By MIKE NORTON All right! Wasn't that the greatest Cherry Capital Winter Wow!fest ever? After all those snowless days, who'd have guessed we'd get a nice deep snowfall on Friday night - just in time to make everything appropriately wintry on Saturday! Everybody was in such a great mood all weekend - and I think it was a great idea to bring so many more events down to the area around Open Space Park. People really seemed to love getting involved in the games, the artwork and the music - and that huge tubing hill Shanty Creek Resorts built in the middle of the parking lot was a major kid magnet! Even though I'm in the tourism business, what really warms my heart is to see local residents enjoying themselves at these events, mixing in with visitors and sampling the best of what this area has to offer. In the end, that's what it's really about: enjoying the blessings we've been given, taking good care of them, and sharing them with folks who don't have the good fortune to live here but who love this place just as much as we do. Which is why I'm really excited that it's almost time for Restaurant Week! Get ready to make those dinner reservations, folks, because every night from Sunday (Feb. 27) to the following Saturday (March 5) you can enjoy a three-course meal at any of several excellent Traverse City restaurants for just $25 per person. By now, everybody in the world should know that Traverse City is one of the great "foodie" towns in America. Wonderful restaurants, excellent wine, talented chefs, fresh ingredients. Heck, even Bon Appetit magazine thinks so! But it irks me sometimes to see how darned expensive this is all getting to be. Folks ought to be able to go out and enjoy a nice dinner once in a while without having to take out a second mortgage on their home. I'm actually thinking about doing an article on restaurants in Traverse City where you can get a good meal - and I mean a good meal - for less than ten bucks per entrée. It can be done, especially at breakfast and lunch, so stay tuned. Anyway, that's why I love Restaurant Week, and why I'm really proud of the Downtown Traverse City Association for organizing this great event, and the Park Place Hotel, the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula, WCCW radio, ABC 29&8, and My North Media/Traverse Magazine for stepping up to the plate and sponsoring it. Restaurant Weeks have been popping up in communities all over the country and have proved to be a success, and Traverse City had its first one last year.
- Having fun at Shanty Creek's snow-tubing hill at Winter Wow!fest
Here are the participating restaurants - and they're good ones. I'm going to include links for each place, so if you click on their name it'll take you directly to the restaurant - and where possible I've also listed their Restaurant Week menus. As I said, get your reservations early - these will go fast! And do remember: this price doesn't include the cost of beverages, taxes or gratuities, so don't be so eager to get a good deal that you stiff your server. (Tacky, that.) 7 Monks Taproom 128 S. Union St. (231) 421-8410 Amical 229 E. Front St. (231) 941-8888 Apache Trout Grill 13671 S.W. Bayshore Dr. (231) 947-7079 Restaurant Week Menu The Bay Leaf 120 Park St. (231) 421-5912 Restaurant Week Menu Blue Tractor Cook Shop 423 S. Union St. (231) 922-9515 Restaurant Week Menu The Boathouse 14039 Peninsula Dr. (231) 223-4030 Restaurant Week Menu Chez Peres/Patisserie Amie 237 Lake Ave., Ste. 200 (231) 922-9645 CW's Blue Water Bistro Holiday Inn West Bay 615 E. Front St. (231) 421-2128 Restaurant Week Menu Firefly 310 Cass St. (231) 932-1310 Restaurant Week Menu Hanna Bistro 118 Cass St. (231) 946-8207 Restaurant Week Menu Harrington's by the Bay 13890 S.W. Bayshore Dr. (231) 421.9393 Restaurant Week Menu Mackinaw Brewing Co. 161 E. Front St. (231) 933-1100 Restaurant Week Menu Minervas 300 E. State St. (231) 946-5093 Restaurant Week Menu Modes Bum Steer 125 E. State St. (231) 947-9832 Restaurant Week Menu North Peak Brewing Co. 400 W. Front St. (231) 941-7325 Restaurant Week Menu Phil's on Front 236 E. Front St. (231) 929-1710 Poppycock's 128 E. Front St. (231) 941-7632 Restaurant Week Menu Red Ginger Restaurant 237 E. Front St. (231) 944-1733 Restaurant Week Menu Reflect at Cambria 255 Munson Ave. (231) 778-9000 The Soul Hole 408 S. Union St. (231) 929-7238 Restaurant Week Menu Trattoria Stella 1200 W. 11th St (Village at the Grand Traverse Commons) (231) 929-8989 Restaurant Week Menu Travino, Traverse Wine & Grille 4341 M-72 East, Williamsburg (231) 938-9496 The Union Cantina 127 S. Union St. (231) 941-5038 Restaurant Week Menu
- Cozy eating at Amical