Letters

Letters 11-17-2014

by Dr. Buono in the November 10 Northern Express. While I applaud your enthusiasm embracing a market solution for global climate change and believe that this is a vital piece of the overall approach, it is almost laughable and at least naive to believe that your Representative Mr.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Trout Town Country Cafe

Dining Al Parker Fishing for Comfort at the
Trout Town Country Café
By Al Parker
It’s mid-morning, mid-week in mid-November and the Trout Town Country
Café is jammed with a combination of lingering regulars and hungry
deer hunters swapping tales, telling jokes and savoring a hot cup of
coffee.
 
Monday, November 23, 2009

A ‘Green‘ oil change alternative

Features Al Parker Pretty Slick:
a ‘green’ oil change alternative
By Al Parker
When Doug Brown wheeled his family car into Cherry Capital Cadillac Subaru for an oil change he didn’t plan on making an environmental statement.
But that’s what the Munson Medical Center retiree did last month when he became one of the dealership’s first customers to opt for the green alternative of using re-refined oil.
“It works great and if it helps reduce the amount of oil we need to import, why not do it?” says Brown.
 
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 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, November 2, 2009

Diamonds sparkle for gemologist Nesrine Hamati

Features Al Parker Diamonds Sparkle
for Gemologist Nesrine Hamati

By Al Parker 11/2/09

Nesrine Hamati, owner of Diamond Galleria, the elegant new jewelry store at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, remembers clearly when she first broke into the jewelry game.
“I was nine years old and my dad used to take me on the floor of his shop,” recalls the 27-year-old entrepreneur with a smile. “I’ve had a passion for the business ever since.”
For many years her family has operated several MJ Diamonds stores across the Detroit area. Born in Lebanon, she was a three-year-old when her family came to the U.S. in 1985. She’s one of four daughters and the only one to follow in the family business.
 
Monday, October 26, 2009

New Trend: Pet Funerals

Features Al Parker New Trend: Pet Funerals
Grieving owners seek fond farewells at
Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory

By Al Parker 10/26/09

The inspiration for Kerri Collier’s business came while visiting her grandfather in Florida.
“He had lost his beloved Shih Tzu, Susie, who died and it was really hard on him,” she remembers. “He created a memorial shrine to Susie that contained her collar, some of her toys and other items. I thought other pet owners might want to do the same.”
So early in 2008, Traverse City native Collier and her husband, Dustin, opened Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory to serve pet owners who have lost a much-loved member of their family. From its building located south of Chum’s Corner, the company serves grieving pet owners from Ludington to Cheboygan.
 
Monday, October 19, 2009

Pop into Grayling‘s Bottle Cap Museum & ‘50‘s Diner

Features Al Parker Pop in to Grayling’s Bottle Cap Museum & ’50s Diner

By Al Parker 10/19/09

Tucked along East Michigan Avenue, just off Grayling’s main drag, is a classic ‘50s style diner that houses a 10,000-piece museum that pays homage to the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola.
Dawson & Stevens Classic ‘50s Diner and Soda Fountain is home to the Bottle Cap Museum, Northern Michigan’s largest privately owned collection of all things Coke – century-old bottles, carriers, trays, posters, playing cards, bottle caps, barrels, ads, baseball cards, coins, dolls - even an original Coca-Cola delivery truck that came across Lake Michigan from Minnesota.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Monday, September 21, 2009

They‘re gunning for the Artprize

Art Al Parker They’re Gunning
for the ArtPrize

Two dozen local artists seek their fortune in Grand Rapids contest

By Al Parker 9/21/09

Traverse City artist Eric Daigh shoves the last of 23,625 push pins into place, then stands back to examine his four x six-foot portrait with a critical eye.
“I’m entering three portraits,” he tells a visitor. “Each will be made in five colors of pushpins – white, black, red, blue and yellow. Once completed, they will be tied (with each other) for the “Largest Pushpin Mosaic in the World” in the Guinness Book of World Records. I currently hold that record, but will be beating my own record.”
Daigh is one of some two dozen Northern Michigan artists entered in ArtPrize, an unprecedented competition that will award nearly $500,000 to prize winners, including $250,000 to the artist who receives the most public votes.
The event begins Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 10 in Grand Rapids. ArtPrize will have no formal jury, curator or judge. The viewing public will decide who wins the prizes by voting, using mobile devices and the web. ArtPrize has attracted 1,262 artists from almost every state and many countries, including Italy, Sweden, England, Israel, Mexico and Canada. It’s expected to draw art enthusiasts from across the globe.
 
Monday, September 14, 2009

My one shot in a million

Features Al Parker MY One Shot in a Million
Tough questions rule at game show audition

By Al Parker 9/14/09
Press News Service

The 20-something brunette clears her throat, stares sternly at the crowd in front of her and warns, “Don’t even think about taking this test home with you. If you want a souvenir, you can take the pencil.”
With this admonition, 102 of us test-takers gathered in the ABC Building’s cafeteria in New York City to begin the 30-question “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” qualifying exam. We have 10 minutes (timed with a stopwatch by the stern brunette) to finish.
 
Monday, September 7, 2009

Steer a course for Modes

Dining Al Parker Steer a Course for Mode’s
Extended family carries on tradition
at landmark restaurant

By Al Parker 9/7/09

Anita Mode smiles broadly at a customer’s joke, runs a cloth across the already gleaming wooden bar, then greets another visitor to the family’s venerable restaurant, Mode’s Bum Steer located in Traverse City.
“We’ve been here for 34 years now,” she says with pride. “It’s been very good to us.”
Mode’s is very much a comfortable family-run operation. For most of those 34 years Anita ran the front of the house, while husband Bob was a fun-loving fixture in the kitchen. When Bob died two years ago, their daughter Skylar became manager and shares responsibilities with her mother. Son Chris helps out as a bartender.
 
Monday, August 31, 2009

Taco House

Dining Al Parker Staying Power
The Taco House has popularity that’s built to last
By Al Parker 8/31/09

Restaurants open and restaurants close, but veteran restaurateur John Coscarelli knows exactly what’s made his Taco House prosper for some 28 years.
“The reason we’re successful, and continue to have success, is the people I’m working with,” explains Coscarelli, the soft-spoken hands-on owner of the popular Mexican fast food eatery in Traverse City.
“We have good chemistry working together. My head manager has been with us 28 years, two others over 20 years, five or six people between 15 and 20 years. People come here and they see familiar faces. That’s a big part of our success – that and the quality and consistency of our food.”
Located on Garfield Road just north of bustling South Airport Road, the area was much less congested when Coscarelli opened Taco House in 1981. “Bill Marsh was just starting his auto dealerships and the Cherryland Mall was there, but the rest of the area just built up around us,” he recalls.
Coscarelli took an empty building that once housed another Mexican restaurant and converted it into a comfortable dining atmosphere. The red-tiled floor and gray-and-white walled interior are clean and inviting.
 
Monday, August 10, 2009

Slabtown Burgers

Dining Al Parker Bag It!
Burger in a bag recipe is a hit for Slabtown Burgers

By Al Parker 8/10/09

So what does a property owner do when his tenant, a restaurant, falls victim to hard times and has to close its doors?
For longtime Traverse City realtor Jeff Pownall the answer was to roll up his sleeves, remodel the building and open yet another restaurant, Slabtown Burgers.
“I’ve been in the real estate business for years, but I’ve never run a restaurant,” says Pownall. “I was real nervous.”
That nervousness subsided when Slabtown Burgers drew an out-the-door line of customers at its April opening.
“We went through 700 pounds of beef and 1,000 pounds of potatoes in six days,” recalls the affable Pownall, who once tended bar at Dill’s Olde Town Saloon, a Traverse City landmark.
Known at various times as Baghdad, Little Bohemia or Slabtown, during Traverse City’s formative years, the west side was home to hard-working mill workers and skilled woodcarvers who built tidy cottages for themselves out of scraps or “slabs” from the sawmills.
 
Monday, July 27, 2009

Lab Test

Features Al Parker Lab Test
A Company that’s Proficient in Hard Times

By Al Parker 7/27/09

At a time when pink slips are almost as common as cherry trees across Northern Michigan, one Traverse City company has been adding workers.
“We’re adding tech people – that’s where our industry is headed,” explains Dan Edson, co-founder of American Proficiency Institute, created almost two decades ago to serve the laboratory industry.
API now serves more than 15,000 clients. It’s the second largest lab testing company in the world, according to Edson, who knows a little about pink slips.
 
 
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