Traverse City Restaurant Week 2/27 – 3/5

January 31, 2011

First Annual Restaurant Week Highlights Traverse City Dining
The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the first Traverse City Restaurant Week in response to the many accolades regarding great restaurants and food offerings in the Grand Traverse Region. February 27 through March 5, 2011 promises to be the most delicious week of the winter where diners may perfect the art of dining by discovering new restaurants or enjoying their favorite at an affordable price.
Restaurant Weeks are quickly popping up in communities all over the country and have proved to be a success. The Traverse City region is a natural fit for our finest restaurants to offer multi-course meals that have been especially prepared for this gourmet event. Fifteen of Traverse City’s most reputable restaurants will offer special dinner menu choices of three courses for $25 per person.
“We are excited see Traverse City Restaurant Week grow and become not only a community favorite, but also a tourist attraction in an otherwise slow time of year.  This is a great way to go that restaurant that you have been dying to try or go to your favorite,” says Colleen Paveglio, DDA/DTCA Marketing Director.

Enter to Win!

During Traverse City Restaurant Week, diners may enter to win a prize package that includes $50 gift cards to each participating restaurant.
Visit the website for further information on participating restaurants and menus.  Following is a peek at who will be participating:

  • Amical
  • Blue Tractor Cook Shop
  • The Boathouse
  • The Cook’s House
  • Hanna Bistro
  • Jolly Pumpkin
  • Lil Bo Pub & Grille
  • Minervas
  • Mission Table (Friday & Saturday Only)
  • Modes Bum Steer
  • North Peak Brewing Co.
  • Patisserie Amie/Chez Peres
  • Phil’s on Front
  • Red Ginger
  • Trattoria Stella 

The First Annual Traverse City Restaurant Week is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email   

Chili Cook-Off Downtown Traverse City, Saturday 1-29

January 27, 2011

Restaurants compete for top chili awards

Warm up your taste buds this winter at the 17th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off presented by Pepsi Cola, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc, ABC 29&8 and WTCM on January 29th in Downtown Traverse City. Participants can sample the mild to the wild as the area’s top restaurants vie for awards in various categories. 

Northern Michigan’s ultimate chili challenge takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Park Place Dome in Downtown Traverse City. Additional seating will be provided in the lower of the Park Place Hotel and feature a cash bar. 

The Chili Cook-off attracted approximately 1,700 participants in 2010, who sampled the many chilies and voted for their favorites. Area restaurants will be cooking up their special recipes as they compete in eight different categories – 1, 2 and 3-alarm, white, vegetarian, no bean, seafood and ethnic as well as the coveted “people’s choice” award. The event will be featuring three organic chilies this year!

Chili lovers can choose a sampler of eight chilies for $8 or single bowls of their favorites for $4.  Pepsi products will also be available.  All proceeds from the event help support such Downtown community activities as Friday Night Live, Celebration for Young Children, the Downtown Art Walk, holiday activities and many other free downtown events throughout the year.  “The Downtown Chili Cook-Off continues to be a community favorite. What a great way to spend a cold snowy Saturday sampling chili by local chefs,” says Marketing Director, Colleen Paveglio. Following is a peek at who will be competing:

  • Cherry Republic
  • The Dish Café
  • Hanna Bistro
  • Lil Bo Pub & Grille
  • Minervas
  • Mt. Holiday
  • Omelette Shoppe
  • Oryana Lake Street Café
  • Prime Time Pub
  • Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
  • The Soul Hole
  • Union Cantina 

Morsels Bite Sized Bakery & Gourmet Coffee will be serving cornbread morsels to compliment the competing chilies.

The Annual Chili Cook-off is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association. For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email  

Weekender Tips for Ice Fishing Michigan’s Inland Lakes

January 1, 2011

hometown highlights ice fishing

ice fishing for pikeIn northwestern Michigan, January means more than New Years resolutions, slippery roads, bitter winds, and high heating bills. It’s also the long awaited onset of ice fishing season for thousands of Great Lakes anglers left twiddling their thumbs since the salmon swam upstream last fall.

But ice fishing isn’t just a sport for the seasoned veteran. Visitors come from miles around to catch their limit on the frozen lakes. Here are a few tips from a local for the casual weekender who wants to give ice fishing a try —from advice on equipment, to safety and a fish finder for area lakes. These tips won’t guarantee a prosperous catch, but they’ll set you up for a fun, safe angling adventure on Michigan’s frozen playgrounds.


Licensed to Catch

The first thing every angler needs is a license. And the MDNR offers a few new options.

  • You can now buy an e-license online anytime at
  • There are three licensing options: one-day license, season license and a new 72-hour all species license. The last option is great for the weekender as it’s available to residents and non-residents for $21 ($9 for resident seniors).
  • Fish for free on one of Michigan’s free fishing weekends. Mark you calendars for February 19-20, 2011 for this winter’s free weekend.

ice fishing equipmentEquipment

Here’s a list of the basic equipment and supplies you’d need for an afternoon out on the ice. And like most sports and hobbies, there are the necessities, and then there are thousands of variations, and upgrades that can expand the options, and empty your wallet. These are the nuts and bolts. You take it where you want to from here.

  • Valid Michigan fishing license, see above. Children under 17 can fish for free.
  • Ice Auger or spud, depending on the depth of the ice. More than four inches of ice and you’ll probably want an auger.
  • Sled to pull your gear, depending on how much you have
  • Portable shanty, foldable chair or bucket to sit on
  • Tip-ups or ice fishing rods
  • Bait: for tip-ups use minnows like golden shiners or blues. For rods use wax worms or artificial bait like jigs and spoons.

Tip: Don’t forget to keep the receipt from the bait shop if you buy live bait, like minnows. Live bait must be certified to prevent the spread of disease. DNRE officers may ask for proof of purchase.

ice fishing tip-upSafety Tips

  • Safe ice is thick ice. Four inches is recommended for safely fishing on Michigan’s inland lakes. If you’re heading out with a snowmobile or ATV, err on the side of caution and wait for 5"-6" of ice.
  • Watch for holes, cracks and open ice. Freshly abandoned ice fishing holes are a quick way to twist an ankle or worse. Anglers often leave branches or markers in their abandoned ice holes as a warning, so keep your eyes open.
  • Bring emergency gear. Safety spikes are a great solution, and can be worn around the neck. They look like a short jump-rope with handles on the end, each equipped with a spike. If you fell in the ice you could use the picks to pull you out. A lifejacket and some rope are a good back-up plan.
  • Don’t fish alone. It’s not as much fun anyway, so bring a buddy.


Tip: If you’re unsure about the safety of lake ice, get some advice from the bait shop or a local. Many small inland lakes are not ideal for ice fishing because they’re spring fed. The way the ice forms can also determine whether it’s strong enough to support additional weight. So if you don’t see any tracks, or evidence of activity on the surface, don’t venture out, especially alone.

ice fishing for pikeFish Finder
There are dozen of lakes in northwestern Michigan that could be great for fishing. And certain species thrive in specific lakes. Here’s a short guide to some of the most popular species, and where you can find them.

  • If your fishing for pike check out Portage Lake in Onekema and Green Lake in Interlochen.
  • For smelt try Crystal Lake in Benzie county, and Green Lake
  • For perch Crystal Lake and Glen Lake near Glen Arbor
  • For walleye visit Long Lake in Traverse City, and Lake Leelanau on the Leelanau Peninsula.


Tip: Know your limit, and stay within it. The DNRE limits the catch on each species, and limits vary. Check out the MDNR website for all the details.

fisherman with pike

Contributing author James Wheeler is an experienced northern Michigan angler, currently waiting anxiously for first ice, and the opportunity to catch another 33" pike from one of Michigan’s frozen lakes.