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Pete‘s Pub & Grille

Al Parker - April 13th, 2006
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.

“Pete” is a longtime nickname of Jack’s dad and Pete’s is very much a family operation, with Jack Sr. and Deby working with their son to make the place a friendly, casual place. Jack Jr. has 15 years of experience in the food service industry, as both a restaurant owner and working for food distributors. He knows how important quality and freshness are when preparing a menu.
“We really stress quality in our items,” explains Jack. “Many of our appetizers are handmade, our fish and chips is made with North Atlantic Cod which is a quality fish, we make our own handmade tartar sauce, and our pizza is made with an herb foccacio dough.”
In addition to standard pub grub – chicken wings, potato skins, poppers and nachos – Pete’s offers items done their own way.
For example, they don’t just offer a simple bar burger. Pete’s provides the hefty Wimpy’s Burger, a full half-pound of choice Chicago ground beef topped with pepper crusted bacon, lettuce, tomato and your choice of cheese. Pair it with a hefty helping of hand-cut fries for a satisfying meal.
A lighter sandwich choice would be the Charley Tuna Salad, chunk white tuna blended with a hint of tangy Jamaican relish and blanketed with green leaf lettuce and a slice of tomato. It comes on your choice of whole wheat or white bread.

Beer lovers will be impressed by Pete’s wide selection of domestic and foreign brews. They regularly stock close to 60 different bottled beers and have 10 different beers on draft. But even if you don’t know a bock from a pilsner, you can still enjoy a cool brew at Pete’s without feeling uncomfortable. No beer snobbery here. The wine selection is limited, but on purpose. Pete’s is big on brews, not burgundies.
Dinner entrees include battered Icelandic Cod served with fries, beer battered shrimp with fries and coleslaw, and chicken or beef quesadillas. Beef lovers will want to try their TC strip steak, 12 ounces of certified choice beef marinated and grilled to order. Sides include a vegetable medley and your favorite potato.
One of the most popular menu items is Pete’s chili, a homemade delight made with Guinness Stout.
“The trick is to not add the stout too early. You want to add it late in the cooking process, so it doesn’t burn off and it adds great flavor. It may not be a five-alarm chili, but is probably a three-and-a-half to four,” Jack says with a smile. This hearty bowl full of warmth is topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream and served with a side order of fresh bread.
Vegetarians may want to try their Jimmy The Greek salad, a Romaine-iceberg mix topped with feta cheese, beets, pepperoncini, olives and onion served with a tangy Greek dressing. Other salads on the menu include a Cobb salad and Caesar salad.
If you want to burn off a few calories after dining at Pete’s, there’s plenty of fun stuff to try. You might want to grab a cue and test one of the two pool tables, or challenge someone to a game of darts. Pete’s is a regular stop on the Traverse City dart league. Hankering to hit the greens? There’s a Golden Tee game for the golf-starved and there’s even a digital jukebox to help you set the musical mood.
There’s also a big screen TV and plenty of smaller sets to keep track of big sporting events like the NCAA basketball tourney.
Once the weather warms up, Jack and his staff clear off a rear patio area and offer live music. That’ll probably happen around Memorial Day if the weather cooperates.
If you’re pressed for time at lunch and you work in Traverse City’s downtown area, Pete’s will deliver. To place an order, call 932-7600.
Pete’s Pub and Grille is one of those rare spots where people from all walks of life mingle naturally. You’ll see guys in flannel shirts sharing shots with swells in suits and ties. Out front there might be a sleek Mercedes parked next to a beat-up Chevy pickup. It’s a place where Jack and his staff value their customers and love what they do.
“We’re a casual, friendly place,”
says Jack. “Like our logo says, ‘It’s the
Place to Be.’ ”
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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