Cedar, Maple City boasts new tastes and treasures

By Pat Stinson
Sun contributor

When a line forms in front of the window at Cedar’s corner ice cream stand, summer isn’t far behind. (Let’s hope it orders a Blue Moon, not a Flurry.)

It’s mid-June, and the shelves and kitchen cupboards of local businesses hold some surprises. The Sun caught up with some owners and managers and asked them to share what’s new. Their replies might whet your appetite and kickstart your summer shopping.


A new brewer is coming aboard Sugarfoot Saloon, and owner Pete Bardenhagen assures us that the restaurant will continue to offer three craft brews: “Liquid Sunshine,” a citrusy Belgian whit-style (wheat) ale and two other handcrafted beers (in rotation).

Open every day at 4 p.m., Sugarfoot’s regular menu mirrors last year’s, but daily dinner specials are: Mon. – Mexican; Tues. and Wed. – Barbequed Baby Back Ribs; Thurs. – Pan Fried Walleye or Whitefish; Fri. – Shrimp; Sat. – Prime Rib; Sun. – Broasted Chicken.

At the Cedar Rustic Inn, Nikki Ackley and her chef-husband Aaron are proud to report that they held their first two wine dinners with Alan Eaker of Longview Winery, and they plan to offer them again in the fall — stay tuned. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Monday for breakfast, lunch and dinner until June 20, when it opens all seven days.

New menu items: Fried Chicken, an 18-oz. Porterhouse Steak, Fettuccine Fra Diablo, (vegetarian, with onions and sweet peppers in a spicy tomato sauce), and two new salads — Chicken Apple Salad with apple vinaigrette and Taco Salad with chicken or beef. Pot Roast is back, with a new cut of slow-braised beef. The Chicken Fajita Burrito — served with tortilla chips and homemade Queso dip — replaces the Chicken Burrito with wet burrito sauce. Nightly dinner specials until June 20: Mon. – Quesadillas; Wed. – Prime Rib; Thurs. – Fried Walleye; Fri. – Fresh Whitefish from Carlson’s; Sat. – Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo; Sun. – Polish Platter, with kielbasa, sauerkraut and “golumpkes” (cabbage rolls). Sundays also feature an all-you-can-eat breakfast, served tableside.

Cedar Tavern added an outdoor patio last summer that seats 20 with 5 tables. Owner Ellen Stachnik gave us the nightly specials: Mon. – Happy Hour, 4 p.m. ’til close, with 50 cents off drinks, $1 off draughts; Tues. – $1 Tacos; Wed. – Barbequed Ribs; Thurs. – Pizza, 14” and 2 items for $10; Friday – Karaoke Night and All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry (Cod or Perch); Sat. – Burgers; Sun. –Wings. Check out the new Cedar Tavern Koozie, available in multiple colors.

Gearing up for his seventh summer season, Blue Moon Ice Cream Shop owner Brett Crimmins is ready for the cone-crunching crowd. He’s pleased to report that the menu for flurries once again includes Andes Mint pieces and introduces new, moist Brownie cubes, which will also adorn the Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae. Look for cool, new, logo t-shirts and cups with artwork designed by employee Lauren Pleva.

Phil Thiel, at Cedar City Market, stocks his natural foods’ grocery store with some gourmet and local foods, plus a wickedly wondrous wall of wine and liquor. The market’s fresh-baked quiche choices change each week and gluten-free crust is available. Friday’s Clam Chowder is a favorite, as are sandwiches by Trish’s Dishes. The market’s most popular sammies by the Cordon Bleu-trained chef Trish Kropp are Chicken Cherry Salad, packed with chicken and dried cherries, Ham with Wasabi Smear and Egg Salad. Pies hail from Leelanau Pie & Pastry (Chef Gene Peyerk) of Lake Leelanau. Just in: Miguel Osorio’s famed tortillas and salsa, with tamales to be added soon. Thiel suggests snagging some Keweenaw Brewing Company canned beer (da Yooper ales, eh?) from his cooler for picnics. We recommend the Olde Ore Dock Scottish Ale.

Next door at Pleva’s, Tom has rolled out the bratwursts, hotdogs and steaks in preparation for summer grilling season. Cedar’s well-known meat maker also offers pancetta this year too.

The deli menu at Bunting’s Cedar Market includes old favorites, new additions, specialty smokehouse items and pre-order choices. Look for pizza, hot subs, chef’s salads, homemade hot dogs and brats and smoked chubs, hunter’s sausage and more. Weekday dinner specials: Mon. – Mexican, with authentic tamales by Miguel Osorio; Tues. – Pasta, changing each week; Wed. – Chicken, prepared multiple ways; Thurs. – Judy’s Mini Meat Loaf; Fri. – All American, could be home-smoked brats, buffalo chicken brats or mini hams. A beer cave was added last summer and includes Michigan microbrews, as well other U.S. and imported beer. Little blue mittens mark store shelves with Michigan-made products. Manager Bill Bailey says Bunting’ new promotion is the sale of gift cards, with $5 pre-loaded for free when you purchase a card for $50 or more.

Cedar Sol Hydro Farm is the area’s new media darling, with its delectable strawberries, greens and veggies grown naturally using a hydroponic system, (as reported in the Sun in 2010). The farm’s mouth-watering, homemade tacos were featured in these pages last summer. U-pick opportunities now include veggies as well as strawberries. Gardeners and aspiring hydroponic farmers can view a Hydrostacker system at the farm and free classes may be offered soon. (Cedar Sol is the exclusive Michigan distributor for the Hydrostacker.) Get ready for the taco stand’s new, individual salads – spinach and lettuce mix. The plan is to feature a local meat each week. Taco stand hours are 12-7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The farmstand is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days.

Farm 651 will be open on a part-time basis this summer. Visit its Facebook page for updates.

Cedar’s under-the-radar business for tourists is Stachnik Floral, where owner Randy is putting the finishing touches on Memorial Day wreaths and preparing for a summer of weddings, as he has for 33 years. Garden bouquets of cut flowers, such as zinnias, dahlias and sola (looks like the spiky, feathery goldenrod), are popular, and a wildflower “look” bouquet is offered year-‘round. Hanging baskets, like fuschias, and geraniums will be available ‘til mid June.

At L. Saile Designer Jewelry, owner Liz Saile brought back Polish Banded Flint from the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show. The stone hails from Eastern Europe and Poland, and only three mines have it, making it somewhat of a rarity though evidence points to its use since the Bronze Age. Her polished Petoskey stone jewelry is always a big hit, but her personal favorites include a purple stone called Charoite, found in Russia in the 1900s and released in 1978, Purpurite from Africa, a black stone that turns purple when exposed to air, and man-made turquoise with purple chips. Look for the new Maganese Sulfide (a pumpkin and avocado green stone) and more unusual Rainforest Jasper.

Sharing the large, airy gallery space is Michelle Hart Jahraus of Duck to Swan Fine Art, which includes her original paintings and stretched canvas reproductions. Her summery, new “Awnings” series in acrylics, inspired by a trip to Winston-Salem and the Outer Banks, pairs bold stripes with a beachfront feel. Other paintings evoke the ambiance of Leelanau County, with scenes you may recognize.

New to the gallery are works by glass artist Debra Coburn, of Silver Lake. Her fused-glass pieces, the result of a layering process requiring multiple kiln firings, range from two-layer lightweight works to four-layer, heavier pieces. Her creations use bold beach colors, crackle technique and fun, textural touches.

At Wool and Honey, knitters, weavers and textile artists and craftspeople will find more locally produced yarns than at any other yarn shop in northern Michigan, according to owner Melissa Kelenske. Alpaca yarns hail from Northern Dreams alpaca farm in Empire, owned by Kathy and Dave Easter. Llama wool is supplied by Renee Hobbins of Animal Tracks, and Tracie Herkner of Lake Ann brings wool from llamas and alpacas. Kelenske says her shop specializes in offering small, one-of-a-kind collections from spinners in Cedar, Glen Arbor, Suttons Bay, Lake Ann and Traverse City. Her store offers private lessons, refresher two-hour lessons for up to six people, and custom, group lessons for four or more persons. She’s excited to announce her new website, where you’ll find, among other things, photos of her gorgeous, knitted projects: www.woolandhoney.com.

Maple City

Kerby’s Bar and Grill, in the Red Schoolhouse, now offers a large, one-item pizza (14”) for $8.95 on Monday and Thursday nights, and a new Lake Perch dinner with choice of salad or coleslaw and fries or baked potato – three pieces for $9.95, according to owner Kerry Luedtke.

Gabe’s Market in the village now offers “Full of Bologna” franks, which employee Aubrey Wagner says are fully cooked and delicious grilled, served with chili cheese. They aren’t too spicy, so kids love them. The big news for Gabe’s is their new location on County Road 667, just north of M-72. Employee Terri Wood will greet you with a wide smile from behind the counter of the shiny, new store. Hot lunch includes brats, soups or dogs. Prepared sandwiches are available as well as many Michigan-made and local products – beer, wine, mead, chips and Moomer’s ice cream. Campfire wood bundles are long-lasting logs of maple and hardwood. The same smoked items, (think jerky), are also plentiful.

And back in downtown Maple City, Pegtown Station’s new bread pudding ($3.95) is flying off the shelf. Pegtown is known best for its homemade pizza, subs and salads, and popular right now with the working man are the Greek pizza (range from $12.65 to $22 depending on size), the chicken pesto ($11.55-$19.99) and the clam chowder (a bargain at $3.95).

That’s the scoop! Don’t forget to head east to Cedar and Maple City when you’re hungry.