August 5, 2020


Tap30’s BBQ Brisket Quesadilla

By Lynda Wheatley | Aug. 1, 2020

A new and excellent addition to Tap30’s already clever pub fare (see their tater tot nachos — aka Totchos — and the only kids-menu Mac n’ Cheese we’ve ever seen offering cavatappi pasta coated in a house-made white cheddar and smoked gouda cheese sauce), the BBQ Brisket Quesadilla is, to put it mildy, da bomb. Spicy, smokey, savory, and enough to feed two, this generous and messy handheld mixes “burnt ends black ... Read More >>

Mammoth Distilling’s Northern Rye

Bottoms Up
By Lynda Wheatley | Aug. 1, 2020

If you’re among the lot that likes your chardonnay “unoaked” yet find yourself thirsty for something that’ll sprout hair on your chest long before it lifts your pinky, consider the equally elegant but considerably harder (and, happily, hardly fast) Northern Rye. The latest from Mammoth Distilling has spent the last nine years in two different American oak barrels — at least seven served in a second-fill oak barrel and just a portion ... Read More >>

Benzonia’s Hill Top Soda Shoppe

A lesson in old-fashioned ice cream.
By Ross Boissoneau | July 25, 2020

  I scream, you scream — most of it directed at the road construction on US-31 in Benzonia — but despite the difficulties posed by the orange barrels and plumes of dust outside, Hill Top Soda Shoppe is drawing lines of customers. You could say that’s exactly as owner Victoria Mekas envisioned it, but in truth, before she opened the Soda Shoppe in 2005, she had another business venture on her mind: ... Read More >>

Where to Eat Now

Mini-profiles of restaurants recently featured on our pages.
By Northern Express Staff & Contributors | July 25, 2020

Please be seated for the abbreviated versions of the restaurant profiles we've featured since our last RestauranTour issue. Bon Appetit! THE EMPIRE VILLAGE INNThe Empire Village Inn has been a fixture in the tiny tourist village on Lake Michigan for 60 years. Over that time, the VI, as it’s known around town, has transitioned from a bar to a restaurant/tavern to — a grocery store?   That’s right. While still known for ... Read More >>

MiddleCoast’s Ginger Kölsch

Bottoms Up
By Patrick Sullivan | July 18, 2020

A new beer from Traverse City’s Middlecoast Brewing Co. is made for summer and tastes a little like Detroit’s own Vernors. That unmistakable flavor isn’t a mistake, but what’s blended into Middlecoast’s Ginger Kölsch isn’t actually Michigan’s signature beverage but something very, very close to it, says lead brewer Joel Mulder: “It’s a local product that’s a barrel-aged ginger ale.” Their Ginger Kölsch starts out as a traditional Kölsch, he said, but ... Read More >>

9 Bean Rows’ Breakfast Sammie

By Lynda Wheatley | July 18, 2020

If you’ve ever thought to bake a batch of croissants yourself — don’t. It’s hard. Tiring. Time-consuming. And exceedingly likely that yours won’t turn out half as light, buttery, flaky, and absolutely to die for as 9 Bean Rows’. Especially when they stuff ’em with chocolate. Or apricots. Or almonds. Or, like this breakfast croissant shown here, with a heaping pile of fluffy eggs, fat chunks of rosemary ham, and tres generous ... Read More >>

Empire’s Shipwreck Cafe

Quick and delicious breakfast, lunch, and fresh-baked goods at the gateway to Sleeping Bear.
By Ross Boissoneau | July 18, 2020

It’s not a wreck of a restaurant. No, not at all. In fact, the cozy cafe in Empire is downright welcoming. And so far, the sandwiches sporting the names of ships that went down in the Great Lakes have been enough to entice seafarers and landlubbers alike to the restaurant Steve and Jennifer Nowicki opened three years ago. “We’ve survived so far,” Steve Nowicki said with a laugh. The Shipwreck Cafe is ... Read More >>

Barrel Back's Hendrick’s Strawberry Jive

Bottoms Up
By Lynda Wheatley | July 11, 2020

You have not tasted summer on Walloon Lake until you have sipped a Hendrick’s Strawberry Jive at Barrel Back restaurant. The ingredients are pure and simple — Hendrick’s gin, muddled mint, basil, strawberries, lemon juice, orange juice, and simple syrup — but the result is a complex yet very well-balanced cocktail. Caleb Helsey, bartender at the casual upstairs eatery overlooking the water, credits the Jive’s citrus for cutting its sweet, the herbs ... Read More >>

The Salvatore Sub

By Lynda Wheatley | July 11, 2020

A modest family market has opened in the Bay Harbor neighborhood: Salvatore’s, a grocery/kitchen/deli ready to dish up your needs (bread, water, toilet paper), wants (beer, wine, wings), plus some extra-special items that can turn your super summer night stupendous — if you’re a meat-eater, especially. First, traceability-certified genuine Miyazaki Wagyu beef, graded according to the highest standard required by the Japan Meat Grading Association. And, second, the much more affordable (and, ... Read More >>

Small Batch at the Cupola

Food artistry by design in Harbor Springs
By Janice Binkert | July 11, 2020

Adorning the Small Batch logo is a friendly-looking bee, wings outspread. It could be a symbol for Lauretta Reiss, creative director and owner of the restaurant, bakery, and catering service that falls under the Small Batch heading. Reiss is the essential heart and soul of the whole operation — the force around which it revolves. But Reiss is no queen bee. Quite the contrary. She is a fierce worker bee, buzzing around ... Read More >>

Loading More Stories...