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 · Everybody's Jolly at the Pumpkin
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Everybody's Jolly at the Pumpkin

Ross Boissoneau - March 3rd, 2014  

What was once the casual restaurant behind Bower’s Harbor Inn has become a fun, engaging gastropub, with an eclectic menu and a variety of microbrews and spirits.

And despite the tweaks Chef Paul Olson has made over the past several years at the Jolly Pumpkin, nobody’s complaining … not even Genevieve Stickney, the resident ghost.

“Did you feel that draft? That was Genevieve,” Olson said matter-of-factly in a hallway between the upscale Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin, formerly Bower’s Harbor Inn and the Bowery.

As the executive chef and general manager, Olson takes it all in stride.


Once filled to the rafters with sleds, tools, and taxidermy, the Jolly Pumpkin is now much less cluttered. One iconic moose head remains, and the kitchen utensils dangle from chandeliers.

The rustic timber-framed interior is now all northern Michigan ambiance, with dark wood chairs and tables, and plenty of natural daylight. When the sun sets, the dining area is illuminated by a variety of mismatched glass pendant fixtures.

In spite of a 15-minute drive from town, Olson said the locals keep on coming, even in the winter.

“Winters have been getting better and better,” said Olson. “The locals are awesome.”


The selections reflect the casual yet slightly upscale character of the restaurant.

“The menu has evolved,” said Olson, who kept on the menu some of the best-loved items from the Bowery, such as the ribs and perch.

Starters are all standard, with a twist.

Fried goat cheese instead of the standard mozzarella; crab (not potato) tater tots; pulled pork nachos; and the French fries are seasoned with truffle sea salt. Addictive amber ale mayo accompanies both fries and the Pumpkin’s signature kettle-fried curried chips.

Salads include cherry chicken, enhanced with candied pecans, as well as a shredded kale with pickled red onions and chickpeas.

Olson says they tried doing seafood, but found their niche with freshwater fish like perch, trout in the summer, and walleye.

Wood-fired grill items include New York strip and hanger steak marinated in farmhouse ale. Of course the ribs are also hickory-smoked in house, and served with a tangy BBQ sauce and smoky baked beans.

Other favorites include a chipotle braised pork shoulder, rigatoni with a slow-cooked tomato meat sauce and bacon, and several sandwiches, including a sloppy joe made with Oleson’s ground buffalo and a cheesy BLT with both Swiss cheese and Leelanau raclette.

Several beers are on tap, with some made for the restaurant’s sister operation North Peak. The Jolly Pumpkin also serves its own distilled spirits and wine from Old Mission vintners, along with a couple of Californian wines.


Among the beers, the Bam Biere is a favorite.

“It’s lower in alcohol and a really good beer,” Olson said.

They buy as many Old Mission hops as possible, and in the fall make Hoodoo, a beer with fresh green hops, which usually sells out in a month or two, he said.

For menu choices, Olson says the Rocket Arugula salad is a top choice, with mango ginger Stilton cheese, fried parsnips and spiced walnuts. Many of the greens are locally sourced from Werp Farm. Finding the best locally is a big focus for Olson.

“We try to follow the seasons as much as possible,” he said.

The Parmesan-crusted whitefish, available as a special, is another top choice. The slightly crunchy, slightly salty breading complements the fish. It is flaky and moist, flavorful without being overpowering.


John Carlson and Greg Lobdell, owners of Blue Tractor and North Peak, among other properties, decided when they purchased Bower’s Harbor Inn and the Bowery that they needed to make some changes.

Olson says the idea was to change the focus from being a place only for special occasions to an upscale but not intimidating destination, one customers would return to more often. Some locals, he adds, come in weekly.

In addition to the operation on-site, there is a brewing facility in Dexter and a Jolly Pumpkin café in Ann Arbor. They share the same beverages, but the menus differ.

Pressed for which is better, Olson would only smile and say, “They do a great job in Ann Arbor.”


Soups and salads start at $7, sandwiches and pizzas at $10. Entrées start at $12, grill items at $16. Beers start at $4.50 for a pint.

Current hours are Monday through Thursday 4pm-9pm; Friday 4pm-10pm; Saturday 11:30am-10pm; and Sunday 11:30am-9pm.

The Jolly Pumpkin is located at 13512 Peninsula Drive on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. Online, go to JollyPumpkin.com or visit its Facebook page.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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