Feeding Leelanau’s locals

From staff reports

It’s cold and dark in the north country, and the cheery onslaught of tourists is many months away. But those of us who stick around through the winter still deserve to eat, and eat well. Thanks to a bevy of deals and discounts offered at local restaurants, we shall not starve.

Art’s Tavern, Glen Arbor’s original gathering place, offers two-for-one burgers on Mondays, an all-you-can-eat hotdog special on Tuesdays, chicken jalapeno soup on Wednesdays, and homemade spaghetti and meatballs on Thursdays. Wash it down with a delicious local microbrew. Art’s is open daily from 7 a.m. until late.

Blu, the gourmet restaurant with spectacular views of Lake Michigan, offers Risotto night on Thursdays. Chef Randy’s variation on the popular Italian starch includes a fish or meat component, and a salad for $21. On Friday’s Blu offers two dinners (two entrees and two salads) and a bottle of wine for $59. And on March 2, the last day of the season before closing for spring break, Blu will hold its “241 Soiree”: all items cost two-for-one, and the menu gradually shrinks throughout the night as food runs out. Make your reservations early for this popular event. After the March hiatus, Blu will reopen in early April, Thursday-Sunday at 5 p.m.

Boonedocks, on the corner of M-22 and M-109 in the heart of Glen Arbor, offers a two-for-one special off the entire menu on Mondays and Wednesdays and honors the region-wide, two-on-the-town punch card. Boonedocks is open 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on the weekends).

The Cedar Rustic Inn, just north of Cedar, offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal that you’ll find listed each week in the Leelanau Enterprise. Wednesday is walleye night at the Inn, Thursday is pizza night, Friday is fish fry night, and Saturday yields steak and perch. The Cedar Rustic Inn is open Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and for breakfast at 8 a.m. on weekends.

The Cedar Tavern, the popular dive in Cedar, offers burger & beer specials for $6.75 on Mondays, $1 tacos on Tuesdays, ribs on Wednesdays, $1 drafts and two-item pizzas for $10 on Thursdays, all-you-can-eat fish fry on Fridays, rib-eye steak specials on Saturdays, and 35 cent wings on Sundays.

The Empire Village Inn boasts specials every night of the week: two-for-one pizza on Mondays, $1 tacos on Tuesdays, a burger & beer for $5 on Wednesdays, 35-cent wings on Thursdays, all-you-can-eat fish fry for $11.95 on Fridays, and homemade lasagna for $8.50 on Saturdays. The VI is open Monday-Friday from 3-10 p.m. and noon-10 on weekends.

Empire’s Friendly Tavern offers lunch specials every day of the week. Try the meatloaf on Fridays ($8). The Friendly is open from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Funistrada in Burdickville welcomes date nights on Wednesdays, which includes two-for-one entrees or 25 percent off the entire bill. Thursdays yield two pasta dinners and a bottle of wine for $42. Funistrada is open for dinner Wednesday thru Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

The Glen Lake Manor on Little Glen Lake offers half off the second dinner any night, or half off brunch on the weekend. On Thursday nights the Manor offers two dinners and a bottle of wine for $40, and also accepts two-on-the-town cards. The Manor is open Thursday thru Saturday and Monday from 5-8 p.m. and for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

La Becasse in Burdickville offers a two-for-one entrée special on Wednesday nights, half off bottles of wine ($100 or less) on Thursdays, and a seafood plat du jour & Chardonnay night for $20/person on Fridays. This country-style French restaurant is open Wednesday thru Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

The Little Traverse Inn, midway between Glen Arbor and Leland on M-22, offers a pie and pint/wine special for $19 with live Irish music on Thursday nights, a $10 fish and chips special on Fridays, prime ribs for $18 on Saturdays, and Sunday fun days (Euchre, darts and other games) with all-you-can-eat wings for $10 or Indian food from the Isles. On Jan. 25, the LTI will celebrate Scottish poet Robert Burns with a traditional supper that includes haggis, bagpipes and live Scottish music. The night will feature live poetry in Scottish. The Little Traverse Inn is open Thursday-Sunday for dinner and Saturday and Sunday for lunch at noon.

Pegtown Station in the heart of Maple City offers occasional $5 coupon specials which you can find on the UpNorthLive.com website. Stay tuned, as well, for a half-off pizza night in March. A mainstay on the menu is Pegtown’s “family deal #1”, two extra large pizzas with choice of six toppings for $32.

Western Avenue Grill offers a “WAG card” for locals, which will get you a 20-percent discount off all dinner items. Open for dinner every night at 5 p.m., the WAG hosts an unplugged open mic night on Fridays and karaoke on Saturdays.