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Spaghetti Jim‘s

Ross Boissoneau - August 8th, 2011
A Tasteful Tangle at Spaghetti Jim’s
By Ross Boisonneau
The name may be a bit misleading, as Jim Abfalter makes more than just pasta at his market and café. There’s gazpacho, caprese salad, grilled cheese, even Thai sesame peanut noodles.
But you can bet that at Spaghetti Jim’s, the pasta will be fresh and tasty.
Abfalter, his wife Ann, and their partner Laurie Fletcher are determined to take their creations to the next level at 1133B South Airport Rd., Traverse City, the former site of the Pizza Hut restaurant across the street from the Cherryland Centre.
“We make everything from hand here that we can,” said Ann. They also take pride in using as many local ingredients as possible.
And though they’ve only been open two months, they say business is good and getting better, as more and more people find out about the restaurant. “It gets better every week,” said Jim.
While they want to become as successful as they can, Fletcher and the Abfalters say they want to make sure the growth is controlled and they don’t get too big too soon.
“We’re kind of tucked away. We want to let people get really nice things at a nice price,” Jim said.

The nice things run the gamut. Certainly the Thai sesame-peanut noodles with a side of freshly chopped tomatoes with ginger offers a sweet/salty taste with a gingery bite. Abfalter is pleased with the results, as are patrons.
Elsewhere on the menu, the grilled cheese is a rustic take on the comfort-food favorite, featuring Old Mission Scantily Clad Tomato Bread with fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes and basil. Abfalter says one of the favorites is the Pasta Americana, spaghetti with marinara and ground beef, topped with mozzarella cheese and served with a salad and garlic bread.
Given their size – currently three small tables with a larger table in a side room that Abfalter wants to transform into a “kitchen table,” where anyone can sit down and join whoever else might be there – that shouldn’t be a problem.
Another advantage of the restaurant’s cozy size is it gives the owners the ability to change the menu on the fly. While certain items are constants, such as the spaghetti and meatballs, others come and go as the ingredients become available. They print each day’s menu that morning.
“I made gazpacho today,” Abfalter said. “We try to bring in a bit of Mediterranean flavor. We’re not just limited to just pasta or just Italian.”
In addition to the menu, they are flexible enough to whip up whatever a hungry customer wants, again provided they have the ingredients on hand.
That flexibility also comes in handy as they reach out to their clientele through their Facebook page. “We publish recipes there,” Abfalter said. “You can pick out a recipe and pick up everything you need to make it right here.”
For those who want to do even less work, Spaghetti Jim’s carries many of the finished products in its deli case. Or you can order ahead and pick up a ready-made meal to take home.

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. To 6 p.m. Call 922-5935 or see the Facebook page at Spaghetti Jim’s Grand Traverse Pasta Works.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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