West Coast Fare on Third Coast | Food

The Terrier finds its niche NoMi
By Karl Klockars | September 17, 2022

If you catch Adrienne Brunette, restaurateur, CEO and co-founder of Honest Hospitality, which runs Mama Lu’s, Flying Noodle and now The Burrow, on her phone, she’s not going to be flipping through Facebook or Twitter.

“People ask me what I do in my free time. I’m like, “I’m literally trolling restaurants.” I don’t troll social media. I troll restaurant websites,” she says. “What they prepare, what their dishes are. What’s Chicago serving right now? What is California for? »

The Californian dream
It’s the latter destination that helps inform the cuisine of their new restaurant, which features a menu of what they describe as “California-inspired American” dishes, like their popular French Dip sandwich (originating in Los Angeles in early 20th century) made with homemade roast beef and local bread.

There are other lighter classics like pork tenderloin with panzanella salad or salmon with bok choy, ginger relish and crispy rice. Both of these represent efforts to move away from what Brunette calls the “Midwestern brown” type of cooking and toward “a fresher approach to familiar classics that people enjoy.”

While the west coast may be the main source of inspiration for the overall menu, some of those other “classics” also crop up from the opposite coast: a turkey club from New York, mussels from Prince -Edward and crab cakes from New England. (“People are obsessed with it,” Brunette adds.)

Some of the most popular dishes are those that simply don’t have a major parallel in Traverse City cuisine: “I didn’t expect tuna crudo to be such a popular dish, but people liked it. love it,” Brunette says of the dish. which includes raw tuna, sashimi rice, and a smoky chili aioli that turned out to be a quick favourite. The beef tartare is also one of the first to stand out, consisting of a slow-cooked egg yolk, capers, shallot and toast.

What if you don’t fancy coastal cuisine? No problem. Brunette also wants The Burrow to be a place where someone can be out on the water all day fishing and working and then come in for a burger and a beer “and they feel completely at home,” says- she. “You want to keep these things familiar…and then try to introduce [guests] to things they may never have heard or seen before.

Strike on the spot
Like its sunny Cali-inspired menu that welcomes guests, The Burrow has been welcomed with open arms into its community of Traverse City and Leelanau residents, sailors, tourists, families and foodies. They kicked off as soon as they opened in late June, just as the tourist season was reaching its frenetic peak in Northern Michigan.

For a new challenge, they opened in a location away from the high foot traffic that Mama Lu’s and Flying Noodle see every day on Front Street in downtown Traverse City. The space has a larger footprint than its sister restaurants, and people can visit through three different modes of transport: by car, by bike from nearby TART, or even directly from the marina dock on the other. side of the street. (A tunnel runs under S. West Bay Shore Drive, allowing sailors easy access to the restaurant and vice versa – The Burrow has established a special “boater’s menu” for delivery during the summer.)

But it seems all the speed bumps of The Burrow’s opening era have been tackled by the staff and Brunette, who started serving tables as a teenager at the Riverside Cafe in Leland, then worked at 5 hotels star and upscale restaurants in Seattle and Chicago. before returning home to northern Michigan.

“Mama Lu’s I opened eight months pregnant. Noodle, we opened in the middle of a pandemic. And so for [The Burrow]I was like, ‘Well, I’m not pregnant and the pandemic has subsided, so this should really be a breeze, right?’ she said with a smile.

As the region transitions into fall and winter, Brunette and her team are already planning new, more seasonal menu items not easily found elsewhere. For example, unlike the ubiquitous spinach and artichoke dip or baked whitefish dip, The Burrow will instead offer a hearty onion “fondue.”

“I had something similar in Chicago, and we were just trying to think about that hot dip. It’s caramelized onions, there’s Leelanau raclette cheese, Gruyère cheese and toasted bread. We’re super excited about it,” says Brunette.

You can also expect an unfamiliar twist on the usual chicken plate: The Burrow brings airline brisket to town. “Our guests asked for chicken, so we’ll give chicken,” says Brunette, “but again: maybe something not everyone knows about.” They also bring specialty sides like roasted Brussels sprouts, local carrots and other homier options.

Fall and winter will see the addition of lunch specials to the menu, as well as a new happy hour, featuring beers, wines and cocktails, including their signature Squirtsky cocktail made with grapefruit juice, lime, sparkling water and two kinds of vodka.

The secret recipe
Most restaurateurs take years to open a restaurant, let alone three unique experiences in the span of six years. It wasn’t pixie dust that made these three spots so successful, but rather Brunette’s hospitality experiences, as well as the culinary team’s years of training under the guidance of Michelin-star chefs and Beard- Awards.

“I really think it’s about listening to what the customer wants, and that includes our team members: we call them our internal customers. …We have a servant-leader mindset…[and] if anyone wants an opportunity to grow with the company, there is an opportunity to grow.

So now that Honest Hospitality’s third restaurant – their first in a larger space with dedicated parking – has been up and running for a few months, are Brunette and the team already thinking about restaurant number four? “I always think about what’s next,” she says. “I’m a glutton for punishment.”

Find The Burrow at 12930 SW Bay Shore Dr. in Traverse City. (231) 943-1048, www.burrowtc.com

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