Hatties is known in gourmet restaurant circles as one of the top 10 fine dining establishments in the state. The restaurant recently changed owners and they aim to keep both the record and perhaps even surpass it.
Sam and Michelle Hybels of Suttons Bay officially took over on October 12. I left for Lansing to get our liquor license after the real estate closing and 40 minutes before opening our first night, I got back with it, said Sam with a grin.
The restaurant does indeed continue to serve liquor as well as fine wines, including an emphasis on those of local vintners. But what Hatties is known for is consistent attentive service, attention to detail and wonderful food exquisitely prepared. Much of the restaurants success is due to chef Patty Hickman.
Owner Sam had read about Hatties national credentials 12 years ago in a culinary publication while he was still at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. Since then, he has worked as a chef in cities including Chicago, New York and LA. Locally, he has been a chef at LaBecasse, Key to the County and Sugar Loaf. In between chef stints he worked in the orchards to pay the bills. Often Hybels drove his tractor past Hatties with a tug at his heart to perhaps one day work there.
Eventually, he was hired on. It was great to work in such an establishment with a strong culinary representative quality kitchen. It raises an eyebrow on a resumè, he said. Now, as new owner, Hybels credits former Hatties partners/owners Jim Milliman and Rob Giffer. They made this restaurant the success it is.
Launched in the late-80s, early 90s, Hatties was named after Jims grandmother, who inspired his own efforts as a chef.