Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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Al Parker

 
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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.
 
Thursday, July 5, 2007

Opa!

Dining Al Parker Paul and Brigette Barbas are guided by a simple business philosophy.
“We want to bring good food at reasonable prices to our customers,” explained Paul, an outgoing 36-year-old whose new eatery, OPA! Coney and Grill, opened in early June at Traverse City’s Cherryland Center.
OPA! marks the first time the Barbases have owned a restaurant, but Paul, who was born in Greece and came to the U.S. as a toddler, logged plenty of time working at his parents’ restaurant – The Astoria Coney Island – near Detroit.
 
Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Dish Cafe

Dining Al Parker For many workers in the restaurant business, long, hard hours are part of the game., Patty Hickman and Randy Waclawski, who have more than three decades of restaurant experience between them, decided that if they were to work that hard, they might as well own a place., So, earlier this year they bought one of Traverse City’s most popular downtown eateries, the Dish Café., “We don’t mind hard work, ” said Hickman, smiling as she wiped down a table. “
 
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Agave Mexican Grill

Dining Al Parker Down in Mexico the agave is known as the source of Tequila.
Some 2,000 miles north in Traverse City, the Agave Mexican Grill is rapidly building a reputation for outstanding Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices.
In February, husband and wife Javier and Dusty Rodriguez opened their comfortable Garfield Road restaurant, which formerly housed Hockey Heroes, and prior to that, Gordie Howe’s Tavern & Eatery.
They weren’t prepared for the public’s first reaction.
 
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cousin Jenny‘s Cornish Pasties

Dining Al Parker Start with a 2, then add zeroes till you reach 2,000,000. That’s how many pasties Jerilyn DeBoer estimates she’s made during her 28 years of running Cousin Jenny’s Cornish Pasties in Traverse City.
“I figure about 2 million to 2.5 million, all handmade,” calculates a smiling Jerilyn, who operates the charming Union Street eatery with her husband, Nick. “And for the first 10 years I rolled all the dough by myself on a rolling pin. That was a challenge. Now we have a dough roller. But our whole business is labor intensive. Our food is all custom made. It’s not mass produced.”
Pasties – a hearty blend of steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga and seasonings wrapped in a sturdy pastry crust – arrived in Michigan more than a century ago when Cornish miners came to work the Upper Peninsula’s copper and iron ore mines. The pasties were a filling meal that was easy to carry and easy to eat.
 
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Casino Scene: Odawa

Features Al Parker Northern Michigan casino goers
should grab a fat, red Crayola and circle Wednesday, June 20 on their calendar.
That’s the opening day of Odawa, the huge new casino project being built by the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians in Petoskey.
 
Thursday, December 7, 2006

No. Michigan‘s Biggest Restaurant

Dining Al Parker All of those snarky old jokes about hospital food just don’t apply to the largest meal provider in Northern Michigan.
Both the quantity and quality of food is impressive at Munson Medical Center’s Cafeteria, which provides some 24,000 meals to patients each month and between 6,000 to 8,000 “transactions” each day to visitors and staff.
“We use the term ‘transactions’ for the Cafeteria because some of those might involve a cup of coffee, a cookie or a salad and are not full meals,” explains Ted Maury, catering and retail manager of the facility. “On a typical day we’ll sell 150 to 200 burgers, 100 pizzas, 100 to 200 sub sandwiches and more than 200 meals from our Innovation Station where we serve special salads and other offerings.”
The Innovation Station, which features fresh, made-to-order salads and other meals, was the site earlier this year of a popular program that enabled Munson’s Cafeteria to offer diners fresh produce from Traverse City area farms.
Registered dietitian Laura McCain worked with Maury and local farmers on the concept which proved to be very popular. Cafeteria staff used the tasty, fresh produce in preparing special meals and also sold the items in bulk quantities.
 
Thursday, November 2, 2006

Home Grown Eatery

Dining Al Parker When some restaurant owners prepare to open a new store they run marketing surveys, study industry trends and carefully examine demographic samples.
Tanya and Chris Winkelman looked to their own lives.
 
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pangea‘s Pizza

Dining Al Parker Millions of years ago, before dinosaurs, before birds, even before Joan Rivers, geological forces drove the earth’s three major land masses into a single ubercontinent – Pangea, a Greek word meaning “all lands.”
A new Traverse City eatery, Pangea’s Pizza, reunites the diverse food flavors of the world’s seven continents into a fun, mouthwatering pizza experience, according to Chris Girrbach, who co-owns the restaurant with his parents Ed and Phyllis Girrbach.
 
Thursday, September 7, 2006

Doggone Good

Dining Al Parker Nick McAllister is a busy guy.
In one quick swoop, he slips a tasty Vienna hot dog into a fresh bun and then slathers it with chili, onions and mustard. The result is a Motown – the most popular menu item at McAllister’s new eatery, the House of Doggs.
“Business has been really good,” said McAllister who opened his Coney Island-style restaurant just before the summer tourist crush began in Traverse City. “It was really heavy at first, and then leveled off. I’m curious about the fall and winter.”
But he’s pretty confident about the House of Doggs, given the number of customers who’ve become regulars at his family-friendly, music-themed restaurant that features 13 varieties of hot dogs.
McAllister, 41, moved to Traverse City from the Grand Rapids area this spring and spent two months readying the building that formerly housed The Muffin Tin at 115 Wellington, just off Front Street.
“I really like how hot dogs are a traditional American thing,” explained McAllister. “That’s what I wanted, a fun family place to gather.”
A graphic artist, McAllister was living in Rockford and driving to Battle Creek where he did work for Kellogg’s. He grew weary of the long work commute that kept him away from his family and began dreaming about moving to Traverse City and opening a hot dog place. He even designed the logo and built a sign.

 
Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blue Tractor

Dining Al Parker Following in the footsteps of a legend
is never easy.
Just look at George Lazenby, the one-flick wonder who tried to replace Sean Connery behind the wheel of James Bond’s “Aston Martin.” Or Andrew Johnson who succeeded Abraham Lincoln and ended up getting impeached.
It’s pretty much the same in the restaurant game. But the 100-some employees of Traverse City’s Blue Tractor Cook Shop are working hard to forge their own distinctive niche among area eateries.
Traverse City natives Jon Carlson and Greg and Marty Lobdell purchased the former Dill’s restaurant on Union Street near Eighth Street in historic Old Towne and last month opened the Blue Tractor.
Their company, Mission Management, is working from a simple premise – Dill’s simply cannot be re-created – and they are crafting their own new Old Towne tradition with the comfortable, brawny Blue Tractor.
“We’re Traverse City’s best new local secret,” laughed General Manager Mary Pat Compagnari, who managed the company’s popular North Peak Brewing Company before moving to the Blue Tractor.
 
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Good Harbor Grill

Dining Al Parker Ann Derrick and Brendan Burrows have crafted what some folks would consider a dream lifestyle.
They winter aboard a 30-year-old sailboat, cruising the lustrous, blue waters of the Caribbean and spend their summers running their restaurant, Glen Arbor’s popular Good Harbor Grill.
It may sound idyllic, but it’s also a lot of hard work, say the couple, who are celebrating 15 years of owning the eatery, which is nestled at the corner of M-22 and M-109.
“We’re open for five months – May through September,” explains Brendan. “So there’s plenty to do each spring to prepare the restaurant for our visitors.”
Ann and Brendan, plus their two sons, Josh and Cos, are joined annually by a staff of about 20 young people who make the Good Harbor Grill a friendly, service-oriented place to enjoy a relaxing meal. Their staff is a mix of local residents and summer kids.
“We rely on our staff so much,” says Ann. “Many of them work with us year after year. They have a sense of ownership in the place.”

 
Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pete‘s Pub & Grille

Dining Al Parker In less time than it takes to read this sentence, Jack Petersen, Jr. deftly preps and delivers two Jager Bombs to a pair of thirsty customers at Pete’s Pub and Grille in Traverse City.
A small crowd of customers is drifting into Pete’s on a sunny mid-March afternoon and Jack and his staff are kept busy – too busy to talk to an inquisitive reporter. But, in between serving customers, Jack – Jack Jr. to the staff – makes time to share the story of how Pete’s Pub and Grille was opened in 2004.
“I saw an ad in the paper that this place was for sale and pitched the idea of buying it to my mom and dad,” says Jack, whose father Jack Sr. worked for the city of Traverse City for more than 30 years. “We thought it was a good deal and put together a proposal and eight months later we opened.”
Housed in a cozy brick and dark green building, Pete’s is located at 120 Park St, a site that has been home to several restaurants and watering holes over the years, including Billy’s Bar, the Durango Steakhouse, DJ Kelly’s and the Left Bank Restaurant and Lounge.
 
Thursday, March 2, 2006

Green House Cafe

Dining Al Parker Wally Green has a simple philosophy to explain the success of The Green House Café, the popular downtown Traverse City eatery that recently celebrated its fifth year in business.
“One mistake that restaurant people make when they first put together a menu is that they include items that they like,” explains Wally, who owns and operates the restaurant with his wife Joy. “We’ve worked hard to produce items that the public likes.”
And Wally understood that one of the things that the public really likes is soup. He knew that Stone Soup was a restaurant in this same location and that it was a success for years.
So, much to the delight of their customers, Wally and Joy decided to emphasize soups. Every day, diners have their choice of eight different homemade soups to ward off the winter chills. Chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, baked French onion, vegetarian garden vegetable, and chili are available each day. Three others are offered on a rotating basis. In the summer, they offer a variety of cold soups, such as gazpacho. They sell a lot of soup to takeout customers – by the cup, bowl or quart.
The Green House Café is open for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast fare is pretty standard with eggs, biscuits and gravy, omelets and griddle goodies, including buttermilk pancakes and French toast. Every day Green bakes fresh pastries from scratch, including a variety of “big-as-your-head” muffins that are a meal alone.
 
 
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