December 15, 2019

Todd VanSickle | Author


Thirsty Sturgeon's Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese

Dec. 14, 2019

Just outside of Wolverine, the Thirsty Sturgeon Bar and Grille sits on the bank of the Sturgeon River. Depending on the season, the restaurant is popular among kayakers or snowmobilers.  Although there are many reasons to stop at this restaurant, the homemade macaroni and cheese migh... Read More >>

The Incredible Shrinking Up North Population

Oct. 26, 2019

In 2009, Jessica Estes was laid off from her job at a major automaker. She was about 21 years old, and while many of her peers were having kids, the thought of having a family during that time scared her.

The economy has rebounded, but that experience of poverty and struggle has m... Read More >>

Rolling Oak’s Donut Beer

Oct. 19, 2019

Downtown Grayling’s Rolling Oak Brewery loves thy neighbor. So much so that its brewers, Radel Rosin and Jason Malone, created a beer to honor of one of ’em. The guys like to keep business as local as possible, said Rosin, so, in addition to sourcing ingredients like hops from... Read More >>

“We Are in a War Zone Against this Disease.”

Oct. 5, 2019

What is this contagion? What does it mean for the future of our fruit and orchards? And what — if anything — can we do about it?
 
In southwest Lower Michigan in 2000, fire blight ripped through a large portion of the region’s apple orchards. The ... Read More >>

Paddle Hard Brewery's Wide Awake Stout

Aug. 24, 2019

Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling has taken the guilt out of having a beer for breakfast. Its newly released Wide Awake Stout is strong on coffee flavor and buzz, yet — in strong contrast to traditional stouts, which tend to feel thick and heavy — it’s light and refreshing... Read More >>

Bojack’s Kolacky

Aug. 10, 2019

Bojack’s Bake Shop and Cafe in Mancelona — a quick stop right off US-131 — has been in business for 20 years, but it has the vintage-homey feel of a 1950s diner inside a knotty pine cabin. The cafe serves an excellent breakfast, but its freshly made pastries steal the sh... Read More >>

Paying the Rent in Paradise

July 27, 2019

Faith Mulholland is a single mother who is an assistant manager at Wendy’s in Interlochen. Her commute to work is about 10 minutes from Grawn, where she pays $650 a month for a two-bedroom manufactured home, but she hasn’t always been so fortunate.
 
“The ... Read More >>

Trout Town Margarita

July 27, 2019

The start of the week just got a lot cooler in Kalkaska, thanks to Trout Town Tavern and Eatery’s Margarita Monday special. The $3 margaritas are a great way to help you forget about any Monday blues. The punch of tequila is contrasted by the sweet and sour lemony flavor of the marg... Read More >>

Torch Lake Lemonade

July 13, 2019

There is one problem with Torch Lake during the summer: You never want to leave. The lake’s beautiful blue waters are a main attraction for visitors and residents alike. A good way to end a day of fun on the water is with a Torch Lake Lemonade on the deck at Dockside bar and grill o... Read More >>

Yankee Boy’s Cheesecake

May 18, 2019

Saving room for dessert can be a tough task, especially when a restaurant serves good food. But save yourself from this dilemma and order the cheesecake first at the Yankee Boy in South Boardman — you won’t regret it. Unlike most cheesecakes, this homemade dessert is not dense... Read More >>

What Lurks Beneath Your Home

May 4, 2019

There's a potential killer in almost every home in Michigan. It’s silent, invisible, and scentless. And, although there is a way to identify it, most homeowners will not.
 
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s ... Read More >>

Don't Call it Puppy Love

April 20, 2019

A couple years ago a close friend of mine was splitting up with his wife. The situation had all the complications of a messy divorce: who gets the house, mutual friends taking sides and accusations of infidelity. Fortunately, they didn’t have kids. Or, at least, I thought they didn&... Read More >>

CBD Laws: Dazed and Confused

March 30, 2019

The sign outside of Family Video in Kalkaska lets drivers know the store has more than just movies.
 
The sign reads: “CBD PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE HERE! CHECK IT OUT.”
 
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a kind of chemical compound that occurs naturall... Read More >>

Northern Natural’s Organic Success

March 23, 2019

Travelers might expect to find a tractor sputtering along the country roads about 50 miles south of Traverse City, but they’ll also find the home of the award-winning Northern Natural Cider House & Winery, which is producing some of the state’s only organic-certified cider... Read More >>

Grille 44's Tater Kegs

March 16, 2019

The first item on the menu at Grille 44 is Tater Kegs. There’s no beer in this potato-packing appetizer, but its oversized tots won’t leave you wondering where the name originated from. The dish includes a half-dozen huge tater tots smothered in cheddar cheese, bacon, and fres... Read More >>

Tipping Point

Feb. 23, 2019

Thanks to credit cards and in-phone apps, customers today are carrying less cash than ever, yet it seems like the instances in which they’re expected — or being asked — to tip are increasing. Northern Express dips into the proliferation of countertop tip jars and scr... Read More >>

Bee Well’s The Ghost

Feb. 23, 2019

The Ghost at Bee Well Mead & Cider in Bellaire won’t scare you, but it will leave you feeling warm — er, make that hot— and fuzzy. Just don’t let this cider’s near translucent appearance fool you. This unique drink, which is infused with a slew of hot pep... Read More >>

Kalkaska Pick-Kwik's Pulled Pork Tacos

Feb. 16, 2019

In a town chock-full of fast food restaurants, tasty tacos can be hard to find. “People think Kalkaska doesn’t have tacos,” Glenn Hunter tells Northern Express. But come Taco Tuesday, the owner of the town’s Pick Kwik convenience store proves ’em all wrong. T... Read More >>

Locked & Loaded

Feb. 2, 2019

Despite larger and louder movements against guns and gun violence, gun ownership in Michigan is on the rise, and with it, lots of new ranges and gunshops. Northern Express sends an amiable (and non-gun-owning) reporter to see what all the fuss is about.
 
... Read More >>

The Vape Debate

Jan. 5, 2019

I have never smoked a cigarette.

Not even one puff.

I think it was the smell that turned me off. At an early age, the stench was burned into my memory.

I can’t think of one family member who didn’t smoke cigarettes.

On the weekends, ... Read More >>