After naming their restaurant Edany BLT, owners Eddie and Dani Walker ran into a bit of a marketing problem.
The name – a combination of their names and the first letters of “breakfast/lunch/to go” – prompted many to order a bacon/lettuce/tomato sandwich.
“People said, ‘Wow, you must have a great BLT,’” said Eddie Walker. “We didn’t even have it on the menu.”
Fairly quickly a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with pesto mayo and mozzarella cheese went on the menu.
“It’s really good – we use really good bacon,” he said.
Eddie is a former Pontiac resident, while Dani was born and raised in Traverse City. The two met while working at the Olive Garden in Traverse City.
Eddie has since toiled in kitchens across the region, including Jolly Pumpkin, 310/ Firefly, Phil’s on Front, even as executive chef at Garland Resort in Lewiston.
Dani is an alumna of the TBA/ISD Career Tech Center’s culinary program. In addition to her stint at Olive Garden, she also worked at Big Papa’s as kitchen manager.
“We’ve worked at so many places,” said Dani Walker. “This has been our dream.”
The building on West Front Street has character, with crooked walls and ceilings. Rather than complain about it, the two have sought to emphasize its unique characteristics. Dani Walker points to the chalkboard to the left of the entrance where they post the specials and other information, noting how it highlights the crooked ceiling.
Behind Edany, the ground slopes away toward a creek, showcasing a green space the Walkers can’t wait to use.
“It’s really park-like,” Eddie Walker said.
“We want to put some picnic tables down there.”
The menu is fairly modest in terms of the number of dishes. There are seven sandwiches, a half-dozen salads, and another seven small plates. Those numbers are augmented by the daily specials, which typically include a quiche and items such as a fried bologna sandwich, Buffalo-style frog legs, and vegan white bean soup with lollipop kale (a baby kale) and veggies.
Among the sandwiches are the Cuban Dip, with pulled pork, smoked ham, and mojo onions; the Smokehouse, with grilled pulled chicken, thick-cut bacon and smoked gouda; and a Shrimp Po-Boy, either spicy or lemon garlic, complemented by tomato and scallions.
Salads include the namesake BLT, with burrata cheese, arugula, and tomato bruschetta; a watermelon salad with honey chevre; and the vegan, with sprouted lentils, quinoa, carrot chips, and lollipop kale.
Small plates include calamari fries with lemon-caper tartar sauce; French fries with Parmesan, parsley, and garlic aioli, made with Fustini’s truffle oil; chicken breast with baby spinach, artichoke and warm bruschetta; and macaroni and cheese, with smoked gouda and bacon.
Yes, the BLT is a top choice of diners, though it was unintended. But it’s hardly alone.
They also sell trays of vegetable lasagna with butternut squash and portabellas, and no ground beef or sausage to be found anywhere.
Asked independently for their own favorite, the couple came to the same conclusion: the asparagus salad. The roasted asparagus is mixed with English peas, pickled shallots, arugula and Parmesan cheese.
It’s topped with a poached egg that when cracked open creates its own dressing.
They’re also high on the calamari fries, which is a squid steak cut into “fries.”
“It’s simple but it’s tasty,” Eddie Walker said.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Though they’d longed for a restaurant of their own, the Walkers hadn’t figured out how to pull it off until they saw the building just east of Ace Hardware available for rent.
“We met with the landlord and he loved us,” Dani Walker said.
“We rolled the dice,” added her husband. The couple is a team in the kitchen. “Dani does the majority of the sandwiches on the flat top,” said Eddie Walker. “I do quiche, frittata, the breakfast crepes.”
Edany BLT also offers catering services.
They’ve been able to provide food for the film festival’s wrap party and an event at the National Writers Series.
The BLT is $7, with the lowest priced sandwich (egg salad) at $6. Salads start at $6.50, small plates at $6.
Edany BLT is at 720 W. Front St. and is open 9am-5pm Mon.-Sat. Besides eat-in and to go, there is delivery. For more, call (231) 486- 6550 or visit the shop’s Facebook page.