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Trout Town Country Cafe

Al Parker - December 21st, 2009
Fishing for Comfort at the
Trout Town Country Café
By Al Parker
It’s mid-morning, mid-week in mid-November and the Trout Town Country
Café is jammed with a combination of lingering regulars and hungry
deer hunters swapping tales, telling jokes and savoring a hot cup of
“It’s usually pretty busy here in the morning with our regulars and
during hunting season we get hunters in about 10:30 or so after their
morning hunt,” says owner Dan Bloomquist who got his start in the
restaurant business as a 15-year-old with the unglamorous duty of
washing dishes at the Manistee Lake Resort more than two decades ago.
Now the Forest Area High School grad owns and operates the comfortable
north woods eatery, serving up cordiality, coffee and comfort food to
Kalkaska diners.
“I always wanted to have my own place,” said the affable Bloomquist
who opened his restaurant in 2006 in a building that formerly housed
two other eateries - Grumpy’s Diner and the Sunrise Cafe.
Before opening, Bloomquist remodeled the place, putting new siding
outside and fresh rough-cut knotty pine paneling inside. Mounted fish,
nets, bobbins, framed fishing prints and angling gear decorate the
walls. The tables are protected by vinyl covers adorned with patterns
of wet and dry flies. Just-bright-enough overhead lighting comes from
stained glass lamps featuring outdoor and fishing scenes.
The vibe is Up North, outdoorsy and as comfortable as a favorite t-shirt.

After his high school graduation, Bloomquist headed downstate where he
worked in the restaurant business for more than a decade. All along he
missed the cool air and shady pines of Northern Michigan.
By running his own place, Bloomquist has crafted a menu designed to
offer “meat and potatoes” at fair prices. For example, breakfast
diners can sample the Trout and Eggs, a sautéed rainbow trout with two
eggs, hash browns and toast for only $7.99.
Not in the mood for eggs? How about Dan’s Specialty French Toast, six
slabs of thick-sliced cinnamon swirl bread that is coated with corn
flakes and crushed pecans before being grilled? A belly-busting full
order is $5.99, while a four-piece order is $4.59.
Every Sunday there’s a breakfast buffet that’s popular with
out-of-town visitors and regulars alike.
Anyone stopping in for lunch will find a full assortment of soups,
salads, wraps, burgers and sandwiches.
Dinner entrees include popular classics like a full rack of BBQ ribs
($16.99), roasted turkey ($9.49), crispy fried chicken ($8.99), and
home-made meatloaf ($8.99).
Seafood specialties include fish and chips ($9.99), sautéed rainbow
trout ($12.49), blue gill fillets ($10.99) and a BBQ ribs and trout
combo ($14.99).
“Every week we offer our Friday Fish Feast,” explains Bloomquist. “It
includes a variety of seafood, but typically has cod fish and chips,
Asian whitefish, breaded blue gill fillets, a parmesan encrusted
rainbow trout and more. It changes all the time and it’s been very
popular with our guests.”

Bloomquist relies on his staff of 20 to keep things running smoothly.
Floor manager Jodi Miller keeps orders moving and customers happy.
April Barnes is the day chef who specializes in making hearty
breakfasts and an assortment of homemade desserts. Night chef Tony
Edgington prepares the dinner specials, including the newly-launched
Great Burger Night on Wednesdays.
“All the burgers are certified angus beef,” explains Bloomquist. “We
offer a patty melt, a south of the border wrapped in a tomato
tortilla, a Tex-Mex and a hot hamburger served open face and covered
with beef gravy. Also, there’s my lo-carb favorite, a jumbo patty
served with cottage cheese and steamed broccoli.”
If you’re planning a special event like a business luncheon,
graduation party, wedding rehearsal dinner, birthday party of Super
Bowl bash, Trout Town Country Cafe offers catering that features an
impressive assortment of meals.
In an economy that has seen the closing of other Kalkaska restaurants,
Bloomquist says business has been strong and he’s optimistic. In fact,
he wants to give back to his guests during the upcoming holiday season
by giving away hors d’oeuvres such as bbq meatballs, chicken wings and
more for 10 diners on Christmas Eve.
“It’s been a great year for us,” he offers. “It was down earlier, but
it’s really recovered well in the past three months. We do a lot of
work to make sure that our customers get a great home-cooked meal at a
reasonable price - that’s our goal.”
Trout Town Country Café at 306 Elm St. in Kalkaska, is open Monday-Thurs-
day 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Satur-day 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Sunday 7
a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information and takeout
orders, call (231)258-2701 or go to
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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