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 · Sweet Mama's Offers Soul Food...
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Sweet Mama's Offers Soul Food Lite

Ross Boissoneau - July 1st, 2013  

For Ralph Humes, cooking isn’t just an job, it’s a passion.

Those who have tasted his dishes at the Soul Hole in downtown Traverse City or Mana at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons have experienced it firsthand. Now he’s extended his reach by opening Sweet Mama’s Kitchen in Elk Rapids.

“The owner of the building said he was looking for somebody with passion,” recounted Humes in an after-lunch break at the restaurant on Ames Street.

Though he already was operating Mana, Humes decided that the chance to expand his operation to a restaurant with greater visibility and superior seating was too good to pass up. Sweet Mama’s opened in October 2012, but after operating both Sweet Mama’s and Mana for a month or so, he decided that was just too difficult a proposition. Mana closed in November.

Now, after having survived the most difficult part of the year, Humes is ready for the summer rush.

“I needed to do something, and took the leap,” Humes said with his easy smile.


Humes’s passion for cooking began when he was just a child. “Dad and Mom and four older sisters all cooked,” he said.

His first dish was French fries, which he so loved that he made them most every day after school. He would then watch cartoons from the living room floor, an activity that eventually caused a grease spot on the carpet from his bag of fries.

That’s translated today into some of the best fries around, a hand-cut recipe that’s second to none.

The French fries are just one of the many highlights on the menu at Sweet Mama’s Kitchen, which hews toward the southernstyle favorites Humes grew up with. There’s honey-sizzled catfish served over grits, chicken and waffles, corn hoe cakes with pulled pork, a fried green tomato BLT, and even a Southern take on a local favorite, Jamaican whitefish.

“It’s soul food,” he said. “I take that and lighten it up.”

Take the catfish, for example. Humes uses a tempura batter rather than a heavy batter.

“It’s the same flavor, but lighter,” he said. And the lighter batter offers a bonus: “It doesn’t overpower the fish.”


With a full kitchen, Humes is able to offer a number of items he couldn’t prepare while at Mana.

“All I had was two paninis,” he said. Now, he can do it all: “Burgers, fries, ribs, meals.”

Humes’s professional career began with his first restaurant, in his hometown of Three Rivers. He says the capacity of that eatery was about the same as his current address, and it’s that size that suits him best.

“In Three Rivers it was 38 seats. That’s the perfect size. I can make small batches. I don’t have to make as many compromises,” he said.

“This is back to what I started.” The prints, paintings and old record covers decorating the walls showcase Humes’s other passion. As a bass player (he often performs as the Bohemians with his wife, singer Dawn Campbell, and others), he needs to lay down the groove without getting too excited or losing focus.

He says the same thing applies to cooking, where he likes to get into a rhythm in the kitchen.

“One of the things I like about music is you have to be present in the moment. In a perfect world, it’s zen-like.

“That’s how you’re supposed to think about food.”

Sandwiches starting at $6.99 Entrees starting at $8.99

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday Located at 145 Ames Street in Elk Rapids. Call 498-2298 or visit its Facebook page at Sweet Mama’s Kitchen

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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