Dining with Gusto! in Suttons Bay
By Al Parker
Just for the record, the colorful Italian eatery in Suttons Bay is pronounced Goose-tow, not Gus-tow.
I dont care how they say it, as long as they come in, laughs Sam Hybels, owner of Gusto! on M-22 just a couple of doors north of Suttons Bays south blinker light.
In a prior life, the building housed Hatties, operated by noted restaurateur Jim Milliman. In 2003, Milliman decided to sell Hatties and Hybels, who had worked at the eatery, saw an opportunity. He bought Hatties, changed the menu and reintroduced the restaurant as Samuels.
About 18 months ago he transformed Samuels into Gusto!
Its been a good direction for us to go, says Hybels, who comes from a family of self-proclaimed foodies and has been a chef for 20 years. I really modeled Gusto! after a couple of Italian restaurants in Kalamazoo where we went when I was growing up.
Hybels devotion to authentic Italian cuisine goes back many years and was sparked when he spent two weeks visiting Sicily. I had been a corporate chef for 10 years and was burned out, he recalls. The Italian people are food people. They emphasize freshness and quality. Thats the way I do it.