Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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Monday, December 1, 2008

The House that Doggs Built

Dining Al Parker Sometimes the business world moves in mysterious ways.
For example, before launching his restaurant in Traverse City almost three years ago, House of Doggs (HOD) owner Nick McAllister eyed a sweet Union Street location that he was unable to nail down. So he opened HOD in a converted house near the east end of Front Street.
After a couple of years, McAllister was able to relocate – right to the site he had originally wanted for his popular hot dog palace.
“The move has worked out great,” says McAllister, who opened in the new location on June 4. “We’re right where we wanted to be and we even have eight convenient parking spots for customers in the rear.”
Like the former location, the new-and-improved House of Doggs reflects McAllister’s love of music and pays a not-so-subtle homage to the House of Blues. Guitars, record albums, posters and dozens of photos, plus an assortment of pop bottle caps, cover the walls and tabletops. Neon signs punctuate the scene, while a mélange of music videos play as customers enjoy their dogs.
 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Blu

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

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 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 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, September 15, 2008

Bigger is better at Gio‘s

Dining Al Parker When looking for a location for his new full-service Italian restaurant, Greg “Gio” Vereyken opted to go big – really big.
Gio, who brings some two decades of restaurant experience to his venture, opened Gio’s Trattoria Grille in a former Ace hardware store along U.S. 131 in Kalkaska. The mammoth space provides 12,000 square feet of space for dining, drinking and entertainment. There’s another 12,000 square feet of storage in the basement.
“I can’t think of anything that’s even close to this (in size),” says Gio with a smile. “Usually you’re trying to use every inch of space, but it’s such a different problem when you’re trying to fill all these square feet.”
Gio and his wife, Crystal, spent about six months of constant work installing interior walls to divide the area into a 2,000-square-foot bar area, a 4,000-square-foot main dining room and a 4,000-square-foot banquet hall. They painted the walls, redid the floors and added Romanesque decorations.
Gio’s mother, Sharon, contributed an artistic touch with murals and wall paintings that lend a distinctive Italian vibe.
 
Monday, September 1, 2008

The Push-Pin Man

Art Al Parker Traverse City artist Eric Daigh is not only passionate about his creative works, he’s also intent on earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
While other artists typically work in oils, watercolors or charcoal, Daigh has chosen to express his abilities through a very unusual medium – push pins, those run-of-the-mill, plastic colored pins that are jabbed into bulletin boards in offices around the world.
“We’ve applied to the Guinness book for ‘The Most Push Pins Applied by an Individual,’” says Daigh, an affable, energetic artisan whose lifelike character portraits are catching eyes at the
InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City.
 
Monday, July 28, 2008

Firefly is TC‘s new party place

Dining Al Parker When they decided to transform their riverfront restaurant 310 into a new eatery, veteran restaurateur Jeff Wiltse and his wife Trish knew exactly what they wanted.
“It was a sign of the times,” explained Wiltse, who also owns and operates Bubba’s Restaurant and Bar, Giovanni’s Roadhouse, Grandview Catering and TC Food to Go. “Fire Fly (Lounge) had always been the most popular part of 310, so we kept the Fire Fly concept and expanded it into a restaurant.”
For whatever reason, the public had wrongly pegged 310 as a high-end, upscale, sort-of-stuffy restaurant, with its Fire Fly Lounge forging its own reputation as a fun, casual party place.
The Wiltses want people to know that the casual party vibe is alive and well in the Fire Fly restaurant. “We want to be known as the party place, a fun-loving bar with killer food,” said Wiltse.
 
Monday, July 14, 2008

Salad lovers will relish Radish

Dining Al Parker Cozily tucked along Traverse City’s rejuvenated Union Street, the newly-opened salad bar restaurant, Radish, is as unpretentious as a tee shirt and shorts - and just as comfortable.
Salads, soups and sweets are what you’ll find at this bustling little eatery that was opened in early May by mother-daughter owners Jacquie and Meagan Thomas.
“We wanted a place that served food that was simple and fresh,” explains Jacquie, a food service veteran of some 25 years. “I kept thinking about a salad bar and Traverse City didn’t have anything like this yet. We wanted something that was healthy, fast, fresh and nutritious.”
 
Monday, June 30, 2008

Asian Spice/ Red Ginger

Dining Al Parker Red Ginger has been open for only eight months, but already it’s built a reputation for quality “Luxe-Asian” dining fare in the heart of downtown Traverse City
“Business has been better than I expected,” says owner/chef Dan Marsh, who studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked as a chef in New York City and San Francisco before launching Red Ginger last November.
“We were packed from day one through January. It’s been good since then, and now that a lot of Northern Michigan residents are coming back from warmer places, we expect it to continue. We already have a number of regulars.”
Located between Traverse City’s rejuvenated State Theatre and Horizon Books, the November opening took place after almost a year of renovations of the aging building that once housed Kurtz Music.
“It had no HVAC, no electricity,” recalls Marsh. “It was pretty much a shell. We had to do a lot of work, put in a new sewer system.”

 
Monday, June 23, 2008

Al Fresco Dining at Cuppa Joe

Dining Al Parker Coffeehouse owner and restaurateur Shayne Daley says he has no plans to become another Starbucks.
“Five (locations) is enough,” he stresses with a laugh. “We’re keeping busy.”
Daley and his wife Sandi opened Cuppa Joe, a popular drive-through java joint at the corner of Front and Garfield in Traverse City in 2000. They followed up with Another Cuppa Joe, a relaxing coffeehouse at Building 50. Soon after came Cuppa Joe sites at Cherry Capital Airport and inside Horizon Books in Traverse City’s downtown.
 
Monday, June 9, 2008

Turtle Creek unveils new $80 million casino & resort hotel

Features Al Parker Complete with a 30-foot water wall, an expansive three-story interior and high-tech lighting to set the mood, Michigan’s newest hotel-casino complex will debut this month.
The new Turtle Creek Hotel and Casino, owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, offers visitors an impressive variety of slot machines, video poker, and table games on its 52,000-square-foot gaming floor.
 
Monday, May 26, 2008

Cafe Habana

Dining Al Parker Restaurateurs Greg Lobdell and Jon Carlson have added another eatery to the growing eclectic Traverse City dining arena.
Café Habana, which opened on May 14, celebrates the tasteful food, fashions and fun of pre-Castro Cuba.
“Café Habana blends the classic Cuban feel with menu items from Central and South America in an updated version on the timeless Cuban or Latin Café,” said Lobdell. “The 1930s retro-style of Habana brings up imagery of the pre-Castro Cuba with art deco décor set in a rustic environment.”
Visitors are greeted by an elegant cherry wood and burgundy interior that is accented by more than a dozen colorful Cuban posters. Lighting is provided by assorted chandeliers, most made of wrought iron and highlighted by crystals. The overall vibe is casual, but with a hint of upscale. It can seat up to 150 diners.
Since the early 1960s, the political environment between Cuba and the U.S. has given the tiny island nation a strange type of forbidden mystique. But the Cuban history and culture is extremely rich and Café Habana captures a slice of that culture in its meals, its music, and its drinks.
 
Thursday, September 27, 2007

Andante‘s

Dining Al Parker In musical parlance, “andante” means a moderately slow tempo.
In Petoskey, Andante means a contemporary, art-filled restaurant that offers elegant, intimate dining and eye-catching panoramas of Little Traverse Bay.
“We like to call our food gourmet eclectic,” explains Lori Stark, who owns and operates Andante with her husband, Bob. “We like to offer a little bit of everything. Our menu changes as the seasons change.”
Opened 19 years ago, Andante features a fusion of regional American, French, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, a wide-ranging wine list and superior service.
 
Thursday, July 26, 2007

La Senorita

Dining Al Parker The year was 1980. A peanut farmer was in the White House, first-class stamps cost 15 cents each and Sony was riding high, thanks to its amazing new Walkman. And Traverse City was getting its first taste of real Mexican cuisine when La Senorita opened its doors on Garfield Road.
Jimmy Carter’s presidency is a distant, somewhat painful, memory. It now costs 41 cents to use snail mail and iPods are now the music machines of choice.
But La Senorita endures, thriving and expanding over the decades. “We’re six stores now – two in Traverse City, Petoskey, Mt. Pleasant, Gaylord and Lansing,” said regional manager Dave Scott.
La Senorita was the leader in bringing Mexican food to the Traverse City area. In the ensuing years, other eateries offering the cuisine have popped up, but La Senorita’s popularity has not waned.
About seven years ago, La Senorita’s founding family, the Kleinricherts, sold the company to Mexican Restaurants, Inc., based in Houston. That smooth transition has resulted in very few changes that La Senorita visitors would recognize.
 
 
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