Sleder’s Family Tavern, Traverse City, 10/2/21

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Sleder’s Family Tavern, in Slabtown, is Michigan’s oldest continuously-operated restaurant. It began when a Bohemian immigrant named Vencil Sleder wanted to build a tavern where men could relax after work.  Louie Sleder (1909-1993) and his mother turned the place into a ‘good will’ business.  Prior to 1930 women weren’t allowed in the barroom with its 21 foot solid mahogany sided and cherry wood bar and 12 foot ornate stamped tin ceiling, so they entered through a special back room door.  After 1930 they opened up both rooms to all.  It was sold in 1975 to the Classens who re-finished the woodwork and added a Victorian-styled side porch that is popular for private parties.  It was sold again in 1992 to the Cairns who held their own wedding there and now their son and daugther- in-law own it.  Numerous hunting trophies line the wall, in particular the moose named Randolph that you kiss for good luck.  The history in the place is amazing but the food is good too. Continue reading

Slabtown Burgers, Traverse City, 10/2/21

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Slabtown Cafe and Burgers offered indoor and outdoor seating with a variety of burgers and sides.  Slabtown was a part of Traverse City where lumber mill workers built their houses from leftover slabs of lumber from the mills.  This place is known for their grease factor, which the owners swear by, and the evidence can still be seen on your bag of food.  They serve homemade, hand pattied burgers and fresh cut fries and were rated at number 5 on TripAdvisor’s Top Ten Burger restaurants in America.  According to that report they serve 800 pounds of burger meat a day. There are several indoor tables but also a patio that runs around the house with tables.  The inside is decorated with photos of Slabtown residents and their homes and other historical things.   Music is in the background and the place is very popular.  I was not sold on their burger nor the fries. Continue reading

Rose and Fern, Traverse City, 10/2/21

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Rose and Fern is a small cafe where all food is pre-ordered on their website <roseandferncafe.com> and then you can either pick it up or have it delivered.  There are a couple outdoor tables and chairs but most seemed to take their food elsewhere.  It’s definitely a neighborhood cafe with families gathered outside eating and chatting.  Unfortunately after 3 years they have lost their lease and are hunting for a new location, as they must move by year’s end.  They offer a range of breakfast sandwiches made with quality ingredients and they are good.  They also have coffee, whose beans are roasted in house.  It would be worth tracking down if you’re in the area.   They are super friendly and our sandwich was a great way to start the day. Continue reading

The Riverside Inn, Leland, 10/1/21

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The Riverside Inn is on the Leland River, about 40 minutes from Traverse City.  It is a 114 year-old historic inn and restaurant in the heart of Leelanau County.  It sits on the waterfront offering lovely views for the diners and has a dock for those that wish to arrive by boat. It was built in 1901 but mostly burned in 1924 and began business as both restaurant and inn again in 1925.  The Vilter family bought it in 1997 and did major renovations in 2017 but have recently sold the property.  Downstairs is the bar, as well as the restaurant and upstairs are the 4 guestrooms.  They have a large wine list and focus on locally sourced ingredients.  The large tables are set with white tablecloths and black napkins and music is in the background.  Some bench seating is along the wall matched with black upholstered chairs and the tables are set with wooden black chairs.  Lots of wood is on the ceiling and walls, some of which have mirrored inserts, with painted brick making up some of the walls.  Lighting was lowered except for the sun pouring in the windows. Continue reading

S2S Sugar 2 Salt, Traverse City, 10/1/21

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S 2 S or now Sugar 2 Salt started out as Sunrise to Sunset but when the owners came together they realized it was more sugar to salt as they wanted to serve breakfast.  The menu changes with the seasons and availability.  It is located in the complex that long ago housed a mental health hospital.  They have indoor as well as a large outdoor dining area.  Inside much of the room is taken up by a bar, the front of which is a case for pastries.   A large window to the kitchen serves as a pass through also, where you can see the single chef making and assembling the plates.   It is casual and laid back with lots of signs on the walls and herbs hanging overhead.  The white walls reflect all the sun that comes in the front windows to make it quite well lit.  With a concrete floor it looked like it could get noisy if it was full.  The staff was friendly and helpful. Continue reading

Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, 9/30/21

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Trattoria Stella opened in 2004 in the basement of a refurbished and re-purposed mental hospital.  An upscale restaurant, it offers a farm to table concept with Italian overtones through a changing menu supplemented with daily specials offered.  The kitchen makes pasta, bread and cheese and a full bar is available.  The large place has lots of brick arches and cozy spots with lowered lighting throughout.  The white cloth covered tables are nicely sized and set with black napkins with music in the background.  They have a large wine list with lots of local wines.  We ordered some of their nightly specials for our meal. Continue reading

Moomers Homemade Ice Cream, Traverse City, 9/30/21

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Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is a family owned business with that overlooks the family dairy farm.  They make more than 160 flavors of ice cream, with 20 available daily and also serve ice cream treats.  The milk from the cows next door is put into making the cones.  The ice cream has won numerous award and most recently was a part of President Joe Biden’s trip to get support of his infrastructure package in July 2021.  A tour bus pulled up as we were exiting, so there can be a wait, but it’s worth it.  The ice cream is thick, really smooth and the freezer containers store it at the perfect eating temperature/consistency.  We tried 2 double scoop cups and both were very good.  Not intensely flavored but the texture easily wins you over. Continue reading

Farm Club, Traverse City, 9/30/21

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Farm Club is a collaboration of several people to offer a restaurant, bakery, brewery and general store in one place on the Leelanau Peninsula.  The sales area and restaurant are in a modern barn with tons of windows that look out at the additional outside seating areas.  The brewery is on one end of the building and we didn’t go there but you can order their beer with lunch.  At the entrance are shelves of products and produce you can buy as well as breads, cookies, etc.  Light wood is on the tables, cabinets and bench seats, concrete is on the floor and music is in the background.  There is lots of outdoor seating and some tables have umbrellas.  Inside there is table service but for outside you make you order and come get it when your buzzer goes off. Staff were efficient and helpful, but the food was souless – good but not great.  Given its freshness things should have been more flavorful and some of the preparation was lacking. Continue reading

Bubbie’s Bagels, Traverse City, 9/30/21

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Bubbie’s Bagels opened in Feb. 2020  by Sam Brickman who named it for his grandmother who got him interested in cooking even though she never made bagels.  They use an old school technique making the bagels with a sourdough base and fermenting for 2 days before boiling them.  This allows them to a wonderful texture and chew. They have several kinds of bagels and cream cheese to make your sandwich or there are optional fillings of egg, tuna or lox.  You can buy one or quantities.  Masks are required and the number of people in the shop is limited, but it is one of a kind.  The bagels do have a marvelous texture and taste but there was too much cream cheese for me.  If I ever go again I’d have it plain. Continue reading

The Cooks’ House, Traverse City, 9/29/21

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The Cooks’ House was opened 13 years ago by Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee who  worked together in Las Vegas and wanted to open a small restaurant focused on locally grown and foraged foods.  There are about 8 marble topped tables inside on a wooden floor in a room decorated with art and cookbooks.  A small bar is in the corner but it is only for making drinks not sitting at.  They offer tasting menus of 3, 5 or 7 courses with the smaller ones having some choices and wine pairings available for each.   Menus are only online and change with ingredient availability.  Music is in the background, the place is well lit, benchs are along the walls for seating and street parking supplements the small attached lot.  It is casual with flatware in a box on the table as well as a bottle of chilled water and very friendly service.  We chose the 7 course tasting and got the wine pairings. Continue reading

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

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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

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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