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The Friday Five: What’s Happening and What’s on Our Minds

It’s too nice outside to spend too much time sitting in front of a computer, so I’ll keep this intro to our Friday Five feature short and sweet. As the activity level picks up this summer, we’ll be sure to provide more frequent updates about all that is happening in Traverse City. Also, be on the lookout for two new Field Guides we’ll be releasing in the coming weeks (sneak peek: lots of ideas on where to eat and where to drink). As always, thanks for reading Life & Whim!


There is lots of news on the bar and restaurant front, as establishments rush to open their doors or finish renovations before the busy summer season. Here’s a sampling of what’s happening:

  • Mamu Lu’s – A Modern Day Taco Shop opened its door this week and, while we haven’t been in yet, the crowds have been big and the food looks great based on a few peeks in the window during strolls downtown.
  • The Shed Beer Garden, which will set up shop behind Blue Tractor this summer, will feature a 1955 Chevy beer truck featuring 10 beer taps and a food truck serving sliders. It’s slated to open next week.
  • Olives & Wine, a new restaurant and wine bar with a Mediterranean focus, will open its doors downtown in the former Corner Loft space in mid-June.
  • Hearth & Vine, the cafe located at Black Star Farms, has undergone a major renovation and is set for its grand re-opening this weekend.

We are looking forward to a great summer in Traverse City, and we are particularly excited about all of the opportunities to listen to live music. There are the big events – the Cherry Festival featuring country music star Frankie Ballard and 80’s rock icon Billy Idol, The Microbrew and Music Festival in August, and the always excellent and diverse Interlochen summer concert series – and many smaller, more intimate gatherings for live music.

Every Thursday during the summer the Grand Traverse Pavilions host a “Concert on the Lawn” featuring great local acts. We’ll be attending a number of these shows, including the always excellent local trio, The Accidentals, on July 7. Many of the bars in town host musical acts several nights every week. Some of our favorite spots to catch a show featuring artists such as Levi Britton, Mike Moran, Benny Edwards, Brett Mitchell and Jimmy Olson include Rare Bird, 7 Monks, The Parlor and The Little Fleet. Finally, for one of the most unique and fun spots in town to catch a performance, head to Farmer Foot Drums in Cedar where shows are periodically held in a musical instrument manufacturing workshop. We’re excited about tonight’s show featuring Hot ‘n Bothered starting at 7 p.m. Check out Farmer Foot Drums’ website to learn more about the “shop shows.”


Traverse City’s Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is currently leading in USA Today’s online voting for the “Best Ice Cream Parlor” in America. If you’ve never visited Moomers, put it on your list for this summer. It’s located on a farm just outside of town – the cows whose milk is used to make the ice cream are raised on the farm. This, of course, helps explain why the ice cream is so good. If you do visit, don’t forget to grab a few of the ice cream cookie sandwiches to go. Help keep Moomers #1 by casting a vote in the USA Today poll today!

A new retro video game arcade is being added to the eclectic mix of businesses and restaurants in the Warehouse District. The Coin Slot, located right by The Workshop Brewing Company, will feature vintage arcade and pinball games.
As you may know, it’s Morel season. We’ve been on a few hikes and I’ve painstakingly searched for these elusive mushrooms, but to no avail. Last weekend I was pulling some weeds that had popped up in the mulch right outside our backdoor and I found a grouping of Morels. Go figure. There’s a metaphor here somewhere, I just don’t know what it is yet.

Eighth Street Corridor

Traverse City’s Eighth Street includes a diverse mix of homes, restaurants and retail. It’s the corridor to some of our favorite spots in town – The Filling Station, Patisserie Amie, Rare Bird and The Parlor – but it lacks a true identity. That is what spurred the city to undertake a review and public charrette process to gather feedback from residents, businesses and city officials in order to develop a comprehensive plan for the street. This week three design proposals are being presented for public input with the intention of nailing down a single approach for the corridor’s redevelopment in 2018.

While planning takes place, entrepreneurial progress continues. Traverse City residents Scott and Erica Pierson have converted an empty lot on Eighth Street into a food truck space called The Lot. It will be the city’s second food truck lot – The Little Fleet on East Front Street being the other. We drove by The Lot the other day and it is looking good!

Beer and Wine

The Traverse City wine scene keeps exploding. Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery, located on M-72 just west of downtown, recently opened its doors. It is owned and operated by Creighton and McKenzie Gallagher who will have the tasting room open daily which will feature five varietals (to start).

If you’ve taken a drive along Center Road on Old Mission Peninsula anytime in the last 12 months then you’ve undoubtedly seen the huge, beautiful new structure being built that looks like something out of the Tuscan countryside. Mari Vineyards, which is slated for a June opening, will feature a tasting room, patio, and wine production and bottling facility.

We can’t wait to check out these spaces and the wines!

7 Monks Taproom, one of our favorite spots in town to grab a beer and listen to live music, is expanding aggressively outside of Traverse City. It is opening a location in Boyne City in mid-June, and just inked a deal to open what will be its largest location in Grand Rapids.

It is supposed to be in the 70’s and sunny for the next several days. We can’t wait to get out there to explore and discover. Have a great weekend!

*Thanks to The Ticker and the Traverse City Record-Eagle for providing much of the excellent reporting that allows us to compile this information for our readers

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