Suomi Restaurant, Houghton, MI, 8/19/19


Suomi is a large place with counter seating as well as tables in two rooms.  They are a Finnish place that sells meals as well as baked goods to go.  The restaurant building dates back to 1869, but was first used as a furniture store.  Since then it has changed hands a number of times with the most recent owners taking over in 2015.  It now serves daily breakfast and lunch but closes at 2 -3:00 pm.  They are famous for their thin pancakes that fill the plate but the table had a special add for their Raspberry Pannukakku which is a baked pastry.  A peek in the kitchen spied several dishes of stuff ready to bake.  Service was friendly and efficient and the place was packed with people. Continue reading

The Fitz, Eagle River, MI, 8/18/19

wind surfers outside

Fitzgerald’s is most commonly known as ‘The Fitz’ and is the restaurant in the hotel of the same name.  It is located on the shore of Lake Superior where you can watch boats in the distance or wind surfers right out the windows of the restaurant.  The hotel only has about a dozen rooms but it’s the way to go where the sound of the waves will lull you to sleep after a heavy meal and a trip to the bar that offers a huge selection of Scotch and other whiskeys.    The bar is on a slightly raised level from most of the small dining room and there are tables outside.  A lower ceiling, lots of wood, a few photos and some music in the background make up this casual dining room.  The bare tables were set with paper napkins and based on the food, the server should have brought extras to the table.  The check in counter for the restaurant and hotel are at the entrance to the room.  The menu is a la carte and while it has some sandwiches it is all about the barbecue.  One special note is that they do not accept American Express, so have cash or another type of credit card.  The plates are served with fresh vegetables but a side salad or soup will cost you an extra $5.   Continue reading

Mikes Restaurant, Ironwood MI, 8/19/19


Mikes is a small restaurant of about 9 tables and some counter stools.  It bills itself as an Italian style place but they do serve breakfast all day.   It has been in business for 30+ years with the current owner having it for 20 of those.  Her name isn’t Mike but the name stuck with the place cause it was so well known in town.  The large menu offers lots of choices and portions are generous.  Service was super friendly and efficient.  It was a casual place and felt like it had a lot of regular customers.  The food was mixed but it was satisfying. Continue reading

Grey Ghost, Detroit, 7/19/17


Grey Ghost is a good sized place with a large bar area,  small patio and dining room.  The long bar has stool seating at the counter and additional counter seating that seemed available for walk-in diners.  The partition this area backs up to forms the main dining room and a long seating bench is on the other side.  Next to the streetside windows are better spaced tables. The restaurant has not been open quite a year but the weekday evening we were there the place was packed with a multi-aged casual crowd that wound down by around 10:00 pm.  Fairly loud music plays in the background and coupled with the crowd size, noise level is an issue.   Continue reading

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, Detroit, 7/19/17


Chartreuse is a fairly large place with a predominantly green theme.  Green walls work nicely with the bare wood tables and natural wall decorations which include live and dried plants.  Ceilings are high with exposed ductwork but noise level was not a problem since the place was not that full at lunch.  A table of lovely fresh produce is next to the entrance to greet you and bottles of Chartreuse fill the shelves over the bar to set the tone. Tables are nicely spaced and modern music is in the background.  There are a number of high back booth like seating areas with low tables adjacent to the bar.  The bar is ‘L’ shaped with the short part being in front of the actual liquor and the long part set for diners.  Service is friendly, efficient and helpful.   Continue reading

Mabel Gray, Detroit, 7/18/17


Mabel Gray is a medium-sized place.  It is long rectangular restaurant with bench seating running the length of one side that is opposite the kitchen and bar areas.  Tables are small and set fairly close but with enough room to be able to get out between them.  It was packed with people the evening we were there and with rock music playing in the background there was a fair amount of noise to deal with.  They offer an a la carte menu as well as a surprise tasting menu.   Beverage pairings are available to go with the tasting.  We had the tasting and pairings and the friendly servers were able to keep a nice pace to the meal despite the number of people.   Portions on the tasting menu are fairly generous  and table water is served in old Lillet bottles.   Continue reading

Selden Standard, Detroit, 7/18/17


Selden Standard is a large place offering seating at regular tables, high-top tables, on the patio and counter seating at the bar or kitchen area. We chose the kitchen area and had a wonderful time talking food with the two hard working chefs manning the wood oven and wood grill and also got to see a number of the items on the menu prepared.  The restaurant focuses on sourcing ingredients from their community and have been named the #1 restaurant in Detroit by various local press publications for the last two years.  Floors are of concrete and the ceiling is planked wood with a variety of lights hanging down.  Soft, subtle music plays in the background.  It was not noisy at lunch but then it was not full.  Service started with a little hiccup but they were kind enough to comp dessert for us because of it.   Continue reading