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.

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Ross Boissoneau - July 29th, 2013  

Barrel Back Offers Windows on Walloon

The first thing you notice at Barrel Back restaurant on Walloon Lake isn’t the food.

It isn’t the open fireplace in the center of the dining area, either.

Nope, it’s the view through the garage doors.

Come again? Yes, that’s right. The many garage doors open on three sides of the secondstory restaurant, giving an unimpeded and impressive view of Walloon Lake.

“We open them whenever we can,” said manager Carla Bradley. “It’s great that customers have become so comfortable they go open them themselves.”

The garage doors contribute to the industrial feel of the restaurant, as do the cement floors, wire railings and metal chairs. Bradley says credit for the design goes to general manager Bryan Banfield.


Barrel Back takes up the entire upper floor of the old marina, while the lower floor is home to a watersports shop. Thus the views extend across the water from the northern end across the lake, making sunset an obvious favorite time for viewing – and eating. “The sunsets over Walloon are just magical,” said Bradley.

The food is an engaging mix of traditional favorites and higher-end dishes. Smoked Polish sausage sandwiches with grilled onions on a pretzel bun are served next to grilled Scottish salmon with asparagus risotto, watercress and balsamic.

The menu is the brainchild of chef D.J. Flynn. A veteran of the food service industry in the area, Flynn previously served as executive chef at Bay Harbor and also worked at Tapawingo, the late lamented Ellsworth eatery that regularly topped the state’s best restaurant lists.

“The menu concept is all D.J.’s,” said Bradley, who also came to the restaurant from Tapawingo. “It’s comfortable food done very well – pizza, burgers, salads.”

Bradley calls the lemon basil sauteed walleye “phenomenal,” but says another finned favorite has been the most popular dish at the restaurant.

“The number one seller by far is the whitefish sandwich,” she said. “It’s got a great batter, crispy on the outside, and it’s moist inside. It’s served with a homemade slaw and sweet pickles.”

Barrel Back includes a complete appetizer menu, along with the salads, sandwiches, pasta, and over a half-dozen other entrees. The bar boasts nearly two dozen beers on tap and nearly 100 wine selections, as well as mixed drinks. There’s even a dessert menu, complete with appropriate dessert drinks.

BOATING TO DINNER Since opening, the restaurant has been doing even better than expected. An early Friday evening saw waits of over half an hour. Bradley says that has been typical.

“The support has been great, from the community and from Petoskey and Charlevoix,” she said.

As had been hoped, much of the traffic comes from people in boats tying up at the dock, grabbing a meal and then heading back to the water. And while the warm summer days and nights are bringing in water-lovers, the restaurant will be open year-round. Currently it is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, and till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Barrel Back is closed Monday.

The restaurant is owned by the Borsch family, which donated the land for the park next door and is now busy refurbishing the retail shops across the road from Barrel Back. Bradley says they wanted to bring people back to the village. This should certainly help.

The restaurant is located at 4069 M-75 in Walloon Lake, and you can visit it online on Facebook or at Barrel-Back.com. But don’t try to call for reservations – not only does the restaurant not accept them, it doesn’t even have a phone on-site, though there is an answering machine.

Oh, and the name? It’s derived from a type of boat, as in the old wooden Chris- Crafts which used to ply these waters. Seems appropriate.

PRICE: Salads from $6, sandwiches from $7, pizza from $10, and entrees from $12 to $29.

DON’T MISS: Lemon basil sauteed walleye with fried green tomatoes, sweet onion/ caper relish and lemon aioli.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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