Iconic Cedar Tavern for sale


From staff reports

The iconic Cedar Tavern in the heart of Leelanau County hit the market this week with a listing price of $1.2 million.

According to realtors Janel and Taylor Browns’ listing, “This beloved establishment is a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike. Under the same management for over 45 years, the Cedar Tavern is one of the most popular destinations in Leelanau County with a 4.5-star rating on Google. Numerous improvements to the property have been made in the past few years including a new outdoor patio area with seating for 20. The expansive upstairs, currently used for storage, was in previous years rented out for additional income. Price includes real estate, fixtures & equipment, liquor license and adjacent parcel which is currently being used for parking.”

Owner Ellen Stachnik confirmed the news with a Facebook post today:

Well it’s out there. After a lot of talking we have decided to list the Tavern for sale. We love you all and appreciate your support and kindness over the years. 45 years it’s been a great time!!”

In our 2013 feature story about the Cedar Tavern, Stachnik narrated the history of the business and its importance to campers and locals, alike.

It was her father, Ron Alpers, (who passed away in 2008), and her mother, Joan, who bought the place from Frank Schill in 1977. (Schill and a partner bought the tavern in 1957, according to an archived notice in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.)

“Mom loves to tell the story,” Stachnik explains. “She said my dad, he owned an oil company then, came home one night and told her she didn’t have to worry about the oil business anymore because, ‘I’m buying a bar.’”

“You’re what?” her mother replied.

Stachnik, who was 12 at the time, says she has no clue how her father hit on the idea of owning a bar, or a bar in Cedar. The family lived in Traverse City, though her father had grown up on a centennial farm (now a bed and breakfast) on Alpers Road, near Leland. She remembers visiting the farm every weekend during her childhood and hanging out with her cousins in the cherry orchards.

Her father, as the new Cedar Tavern owner, made many improvements over the years. She recalls him removing the long mirror behind the bar, painting the interior brickwork and replacing an old corner kitchen (serving “burgers and frozen pizza”) with a full kitchen that serves sandwiches, burgers, homemade pizza, and today’s full appetizer menu and dinner specials. Thick, shiny slabs of knotty pine replaced the old tiled Formica bar, with woodworking done by brothers Daryl and Chris Plamondon. At the same time, tall cocktail tables were added, for standing and mingling.

Once she was of age, Stachnik waited tables and tended bar in the tavern for her father.

“He taught me all I needed to know,” she says, adding that she spent 12 years working for a travel agency in Traverse City, where she lives with her husband, Roger, and their 15-year-old son, Kyle. She quit the travel business when she became pregnant and returned to work at the tavern after her son was born.

“I’ve been here ever since,” she says.

This story was sponsored by Becky Thatcher Designs