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Betsie Bay Inn...Historic Inn Reborn

Danielle Horvath - June 29th, 2006
Originally built in 1867, it burned down in 1925, and was rebuilt during the Depression, and was renamed a few times over its long history. Today, the Betsie Bay Inn in downtown Frankfort is enjoying another rebirth through the hard work and dedication of its new owners, Geoff and Leslie Perkins.
During a vacation at their cottage near Chimney Corners last year, the Perkins were having lunch across from the former Hotel Frankfort and saw that it was for sale.
“We actually joked at the time about buying it,” Leslie explained. “We were thinking about owning a small restaurant or business, and when we found out a few months later that it was still available, we started to seriously consider it.”
The Perkins relocated from the Ann Arbor area, closed on the sale last July, and began the extensive renovations.

The Perkins have lovingly restored and recaptured the charm of the historic inn. Along with a completely updated main floor bar and restaurant, they are opening a second fine-dining restaurant, two large banquet rooms, and are completing renovations on all 17 rooms, some with spiral staircases, in-room hot tubs, saunas, steam showers, woodstoves, lofts and sweeping views of Lake Michigan and Betsie Bay.
“The most amazing part of this whole experience has been the local people,” Leslie said. “There were days when I was so tired I didn’t think I could get through another hour, and someone would stop by and say something encouraging and it would turn my whole day around. Almost every day, and I mean it, since we started last summer, someone from the community has stopped in to offer their support, to say how glad they are we’re here and doing this, many have told us wonderful stories about the place, it has been so encouraging.”
The Perkins were so grateful for the local sentiment that even though they were knee-dip in restoration work, they offered an open buffet on New Year’s Eve to a group of about 50 local people and were officially open for business. They have listened to what people said they wanted and changed their original plans to accommodate those needs.
“The demand for banquet, private party and wedding space was amazing.” Leslie explained. “People came to us and asked us to provide that service, and we made those changes in to our renovation plans.” The Betsie Bay Inn now has two banquet rooms, able to accommodate groups of 60 and 80.

The Perkins encouraged friend and gourmet chef Joseph Schaffer of Ann Arbor to join them at their new venture. Whether it’s fresh seafood, rack of lamb, roast pork loin or the specialty Duet of Duck, Chef Joseph creates a different selection every night. He brings over 27 years worth of cooking knowledge and experience, including stints at the Moveable Feast and Steve & Rocky’s in Ann Arbor, the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn and Chicago and the Folley Seafood Co., in Boston. Chef Joseph will oversee the opening this June of the fine dining restaurant, Tantelle, which promises to be a memorable dining experience.
Open daily for breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner, Bunty & JoJo’s and the Hotspur Bar is getting well known for their gourmet omelets and fresh corn beef hash, tasty appetizers, specialty sandwiches and homemade soups such as Apple, Leeks & Stilton cheese or roast Butternut Squash with Hazelnut whip (Chef Joseph makes all the soup stock from scratch.)
Also open this summer is the Thistlebrae Wine Cellar, with an expanding selection of wines, with tasting and tours available. They also stock a large selection of domestic and British beers, lagers and scotches. A new gift shop, Brimports, is also set to open this summer, making the Betsie Bay Inn a complete and unique relaxation destination.

For more information or for reservations, contact them at 231-352-8090, toll free at 877-352-8090 or on the web at
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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