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Palette Bistro

Glen Young - December 27th, 2010
Take a Tasty Trip Around the World at Palette Bistro
By Glen Young
Ten weeks might not seem long between design and debut, but that is
exactly how long it took the proprietors of Petoskey’s newest dinner
destination to get their restaurant off the ground.
Palette Bistro, the latest venture by Wine Guys restaurant group,
opened in December with a Mediterranean themed menu, an emphasis on
small plates and a view that rivals any in Northern Michigan.
Managing partner Patrick Faylor and executive chef John Norman have
transformed the former Andante site into a comfortable cafe that seats
almost 100, on Bay Street in Petoskey’s celebrated Gaslight shopping
district. Situated on the bluff above Little Traverse Bay, the view
stretches all the way to Lake Michigan.
Outfitted by Petoskey’s J.R. Builders, the new establishment boasts
warm colors and rich wood accents in a space that is nearly 400 square
feet larger than its predecessor, a feature in downtown Petoskey for
more than 20 years. From the floors, which are hand-scraped white oak,
to the light fixtures, the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
Norman, previously the executive chef at City Park Grill, another Wine
Guys eatery, has brought a simple but distinctive flare to the menu.
“We’re not trying to focus simply on traditional Mediterranean
recipes. We have Spanish, French, and Italian items. We’re trying to
do the whole region,” he says
Current menu selections include small plate items such as an eggplant
roulade with crab, spinach and goat cheese, as well as large plate
offerings such as an oven roasted Moroccan pork chop with curry
couscous and Michigan apple relish. Norman hopes to blend the
authenticity of Mediterranean flavors with the freshness of local
ingredients.
“We’re using a Bread Works bread program,” Norman says, “and Fustini
Oils,” referring to the local purveyor of high-end olive oils and
vinegars.  “It will be an ever-changing menu,” Norman adds.
Norman and Faylor plan to feature their small plates as much as their
large plates.
“We’re doing more small plates to encourage more sharing,” Norman says.
The menu also boasts stone-fired pizzas, with a classic Margherita and
a basil pesto, offered currently. Norman says he will likely continue
the Margherita, while adding other options over time. The pizzas are
also featured fare for late nights on the weekend.
Desserts continue the theme, and include a Crème Brule trio, including
classic, pumpkin, and eggnog, as well as a French apple tart with
house-made cinnamon ice cream.
At the bar--made of hand-crafted  alder by local craftsman Jon
Dubay--Palette Bistro offers several Michigan brews on tap, including
offerings from Bell’s, Short’s, and Arbor Brewing among others.
Faylor says, “We’re bringing Michigan back one beer at a time.”
The drink menu also offers a selection of specialty cocktails, such as
the Portuguese Daisy and the French 75, and a wine selection long on
selections from Italy, Spain, and France.
There are no American wines, which as Faylor says, is by design.  “The
wines tie in with the food and differentiates us from City Park,” he
explains. “It’s a user-friendly, well thought out list,” he adds.
In addition to seating on both the main floor and the second floor,
outdoor patios will provide an option for diners in better weather.
Outside on the second floor, a patio will accommodate up to 40
patrons. There is also a smaller lounge area.
Throughout, works by local artists adorn the walls. Organized by
Faylor’s wife Cindy McSurly, the art features oil paintings,
photographs and even colored chalk works.  The art is for sale and
patrons can find links to each artist’s website on Palette Bistro’s
site.
To open, Faylor and Norman have put together a staff of approximately 40.
“We created an opportunity for a lot of people,” Faylor says.
Several long time employees of City Park Grill were promoted as part
of the Palette Bistro opening, and the chef and manager believe they
will add another ten staff members during the busier summer months.
Open seven days a week for dinner, Norman says, “We’re trying to be a
place where you can come in and have a couple of beers and a pizza or
a full dinner.”
All Wine Guys eateries offer a frequent diner program, which is
already in place at Palette Bistro. The restaurant is open seven days
a week for dinner.  For more information about Palette Bistro, or to
make reservations, call them at 231-348-3321 or visit the website at
www.palettebistropetoskey.com.

Palette Bistro is located at 321 Bay Street in Petoskey.  Hours are 4
to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and
Saturday.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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