gesturing to the wavy glass that transmits light but obscures what’s on the other side.

With the transformation of the setting came the transformation of the menu. Chef Brian Maloney and several staffers came from TraVino, the now-shuttered Italian and Mediterranean-themed eatery adjoining the golf courses at Grand Traverse Resort.

Favorites such as Opa! Saganaki (Greek cheese flamed tableside) and the Greek Salad are joined by Mediterranean Salmon (grilled salmon with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and lemons) and Barramundi with Tarragon Brown Butter (an Australian fish served with wild mushroom risotto).

“We started with the chef’s comfort com- fort zone,” said Brigette Barbas.

Then they added a little more flair. The Greek Kisses have become Italian Kisses, with Gorgonzola, ricotta and cream cheese in a wonton wrapper, then flash fried. Greek meatballs became Italian and Greek meatballs. Pierogis gained new stuffings. “It’s not what people are used to with Eu- ropean cuisine. It’s more contemporary. Euro- pean with a twist,” said Brigette.


Dessert favorites include Baklava, crème Brulee, and white chocolate raspberry tirimisu.

“I always judge a good restaurant by its appetizers and desserts,” said Paul. Patrons at Uptown will certainly find their share of those delectables there.

At the bar, the wines are outfitted with a Cruvinet pouring system. Rather than being recorked, the wine is pushed out by nitrogenbased taps. That keeps the wine fresh longer.

Next to the bar is the piano. Local favorite David Chown has played there with Miriam Pico, and Paul promises continued and expanded entertainment offerings.

Its location adjoining downtown makes Uptown easier to get to for those on the north and east sides of town who have a hankering for the Greek and Polish favorites at Opa. And Paul and Brigette see its casual upscale vibe as offering an alternative to their other restaurants.

“You can try something different. It’s European, but relaxed – the kind of place you could go to once or twice a week.”

At least that’s what Paul and Brigette hope.

Uptown is located at 830 E. Front St. Phone 943-1434. You can visit its Facebook page at Opa Uptown.

It is currently open for lunch and dinner, 11-9 Sunday through Thursday and till 10 or 11 on Friday and Saturday. The hours will expand as summer approaches, and it will be open for breakfast in a few weeks.

Salads begin at $6 Entrees run from $13 to $24

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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