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, November 24, 2008

Tastemakers: The art of seasoning/Forty-Five North Pinot Noir Rose ‘08 Nouveau

Dining Rick Coates The holiday season is here and for most of us, we willbe entertaining guests or taking a dish to a party in the coming weeks. During a conversation with a chef at this past Epicurean Classic, she told me that “Americans over-spice their foods.” We ended up having a long conversation about the “art of seasoning.”
When you take meat, seafood or a vegetable and add spices, ultimately you are doing one of two things: You are either “seasoning” or “flavoring” it. The art of seasoning is to enhance and bring out the natural flavors. Flavoring is an attempt to change to true flavor of the item you are preparing. Here is an example: if you lightly coat a piece of salmon with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, you are seasoning the salmon and bringing out its true flavor. If you coat the salmon with Cajun spices and blacken it, then you have changed the flavor of the salmon.
The “art” of this starts with making a quality selection of whatever it is you are going to prepare. If you seek out the best beef, poultry, seafood etc. from your local market, then you want to be careful not to over season. instead, you want to celebrate the natural flavors. The second step in the process is preparation. In order to enjoy the natural flavors, make sure you have properly prepared the item by not over or under cooking it. The best person to ask is the butcher for preparation ideas.
Monday, November 17, 2008

Tastemakers: 13th Street Cafe/Bottle Service

Dining Rick Coates The students in the Hospitality, Retail and Entrepreneurship program at the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center (CTC) have one of Northern Michigan’s best kept secrets, a great place to have lunch. The 13th Street Café (located at the CTC) has been around for 20 years; offering lunches to the public prepared by the students who run all aspects of the operation.
Several years ago, I was asked to visit the Center and put the students through a food and beverage job interview, reviewing resumes and asking questions that they would expect from a potential employer. Part of that visit included dining at the 13th Street Café, and I was very impressed.
Monday, November 10, 2008

Tastemakers: Oryana Community Cooking Classes/Veterans Day Toast

Dining Rick Coates Since its inception 35 years ago, the Oryana Food Cooperative has always sought ways to better serve its “member owners.” While many food coops have found their demise through the years, Oryana has “changed with the times.” They are now well-settled into their recently remodeled digs on East Tenth Street in Traverse City (for years they were on Randolph St. where Bay Bread now resides).
Their mission remains the same: “To provide high-quality food produced in ecologically sound ways at fair value to member owners and the community.” That mission also includes education. Oryana now offers in-store demos with Nancy Schwalm every Wednesday from noon until 2 p.m. The focus is on “wholesome and easy dinner recipes using fresh, local vegetables when available.”
Monday, November 10, 2008


Dining Al Parker Veteran chef Randy Chamberlain has been working for others in the restaurant business ever since he was knee-high to a spatula.
In June, the son of noted Traverse City restaurateur Charlie Chamberlain, finally opened Blu, his own “contemporary American” eatery on the shore of Lake Michigan in Glen Arbor.
“The summer was fabulous, just fabulous,” says Chamberlain of the restaurant’s debut. “We opened June 19 and the buzz around town was strong. We had a full restaurant the first night. It was a good night.”
Chamberlain has worked the kitchens of several Traverse City area
eateries, including his family’s and most notably at the M-22 landmark, Windows. Chamberlain operates Blu with his wife, Mari, who serves as the restaurant’s sommelier and oversees the front of the house, while Randy prepares the food.
Monday, November 3, 2008

Tastemakers: Epicurean Classic Revisited/Black Star Farms 2008 Bubbly Nuveau

Dining Rick Coates A few weeks back the Great Lakes Culinary Institute announced that they were dropping the Epicurean Classic after a five year run. Big mistake! Okay, I understand some of the reasoning behind their decision. “It is too tough on the students and staff because the event takes place at the start of the school year,” and some students get “stuck with crap assignments like washing dishes for nine hours.”
Those are the exact reasons why the Culinary Institute and Northwestern Michigan College should reconsider its decision and stay involved with the Epicurean Classic. The classroom is important, but so is the real world. The students during Epicurean were being flung into what the real world of food and beverage is all about.
Monday, November 3, 2008

El Dorado

Dining Al Parker If you’re hankering for western cooking that’s as authentic as spurs and saddles – like wild boar tacos or fried game hen – there’s no need to book a westbound flight out of Cherry Capital Airport.
John and Tracie Hardy’s new restaurant, The El Dorado, serves up western-style breakfast and lunch, not to be confused with Mexican fare.
“I’ve always had a love for the West,” says John, who does 90 percent of the cooking at the Front Street eatery that opened in June. “So far we’re doing really well. We’ve had an excellent summer and the response has been very positive to our authentic food.”
Monday, October 27, 2008

220 Lake Street

Dining Melissa Fruge Don’t call it The Tannery, because if that’s what you are expecting, then you’re in for a big surprise at the all-new 220 Lake Street restaurant and nightclub in Boyne City.
Gone is the dark, smoke-filled watering hole with its U-shaped bar–in its place, a light-filled dining space with Northern Michigan’s largest Corian bar snaking its way along the right wall. The only thing Boyne City’s newest restaurant has in common with its predecessor is its address.
The building has been a fixture of the small community for at least 100 years. Built around the turn of the 1900s, it served as a hardware store for at least 50 years. It was also home to a second-hand antique store, with the upstairs portion used as apartments.
It’s hard to say when 220 Lake Street became a bar, but many locals agree it was by the ’70s, at the latest. Many credit Terry Toomey for naming it the Tannery Saloon in a nod to one of Boyne’s most enduring industries.
But now the restaurant on the corner of Lake and Main streets is owned by Chris Thiel, a downstate native who fell in love with Northern Michigan after vacationing here. Thiel chose Boyne City because of its year-round appeal to locals and tourists alike. He emphasized quality in the restaurant’s makeover. What was supposed to be a six month project turned into nearly a year and a half of renovations.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tastemakers: Cuppa Joe Warehouse Lounge Crab Sliders/Right Brain Brewery Fire Roasted Sweet Corn Cream Ale

Dining Rick Coates Sandi and Shayne Daley recently opened their third Cuppa Joe location. Instead of duplicating their menu from the Grand Traverse Commons location, they developed a new menu that matches the personality of their new neighborhood. The Warehouse District, located in downtown Traverse City between Union and Hall Streets and north of the Boardman River, has become one of the hot spots in the region. The district is home to the InsideOut Gallery and Right Brain Brewery.
Monday, October 20, 2008

Green Leaf Cafe

Dining Sandra Serra Bradshaw The owner of the Green Leaf Cafè is on a mission: “It’s a way to express my passion of creating a healthier nation, even if it starts with one community at a time,” said Beverly Tarlton.
In a quest to serve her customers the best in organic cooking, Tarlton traveled to Hawaii, California and North Carolina to study menus and recipes of other organic eateries before opening her restaurant. “We cater to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans. All of our foods are all natural, local and/or organic,” Tarlton said.
Beverly’s health was, at age 35, deteriorating.
“I was overweight and having problems sleeping, always tired, and with neck and back pain,“ she said. “I was suffering from sinus problems as well. When I visited my family physician he could find nothing wrong at all and recommended some Western medicines for treatment of allergies. I was not comfortable taking synthetic medications to only mask the problems and cause other side effects like stomach upset and headaches.”
Tarlton decided to start researching her own ideas, accruing more than five years of science, medicine and holistic health studies. Today, she is a holistic health consultant with her own practice, Leelanau Wellness & Nutrition, located in Suttons Bay.
Monday, October 20, 2008

Tastemakers: The politics of eating & drinking

Dining Rick Coates Our most recent presidents were known for their “junk food” habits. George W. Bush loves nachos and Bill Clinton couldn’t jog past a McDonald’s without stopping in for a Big Mac. Both presidents were known nibblers and President Bush had a famous incident with a pretzel. At that moment, he probably wishes that he had not given up drinking beer. His father loved pork rinds (but was famous for hating broccoli).
Presidential candidates Obama and McCain, and their running mates, seem to take a healthier approach to their diets. Obama does have one thing in common with President Bush: both love Mexican food. Obama has been spotted often at Chicago’s famed Topolobampo, where celebrity chef Rick Bayless whips up Mexican-themed small-plates, his famous guacamole for Obama. He washes the food down with a margarita. At the end of the day, Obama’s favorite food seems to be a good bowl of chili.
Monday, October 13, 2008

The customer counts at Dilbert‘s

Dining Al Parker When folks in Lake Ann or Interlochen sing the praises of Dilbert’s, they’re not talking about the snarky comic strip that lampoons life in the cubicle jungle of the office workplace.
They’re referring to Dilbert’s Café, a year-old eatery that dishes up seriously good food with a side order of playfulness.
“We have a lot of fun here,” says owner Peggy Luna. “We have lots of laughs in the kitchen and with our customers. I have a great, great staff – my people are phenomenal.”
Situated right on US -31 just west of Interlochen, Dilbert’s Café is a friendly, no-frills place that seats about 50 in booths and tables and serves up heaping plates of comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I don’t like people to leave hungry,” says Luna, who grew up on a farm in Merrill, near Midland.
As one of 10 children, she learned at a young age how to cook hearty meals for seven brothers who worked the family’s farm. In 1985 she moved to Northern Michigan. “I came up for a weekend and never went back,” she recalls with a laugh. “I got a job right away.”
Monday, October 13, 2008

Tastemakers: Winter Squash/Krolczyk Cellars

Dining Rick Coates To keep it simple, the squash growers have labeled their product as either “summer” or “winter.” For a simple definition of the two, summer squash has soft skin (zucchini and yellow) that you are able to eat, while winter squash (acorn, butternut and spaghetti) has a tough rind that is typically not eaten. This time of year, area farms have been busy harvesting winter squash.
As a kid growing up, I was served my fair share of squash and it was the one vegetable that I absolutely loved. During the summer months, I serve a lot of grilled zucchini and yellow squash with my dinners. During the fall and winter months, my favorite vegetable is acorn squash.
Monday, October 6, 2008

Tastemakers: OPA! Coney & Grill/Timber Ridge Resort Microbrew Color Tour

Dining Rick Coates I remember the first time I went into a Greek restaurant: it was the Parthenon in downtown Lansing back in 1981 and I was immediately made to feel like family. The owners, George and Maria Kafantaris, sat down and joined me, and before I could open the menu, they were ordering food for both me and my date. It was at that moment that I learned that eating wasn’t just about the food -- it was about a celebration. I was a junior in high school back then and became a regular. Every time I went in, Mrs. Kafantaris would pinch my cheek and tell me I was too skinny.
Monday, October 6, 2008

Bowers Harbor Inn

Dining Al Parker There’s more than falling leaves and the smell of wood smoke in the air at one of Northern Michigan’s most historic restaurants.
Bowers Harbor Inn is abuzz with change as an on-site microbrewery, a new chef and a roomy facility designed to host wedding receptions and other special events are being added to the landmark Old Mission Peninsula restaurant.
In addition, lifelong friends and longtime business partners Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, who bought the venerable restaurant two years ago, have donated future development rights for the 11-acre site to the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, a nonprofit group in Lansing. The agreement protects more than 650 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline and dozens of towering old pines.
“As we move forward, in the spring of 2009, the new reception facility and microbrewery will complete the master plan for the site and create a true artisan showplace,” said Lobdell.
The new brewery will be headed by Mike Hall, a renowned master brewer, who is a senior member of the International Brewers Guild. He has trained more than 100 brewers and has designed and installed more than 40 breweries around the globe.
Monday, October 6, 2008

Eat It To Save It

Dining Paula Drury McIntyre From roasted tomato hornworm larvae, to pit-roasted cactus flowers, Gary Paul Nabhan has sampled his share of foods unfamiliar to most of us in Northern Michigan.
A renowned ethnobiologist, conser-vationist, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient and author, Nabhan has traveled the globe, searching out the stories and tastes of many a region’s traditional foods. But his efforts aren’t about saving these foods for the museum shelves; instead, he aims to get these foods back on our plates to savor and enjoy. “Eat it to save it” sums up the approach.
And now his wanderings and his research bring him to Northern Michigan, where he’ll meet with local farmers, chefs, and others to identify foods in need of recovery and to offer assistance to those who wish to return these foods to the table.
He’ll also appear at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Friday, October 10, with local author and longtime friend Stephanie Mills, where each will read from their works and sign books following a local foods tasting.
In 2004, Nabhan joined the collective forces of seven likeminded organizations, including Slow Food USA, to form the Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) collaborative. RAFT’s goal is to help conserve and restore food traditions unique to the continent, and one of its tasks has been to create the first-ever inventory of North American food species and varieties.