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 · Big Buck's Big Flavor
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Big Buck's Big Flavor

Gaylord’s Big Buck restaurant burst onto the microbrewery stage early in a big way.

Ross Boissoneau - May 19th, 2014  

Immediately popular when it opened in 1995, Big Buck soon expanded to Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Texas.

Then bad times hit. Both Grand Rapids and Auburn Hills shut down and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

But with a new management company and a new focus, things appear to be on the upswing.

“I think we’re moving off the steakhouse image to focus more on the liquid products,” said owner Joel Flowers.


After his company acquired Big Buck in 2006 and he became equity partner in 2008, Flowers reestablished the brand as a distillery, making what he calls “super high-end” products.

The spirits are made in small batches and retail for as much as $50 a bottle.

“We’re amazed at how much we sell,” he said. Big Buck brand spirits include a half-dozen rums, three gins, eight liqueurs, two whiskeys, Scotch, and a host of vodkas.

Beyond the distillery, Big Buck also has its own line of wines, made from grapes grown around the country. Pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, black cherry cabernet and green apple Riesling are all on the menu.

The list of Big Buck’s signature refreshments doesn’t stop there: Sodas, cocktail mixers, waters, even energy drinks round out the group.


Big Buck is not stepping away from its reputation as a steakhouse, offering a complete assortment of greens, appetizers, sandwiches and more.

The beer wings are spun in Big Buck’s own beer buffalo sauce, while Scottish eggs are wrapped in chorizo sausage, bread crumbs and onions and served with a house brown mustard.

From the grill, choices include ribs, chicken, shrimp, or burgers, served with a sauce enhanced by Big Buck liquids. Other options include pasta or pulled pork quesadilla.

Given Big Buck’s origin as a steakhouse, that’s still what many of the customers come in for. Beef lovers can opt for sirloin, delmonico, tenderloin filet, or prime rib, all of which can be served Cajun or blackened, or topped with mushrooms, sautéed onions, or gorgonzola mushroom sauce.


Of course, Big Buck still brews its own beers.

Head brewer Travis Charboneau says as far as he is concerned, the best brew is the Big Buck Naked.

“It’s hard to brew a light beer, and this is a real German pilsner,” Charboneau said about the best-seller. “People underestimate it. It’s stunning. It’s malty, real solid.”

On the menu, Flowers says the steaks are always a popular choice, but he thinks the best items may not even be on the menu. The daily features give the culinary staff the opportunity to explore their imaginations.

“They get to create something they’re really proud of,” he said.

Assistant manager Debbie Mosher reserves her praise for the meatloaf cupcakes: two jalapeño meatloaves with a citrus chipotle BBQ sauce, topped with whipped horseradish white cheddar mashed potatoes.

“It starts out sweet and ends up spicy,” she said.


Flowers believes the ever-increasing number of establishments creating their own brews, wines and spirits across the region is not dividing the customer base, but increasing it.

“I think it’s helping everybody out. The customer is getting more sophisticated, whether it’s a funky beer or an IPA,” he said. “It’s great to see the craft side [increasing], whether it’s beer or wine or distillery. Rather than cutting the pie into smaller pieces, we’re making a bigger pie.”

Flowers is committed to upgrading the beverages at Big Buck, as he believes the restaurant’s future growth depends on its beer, wine and spirits.


Sandwiches start at $9.99; steaks at $18.99; and entrees at $18.99.

Big Buck is open Mon.-Thurs., 11am-9pm; Fri. and Sat., 11am-10pm; and Sun., 11am-8pm.

The restaurant is located at 550 S. Wisconsin Ave. in Gaylord. Call (989) 732-5781 or visit bigbuck. com or its Facebook page.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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