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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Monday, December 7, 2009

Tastemakers: Michigan Culinary Tourism Initiative/Anchor‘s 2009 Christmas Sale

Dining Rick Coates Michigan Culinary Tourism Initiative
The tourism industry in our part of Northern Michigan was built on the beaches, lakes, streams, ski hills and trails. While those components remain important today, the future of tourism in the region may look -- or should we say “taste” -- different. Just last week the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced the formation of the new Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance.
“With agriculture and tourism as the state’s second and third largest industries, it makes sense to promote Michigan as a rewarding travel destination for educational, healthy and tasty food experiences,” said Don Koivisto, director of the MDA.
Monday, November 30, 2009

Tastemakers: Shay Station 7-layer tuxedo cake/Shay Station wine, beer & coffee bar

Dining Rick Coates Shay Station
7-Layer Tuxedo Cake
Sometimes going out just for dessert is fun. Most of us talk about going out for dinner, but when was the last time you said “let’s go out for dessert”? Sure, in the summertime we say let’s go for ice cream, but going out for dessert is something we should embrace year-round.
Monday, November 30, 2009

Historic dining on Walloon Lake

Dining Kristi Kates Historic Dining on Walloon Lake
By Kristi Kates
Walloon Lake Inn chef/proprietor David Beier explains that he first acquired his interest in food from his father.
“He bought a lifetime subscription to Gourmet magazine when it first came out, probably in the late ’50s,” Beier says. After acquiring a liberal arts degree, Beier decided to move forward with his culinary interests.
“I started to apprentice for European chefs,” he explains, “at that time there were no culinary schools.”
Monday, November 23, 2009

Tastemakers: Grand Traverse Pie Company Northport Pumpkin Pie/ North Peak Brewing Company - The Stubby Collection

Dining Rick Coates Grand Traverse Pie Company Northport Pumpkin Pie
The Grand Traverse Pie Company is busier than normal this week, filling thousands of Thanksgiving orders for its Northport Pumpkin Pie, or for that matter, any of the 30+ pies they offer daily. So if you are unable to buy one for your Thanksgiving table this week, at least slide down to their Traverse City or Petoskey location and have a slice of their pumpkin pie with a scoop of Moomer’s vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee for a mid-day stress break as you prepare for this festive weekend.
Monday, November 23, 2009

In Boyne City food & friends at Lake Street Market

Dining Kristi Kates In Boyne City
Food and Friends at Lake Street Market
By Kristi Kates
As Liz Glass was being interviewed for this article, a woman was standing outside of Glass’ Lake Street Market - which she co-owns with Chris Meyer - taking a photograph of the store.
“That happens a lot,” Glass chuckles. “People walk in the door and say, ‘wow, what a neat place.’”
Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflects Bistro

Dining Al Parker “We‘ve been definitely well received,“ says a smiling Jack Buist
as he pours a glass of Cambria Chardonnay and offers it to a visitor.
Buist is the general manager of Traverse City’s newest hotel, Cambria Suites, which opened in June. It recently hosted a grand opening that attracted some 400 visitors in three hours.
“It was really great that so many people stopped in to check us out,” says Buist, an Allegan native who’s been working in the Traverse City area hospitality scene for more than 25 years.
One of the new hotel’s most popular attractions is Reflect, a cozy and comfortable dining area done in earthy patterns of tan, brown and crimson. There’s seating for nine at the counter/bar area and ample room for dozens more at nearby tables. Assistant general manager Colleen Whittaker oversees the bistro’s staff of 12.
Monday, November 16, 2009

Tastemakers: The OTC sandwich at Old Town Coffee & Eatery

Dining Rick Coates The OTC sandwich at Old Town Coffee & Eatery
Mark Fowler has built a reputation over the past 15 years as being the “Maestro of the Sandwich.” For several years he owned a couple of popular luncheon eateries in Cadillac, most recently The Bistro, where he perfected the art of a tasty sandwich prepared quickly. He has brought his talents to the Old Town Coffee & Eatery (located on Union Street in Traverse City in the “Old Town District”) as general manager, barista and maestro of the sandwich.
Monday, November 9, 2009

The Brown Trout

Dining Kristi Kates Catching Good Food at
The Brown Trout
By Kristi Kates 11/9/09

Built in the early 1930s as a reception hall, the Indian River restaurant known today as The Brown Trout went through several evolutions on its way to its current restaurant persona.
Going back, The Brown Trout was known as Bill’s Saloon and Rog Kar’s Saloon in the early days. In 1996, current owners Bill and Kathy Jones added a full-service kitchen and a patio to what was formerly just a bar. They preserved the interior design, only adding a “good luck” fish made out of small stones that was embedded into the fireplace, but revamped the entire exterior with a new foundation and log frame that perfectly suits its rustic Northern Michigan location.
“We offer casual up north dining for lunch and dinner, plus wine tastings on selected Thursdays, and entertainment on the weekends,” explains Bill Jones. “The price range varies from burgers and pizza in the $8-12 range; ribs, slow-cooked prime rib, steaks, whitefish, walleye, and cod in the $13-18 range, and our tenderloin with morel mushroom sauce at $25. We also feature Mexican menu items including burritos, fajitas, and taco salad.”
Indeed, The Brown Trout’s menu seems to offer a wide variety of dining choices, all anchored by the restaurant’s log-cabin feel.
“It represents Up North living at it’s best,” Jones beams.
Monday, November 9, 2009

Tastemakers: The Grocer‘s Daughter/Toast the season

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: The Grocer‘s Daughter/Toast the season
Rick Coates 11/9/09

Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate
When Mimi Wheeler launched her Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate venture five years ago in Empire she simply wanted to blend her love for dark chocolate with her passion for the edibles grown in her garden. What started as a part-time retirement business has now turned into a full time profession for Wheeler. Her chocolate business has built a following around the country. She finds herself working seven days a week to fulfill mail order requests and the demands at stores in the region that carry her chocolates.
Monday, November 2, 2009

Spud burger/ Railside Bar & Grill

Dining Al Parker Spud Burger!
Railside Bar & Grill serves it up in Elmira

By Al Parker 11/2/09

“You’re about to enjoy a rite of passage,” says smiling day shift bartender Chris King as he deftly slides a full platter and an ice cold Labatt’s across the table toward a guest.
Like a gaudy oversized jewel nestled in a crown, Michigan’s original potato burger dominates the dish at the Railside Bar & Grill. There’s a side order of hand-cut home fries, but the potato burger is the star of the menu at the Railside, formerly the Elmira Inn.
“It’s a blend of black Angus beef, cheddar cheese, some special spices and grated Kitchen Farms potatoes,” explains chef Randy Troy, an affable culinary veteran who’s well known in the Northern Michigan restaurant scene.
About four years ago, Bob Huppert and Larry Beurkens bought the slightly ramshackle Elmira Inn and sank a lot of cash and sweat equity into it, expanding the kitchen, redoing the rest rooms and updating the furniture.
Huddled right along the railroad tracks, the place had seen its better days, but the new owners worked hard to change its image from a smoky, aging bar into a clean family-friendly eatery. It’s no longer a bar that serves food, but a restaurant that offers drinks.
Monday, October 26, 2009

Mayberry meet Mary Ellen‘s

Dining Kristi Kates Mayberry, Meet Mary Ellen’s
By Kristi Kates 10/26/09

It’s probably been said before, but it bears repeating. Not only is Mary Ellen’s in Harbor Springs the perfect place for a small-town breakfast or lunch, but it’s also got the authenticity of a classic cafe straight out of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry; you half expect to see Floyd the barber standing around swigging a coffee, or Barney Fife swaggering in for his noontime lunch break.
Mary Ellen Hughes is the proprietor and well-known Harbor Springs character who runs Mary Ellen’s restaurant. And by character, we mean that in the nicest way; for those who frequent the place, it’s difficult to picture the restaurant without the familiar face of Mary Ellen bustling around, making sure her staff is getting things done, and chatting with the various customers, many of whom she’s quite friendly with and has been for years. The absence of Mary Ellen at Mary Ellen’s would be like Andy Griffith’s television household without Aunt Bee.
Monday, October 26, 2009

Tastemakers: Martha‘s Leelanau Table/Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Harding‘s Cup champion

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Martha‘s Leelanau Table/Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Harding‘s Cup champion
Rick Coates 10/26/09
Martha’s Leelanau Table
Well known chef, TV personality and cookbook author Mario Batali was asked to select his “best place on earth” for Esquire magazine and he chose the Leelanau Peninsula. Batali, who co-owns 14 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, stated, “It’s also important to me to have great restaurants to chill at.” He then singles out Martha’s Leelanau Table in Suttons Bay for its “simple Alice Waters sensibility.” Waters, co-owner of Chez Panisse in Berkely, California, is one of the leaders of the eating locally/seasonally movement.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine
Rick Coates 10/19/09
Croft Chestnuts
In 1904, diseased Asian chestnut trees were planted in New York City, resulting in the destruction of the American chestnut industry. Only a few groves of trees out west survived. For the past 100 years most of the chestnuts sold in America have been imported.
But now American farmers are trying to revitalize the chestnut industry including Croft Orchards of the Old Mission Peninsula. According to Ella Cooper-Froehlich, project manager the orchards at Croft LLC, “We are seeing a resurgence in this industry and we have 1,600 trees collectively at three locations in the area. We started harvesting this past weekend and we have orders to fill all over the country.”
According to Froehlich: “Chestnuts are a delicious health food rich in nutrition. Just a handful of other foods can match the nutritional value of a chestnut. As opposed to most other nuts, chestnuts have a high water content and very little oil, thus making them virtually fat free. They are high in complex carbohydrates, contain high quality protein comparable to eggs, but are gluten free, cholesterol free, and are very low in fat (1-2 percent while other nuts can be over 50 percent fat).”
Monday, October 12, 2009

Tastemakers: Caramel Apples/Right Brain Brewery Hallow-Giving Pumpkin Ale

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers: Caramel Apples/Right Brain Brewery Hallow-Giving Pumpkin Ale
Rick Coates 10/12/09
Caramel Apples
As a kid growing up I loved this time of year because it was caramel apple season. They sold them everywhere, from the grocery store to the concession stands at the football games. Even today I enjoy a good caramel apple and love going to Amical in downtown Traverse City and having one of their Gourmet Caramel Apples after dinner. At Amical they take large Michigan Granny Smith apples and dip them in rich caramel, sprinkle on the toasted pecans, and drizzle with white and dark Belgian chocolate. They are so popular that Amical even ships them all over the country.
Monday, October 5, 2009

Martha‘s Leelanau Table

Dining Al Parker A Taste of Europe in Suttons Bay

By Al Parker 10/5/09

Martha Ryan wipes her hands on her crisp white apron, hoists plates of still-warm pastries in both hands and pauses from her busy duties to give credit to her year-old restaurant’s bustling staff.
“I have a great team here,” says Ryan, owner and operator of Martha’s Leelanau Table Café, a non-smoking restaurant housed in a remodeled 107-year-old residence on Suttons Bay’s main drag, St. Joseph Street.
Helping Ryan run the European-style café are her son Matt who does some cooking and daughter-in-law Rachell who runs the front. Especially busy these days are pastry chefs Susan McConnell, a longtime friend, and Daniela Weiner, an Austrian native and recent graduate of the Illinois Institute of Arts culinary arts program.
For 20 years Ryan was the food service director for Leland Schools. In summers she served meals at a number of Leelanau County restaurants, including Hattie’s, Thyme Out and the Homestead. In her spare time she did some catering.