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Tasteful

Ross Boissoneau - November 11th, 2013  

Blue Heron 2 Soars from Cadillac to TC's Old Town

Brian and Julie Williams had a good thing going in the Blue Heron Cafe and Bakery in Cadillac. But they couldn’t stop there.

After talking about it for years, the two opened Blue Heron #2 in Traverse City earlier this fall. And they’re pleased with the response so far.

“Lunch is really catching on, and we haven’t even done any marketing yet,” said Brian Williams. “People find us, like us, and return.”

When it first opened, the Blue Heron only served pastries and coffee in the morning, but like its namesake in Cadillac, it has since begun serving full breakfasts: omelettes, breakfast bowls, wraps and sandwiches. Williams expects, or at least hopes, that the first meal will soon become as popular.

“I’m very pleased with the amount of business we’re doing. In Cadillac it took us six months for a solid lunch.”

HEALTH & FLAVOR

Williams says the niche Blue Heron fills is preparing healthy food with a lot of flavor. “There are a lot of great chefs making great food here (in Traverse City). We try to bring the same energy and creativity to breakfast and lunch as they do to dinner,” he said.

“We love doing what we do – we just do it during the day.”

While Julie maintains the Cadillac operation, Brian holds fort in the kitchen in Traverse City. There he whips up items like the Wild Mushroom Sandwich with fresh spinach, asiago cheese and balsamic vinegar. Or the Turkey BLC with maple turkey, apple wood smoked bacon, Havarti cheese, romaine lettuce and sun-dried tomato mayonnaise. Both are served on Blue Heron-made grilled sourdough bread.

Salad lovers can go for the Honey Mustard Chicken Salad, with mixed greens topped with smoked bacon, bleu cheese, diced chicken, red onion, apples and pecans with the namesake honey mustard dressing.

Blue Heron also makes its own line of granola, pastries and breads. From pumpkin specialties in-season to a variety of breads for toasting or sandwiches, the case up front is stocked with a variety of flavors and textures. Williams says the Cadillac case is a third bigger than Traverse City, at least at this point, due in part to the fact that the donuts are one of the most popular items there. “We sell a ton of donuts in Cadillac,” he said.

TALE OF TWO CITIES

Williams says he’s already noticed some other differences in the two operations.

“Sandwiches have been a bigger seller than salads in Traverse City. We sell a lot of salads in Cadillac – we’ve developed that niche.”

While Saturday is the premier day for breakfast sales in TC, that business is catching on during the week as well. “We only started full breakfasts in Traverse City about a month ago,” said Williams.

Williams promises the menu will continue to change as it adapts to both what customers want and what is in season and available from the numerous local and regional suppliers the restaurant uses. “We’ll start a weekly special menu. Things can be very localized. We’ll give credit to all the different places we are buying from.”

Williams says one area he hopes to do more business in is the fresh bakery products. That includes a gluten-free line, which he says “just seemed like the right thing to do.

“We’re looking forward to selling more bread. The sourdough is a good product, and we also have gluten-free. We have bread, cookies, muffins and coffeecake, all made from scratch.”

Williams is pleased with the reception he’s received as a new endeavor.

“They made it so easy to do business here,” he said, citing the Chamber of Commerce and others who offered time, expertise and encouragement.

Blue Heron is located at 408 Union Street in Traverse City; phone 231-778-BLUE (2583). In Cadillac, the cafe is located at 304 N. Mitchell. Call 775-5461. Open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Web: CafeBlueHeron.com or visit its Facebook page.

Salads from $8.95, sandwiches and wraps from $7.50, breakfasts from $7.75.

DON’T MISS: Roasted beet soup with goat cheese, with its striking deep purple color and warm, sweet taste.

 
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