Two of our favorite things to do when we travel, are exploring local food and checking out cool places to eat. When we visit a location we have been to before, it’s great to go to a favorite place or two, but it’s also fun to try out some new places. Ideally, we do a little of both like we did recently on our trip Up North to the Traverse City area.
Farm Club – Leelanau County
The night we arrived, we planned to get together with our friends, Colleen and Nicole. They suggested we meet at Farm Club because it is a happening new place in the area. After reading the description on the website, it sounded like the perfect place to relax and catch up with our friends.
A gathering place to celebrate land, honest food and community. Nestled in Leelanau County, Farm Club is a farm, brewery, restaurant and market place. Located 7 miles from downtown Traverse City and easily accessed by the TART trail. At Farm Club, we invite you to come out, explore the land, and linger over quality food and drink.Farm Club
We ordered the Ploughman’s Platter which was was made from the finest quality local ingredients and big enough to share. I loved the hearty multi grain bread paired with the fresh veggies and goat cheese. Yum!
They serve beer, wine and ciders from local establishments so everyone was able to get what they wanted. This was a great new place for us to put on our list of favorites. Check them out if you are in the Leelanau area.
Funny story….the whole time we were there I kept thinking “the first rule about farm club, is don’t talk about farm club.” I am such a huge dork!
The Jolly Pumpkin – Mission Peninsula
The Jolly Pumpkin is one of our favorite dining destinations around Traverse City. The scenic drive up the Mission Peninsula to get there is beautiful and relaxing.
Since we were visiting during the pandemic, I was glad to be dining a little earlier than regular dinner seating and on a week night in order to avoid the usual crowds. When we arrived, we were quickly seated in their upper dining area, which gave us plenty of distance between tables. Both of us ordered the local whitefish dinner that came with french fries and a very tasty house made cole slaw. I love to eat local ingredients when we travel.
Hop Lot Brewing – Suttons Bay
Hop Lot Brewing is another one of our go to places when we visit the Traverse City area. They are easy to get to, have tons of outdoor space and a great food and beer menu. Although we are both fans of their smoked BBQ, on this visit, we tried some new things. My husband ordered their wings and I was very excited to try their new Elote Tacos. They were amazing and went very well with a pint of their fresh brewed beer. For sure a dinner win for this trip.
In addition to the great food and beer, we were especially impressed with the extent of their Covid-19 Safety protocols. They definitely got high marks for going above and beyond for offering outdoor dining, social distancing, touchless ordering, and a unique food and beverage drop off system.
Cherry Republic Public House – Glen Arbor
We paid a visit to the Public House at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor for lunch one day. When you come to the Cherry Capitol, it only makes sense to go with the cherry flow. I ordered a cherry chicken salad sandwich which is served on…..you guessed it, cherry bread. It was tasty, delicious and way too much for me to eat since I started my lunch with ice cream!
Since our last visit they have expanded their menu and are now offering local beer and wine as well as food. Since I am a fan of sparkling water, I tried their new cherry seltzer and thought it was super good. Props to the Public House for their use of environmentally friendly food service products. It’s always nice to support businesses with a conscience.
Now lets talk about the ice cream. I don’t eat a lot of ice cream, but this is one place I do. They always offer a list of crazy cherry concoctions sure to please. Because I couldn’t decide on just one of these fancy flavors, I had to get two kiddie cups. Of course, I shared with my husband (maybe a bite or two of each).
I tried the Pie in the Sky and the Hibernation Jump Start. The Pie in the Sky was cherry almond ice cream with bites of whole pie smooshed up in ice cream. The Hibernation Jump Start was cherry coffee ice cream with chocolate espresso flakes.
If you visit Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor DO NOT MISS THE ICE CREAM!
Shorts Brewing – Bellaire
We weren’t in a hurry to leave the area after checking out of the Resort on Friday, so we decided to have lunch at Shorts Brewing in Bellaire. Since reopening after Covid-19 they require a reservation in order to dine there. I was able to make a quick phone call and snag a late lunch slot for us. When you arrive at Shorts, you remain in your car until they text you that your table is ready.
Although Shorts is primarily a Brewery, their food is terrific. It never fails that I order too much when we go there because of course, I want to try everything. They make some of the best beer in Michigan, so it stands to reason that I always order a flight and try a few varieties. The second selection in my flight below is the Chocolate Wheat, which is one of my favorites here. It somehow always manages to be one of my selections, and I save it for last like dessert.
Normally I would order their buffalo chicken dip appetizer called Set It On Fire to go with our beer samples, but they had an interesting new menu item called the Argus I thought I would try instead. House made garlic hummus, spicy fetta dip, olive tapenade and a scallion feta spread all served with warm pita wedges. This my friends was a very good choice. I also ordered Light Me Up for lunch, which is a buffalo chicken salad. So I still got my spicy buffalo chicken fix, only in a healthy salad version.
Even though we were visiting one of our favorite places, I still mixed things up a bit and tried some new things.
Wrapping it Up
Because of Covid-19, we didn’t venture into Traverse City proper very much during this trip. We tried to plan our dining excursions to places off the beaten path or at off peak times. Additionally, we looked for places with outdoor seating that allowed us to social distance. Even if we didn’t get to try too many new places, we did discover Farm Club on this trip. We also tried new things at our old favorites to keep things interesting.
I suggest when travelling during the pandemic, that you Know Before You Go. By that I mean even if you have been to an establishment before, check first to see if they have new procedures in place before you go. Doing the research and knowing that we needed to make a reservation first before driving over an hour to Shorts Brewing, saved us a ton of disappointment.
Dream, Plan, Save, and enjoy some FoodVentures along the way!