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 · Happy’s Taco Shop is Muy Bien!
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Happy’s Taco Shop is Muy Bien!

Kristi Kates - April 28th, 2014  

The humble taco was the muse for Boyne City area’s first food truck, an idea that sprouted between two friends in college.

Since last November, Drue Wright and Drake Nagel have been running the awardwinning Happy’s Taco Shop, a mobile café that’s bringing fast food with a fresh twist to the region.


Happy’s Taco Shop, which was voted top 15 nation wide in Mobile-cuisine.com’s “2014’s Food Truck Taco,” is one of several food trucks hoping to operate in Boyne City this spring and summer.

At press time, the city commission was debating how to regulate the trucks.

Fortunately for Happy’s, a winter gig at Boyne Mountain Resort helped cultivate a local following.

“We knew that opening the truck going into winter would be a challenge, but setting up at Boyne has helped us stay busy while building a local following,” Wright said.

Nagel said the community has been supportive.

“We’ve had a lot of repeat customers and are starting to get regulars, which is nice to see,” he said. “It shows that people like what we do.”

The best way to find out where Happy’s will be is to check their Facebook page. They’re currently building their summer schedule, which they say will include the Boyne City Farmers Market and Boyne City Industrial Park, plus different festivals and other events around the area.

“We considered the option of opening Happy’s in a bigger city, but we both grew up around here and we love this area, so this made more sense to us,” Wright said. “Instead of bringing another food truck into a city that already has them, we wanted to bring the first one to a place that could benefit from it.”


The slopeside time at Boyne Mountain allowed the two to experiment and tweak the menu, but one item remained a standout.

“The fried avocado taco is the only item that’s been on the menu since the beginning, and people have liked it constantly,” Wright said. “It has a combination of sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors from the tomato jam and sprouts, and the cotija [a cow’s milk cheese] adds a crème element.”

Nagel said he likes the smoked pork taco. “We smoke the pork ourselves, and top it with pickled onions, house green sriracha, queso fresco, and cilantro,” he said. “The flavors are nicely balanced.”

Burritos, nachos, soup, and sliders have also shown up at Happy’s, as the menu continues to shift with Wright and Nagel’s whims and the seasons.


Both Wright and Nagel studied at Northern Michigan University, with Wright studying entrepreneurship and Nagel studying design.

After the friends graduated in 2012, they decided to maximize what they’d learned on a local level.

Nagel brought extra experience to the Happy’s Taco Shop venture with his work in the restaurant field, having worked at the old Tapawingo restaurant in Ellsworth and at Roquette Burger Bistro in Charlevoix.

Wright had honed his customer service skills working in the snowboarding industry.

“We realized we had the perfect combination of skills that would allow us to open a food truck,” Wright said. “We found the truck on Craigslist, and badda bing, badda boom.”


Surprisingly, Happy’s focus isn’t necessarily on traditional Mexican cuisine.

“Rather, we’re focused on making unique tacos and other food that isn’t restricted by using a specific set of ingredients,” Wright said. “We use the taco as the inspiration for the food that we make, but it’s just our starting point.”

But the one thing that both Wright and Nagel focus on is quality ingredients.

“All of our meat is from [Petoskey’s] Tannery Creek Market, and we buy ingredients from farmers markets when possible,” Wright said. “We use unique, fresh ingredients, and we make everything we can in-house, including our hot sauces, which we will start selling soon.

“And we get our tortillas from Las Brazas in Grand Rapids – the world’s best tortillas.”

A constantly changing menu keeps things interesting at Happy’s.

“I like to experiment in the kitchen and try new techniques and ingredients and go from there,” Nagel said. “Basically, we make food that we want to eat ourselves.”

Happy’s Taco Truck can be found by email at happystacoshop@gmail.com, online at happystacoshop.com and on Facebook. Translations: People like our tacos. What are your specials? I’m hungry. I would like Mexican food.

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