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Advice for the UP/Marquette MI area?

Advice for the UP/Marquette MI area?
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  • Advice for the UP/Marquette MI area?

    Post #1 - August 28th, 2005, 10:03 pm
    Post #1 - August 28th, 2005, 10:03 pm Post #1 - August 28th, 2005, 10:03 pm
    I'll be heading to the upper peninsula of Michigan--the Marquette and Republic areas, specifically--for the week after Labor Day and am wondering if anyone has experience with restaurants and/or markets in the vicinity. What's good to eat there?

    I've heard that Vango's has good pizza and Waterstone seems like a nice upscale place. Is the Portside Inn any good?

    What about Marquette Meats? Is the meat there as good as at a place like Paulina or Bornhofen's, or should we bring some up in a cooler? I'll be doing a lot of grilling, so the quality of MM is important to me.

    Also, I thought I remembered reading about a very good UP ice cream place--some kind of family-owned dairy--but I can't find the post referring to it. Does anyone have UP ice cream recommendations?

    Any recommendations will be helpful!

    Thanks,
    KfRP
  • Post #2 - August 28th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    Post #2 - August 28th, 2005, 10:27 pm Post #2 - August 28th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    Well, geez, Marquette.

    My mom grew up there, my grandmother still lives there, and we've got a cabin about 20 miles outside of town in Gwinn.

    Vango's isn't all that great. Portside has better pizza, and is a nicer place in general.

    The great dairy in town is Jilbert's. When Beth and I are up there we end up having dessert there every night. They've got the main dairy, and also a smaller summer-only limited-hours outpost on Presque Isle. Their ice cream is also available in many gas stations in the central UP. Anything involving Mackinac Island Fudge is a sure winner, but my faves are the regular and peanut butter varieties.

    Waterstone is nice, with a heavy seasonal (but not necessarily local!) focus, and somewhat expensive. If you're looking for a special occassion dinner up there, it might be the right spot.


    I've never been too impressed by Marquette Meats. What they sell is all decent quality choice, but it's never superb. They do often have venison, buffalo, etc available frozen. If you're nervous, bring meat up.

    If you're interested in trying a pasty, you should hit up Jean Kay's.

    The vierling is your best bet in Marquette proper for whitefish, probably, and has some pretty good house-made beers. It's not great, but it's good. If you're willing to make the trek, the Brownstone Inn out in Au Train does a much better job with whitefish.

    I don't think there are any markets per se. You'll often see people selling wild blueberries by the side of the road, and there are some u-pick farms. If you're driving up along 94->43->41 you'll go through Oconto and Peshtigo, and there are usually some good farm stands along the highways. Whether they'll still be up by labor day, I don't know.

    There's also a co-op about a block from the Waterstone that might be able to help you out with some stuff. Econofoods has a remarkably good (for the area) selection of ethnic foods, beers, etc, and is open 24 hours.

    Sweet Water Cafe is OK, better for breakfast than lunch. I know other people, my mom included, have enjoyed a relatively new place on Third named "Panini Grill", but I've never been.

    Togo's (not affiliated with the Togo's chain owned by Dunkin Donuts) has good sub sandwiches, if you're looking for a quick lunch. Togo's and Jean Kay's are both good things to bring if you're looking to have a picnic on Presque Isle. Of course, you can also just bring charcoal and meat and grill your own.

    The New York Deli does fine renditions of classic deli sandwiches, and has some soups. At night it turns into "The Italian Place", which was pretty bad the last time I went there (overcooked pasta in a flavorless puttanesca).

    Places to avoid: Casa Calabria. JJ Shamrock's. Virtually all ethnic food, since Marquette is something like 98.5% white northern-european.

    Hope this helps. I'm sure my mom will chime in with more suggestions in the morning.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - August 28th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Post #3 - August 28th, 2005, 10:37 pm Post #3 - August 28th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Forgot to mention:

    Ishpeming and Negaunee, and to a lesser extent the rest of the central UP, have a specialty called a Cudighi sandwich. Cudighi is, theoretically, a northern italian pork sausage. Although I've also seen it described as sicilian. I've never seen a significant Italian population in the UP, so maybe they arrived, dropped off some cudighi, and fled.

    The UP sandwich version is essentially a meatball sub made with cudighi instead. I believe the favorite for a cudighi sandwich among the locals is Ralph's Deli. A packaged cudighi sausage under the "Mama Russo's" brand is locally made and available at Econofoods, among other places.

    Maybe antonius can chime in on whether cudighi is actually something real.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #4 - August 29th, 2005, 8:59 am
    Post #4 - August 29th, 2005, 8:59 am Post #4 - August 29th, 2005, 8:59 am
    I'll mostly second Ed's recommendations. The Vierling may be suffering from its own success. The last time I was there my whitefish was mushy, almost as though it had been sitting on a steam table, which perhaps it had. And there is no excuse for them to still be serving such mediocre bread. That being said, it's very popular and you're sure to end up there at some point. By all means make the 30 or so mile trek to Au Train for the Brownstone. It's a beautiful drive, following the shore of Lake Superior most of the way, and the construction is over so it won't take as long as it has sometimes this summer.

    I don't like Togo's subs though again, by necessity, I eat them. The meats are fine but the bread doesn't even hit the level of a standard Chicago Gonella bun.

    Fortunately there is better bread in town than either the Vierling or Togo's uses. I recommend the Huron Bread Company and Donut Hole (it was a 24 hour donut place before it added a bread bakery) at 1301 S. Front, especially for their chiabatta.

    And although Ed's right about the absence of great butcher shops, there is wonderful fresh whitefish and lake trout, and good smoked fish as well, available right down on the fish docks from Thill's Fish House.

    In addition, though the general warning on ethnic food (especially Asian) is absolutely on target, The Border Grill serves fresh and decent, if underspiced, Mexican if the urge comes upon you.

    I'd also give a warmer endorsement to the NY Deli and The Italian Place. The owner, Don Curto, could be one of us. He, or sometimes his Finnish wife filling in, writes the food column in theMarquette Monthly, an excellent free newspaper you'll want to be sure to pick up.

    There was a significant Italian immigration to the U.P. More info at
    this family history site. The NMU historian, named Russell Magnaghi, has written a couple of books on the subject, one called Italians in Michigan and the other called Miners, Merchants, and Midwives: Michigan's Upper Peninsula Italians. They were particularly prominent in the mining communities of Ispheming and Negaunee, just west of Marquette, and played an important role in the many community bands. They were also grocers, and there is still a U.P. grocery chain named Angeli's. There are even those who assert that there are distinctive Finnish and Italian yooper accents. The terrible 1913 Christmas Eve fire that killed 73 people, mostly children, in Calumet, happened in the ItalianHall, though most of the victims were Finnish.

    None of this, however, explains why we Presbyterians were so stupid that we were putting hamburger and breakfast sausage on our pizzas when we could have used cudighi.

    Oh, and before I forget, The Hunt's Guide to the U.P. is a terrific internet resource for all things Yooper.
    Last edited by Ann Fisher on August 29th, 2005, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #5 - August 29th, 2005, 9:34 am
    Post #5 - August 29th, 2005, 9:34 am Post #5 - August 29th, 2005, 9:34 am
    I hadn't ever come across cudighi and so Googled it. The majority of the hits have to do with U.P. Michigan and, as described in several places, it seems there to be just a fairly basic kind of sausage.

    The name is a (northern) dialect form, clearly cognate with the name in Standard Italian of the famous sausage of Modena, cotechino. The recipes I saw, however, vary widely, with several looking not at all like the Modenese product (the UP sausages more often than not lacking the characteristic flavourings of cotechino) but some having something of a resemblance. None of the UP versions I saw were stuffed in pig skin, which is the source of the name and remains the traditional casing in Italy. But again, this is based just on what I saw in a very quick look at some of the UP-related sites.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #6 - August 29th, 2005, 3:12 pm
    Post #6 - August 29th, 2005, 3:12 pm Post #6 - August 29th, 2005, 3:12 pm
    My wife is from MQT and we get back there several times a year. Togo's used to be great for subs. #16's in particular. What made them was the bread but it has been inconsistent.

    The Vierling is good if you like bland food without imagination. Beer is average. Good wine selection.

    There is a good upscale restaurant at the Landmark Hotel. Though, I ordered the roasted duck medium rare once. It had been cut into cubes and poached!?! Jeez or what, heh?

    I think Huron Bread is about a 7 out of 10. Zingerman's being 10 and Balthazar being 11.5.

    Vango's, the Pier, Northwoods.. blah. Upfront & Co is OK.

    There is one place for breakfast and lunch (maybe dinner, now). Sweetwater Cafe on 3rd St. And the muffins at Babycakes.

    I have not eaten at Waterstone but I have heard good things. It is probably your best bet.

    Bring a cooler and stock up on Vollwerth's sausages. Especially the brats. You can get them a Jack's on the corner of M-28 and US 41.

    Safe travels,
    Kit
    duck fat rules
  • Post #7 - August 30th, 2005, 11:35 am
    Post #7 - August 30th, 2005, 11:35 am Post #7 - August 30th, 2005, 11:35 am
    This just in from a friend in Marquette:

    "The Congress in Ishpeming is the coolest place around for pizza dining.
    Anybody who is/was anybody in Ishpeming high school sports is
    immortalized on their walls.
    Nice jukebox, too."

    Ishpeming is a cool old mining town (iron ore) that would be worth the quick trip from Marquette even without good food waiting. I would love to be on my way through Wisconsin to the UP right now... Have fun and report back!

    Kristen
  • Post #8 - August 30th, 2005, 11:44 am
    Post #8 - August 30th, 2005, 11:44 am Post #8 - August 30th, 2005, 11:44 am
    I'm not sure how you're getting up there, Kenny, but here are some suggestions for chow if you're driving up (I'm assuming I-94 to I-43 to US41):

    Anything from the Milwaukee expedition. Last trip Beth and I made, we stopped at Jake's for lunch and then the original Milwaukee location of the Spice House to stock up there. Maybe next time it'll be Zaffiro's and some custard.

    Sheboygan, WI: Il Ritrovo for one of the very few Vera Pizza Napoletana-certified pizzas in the US.

    Marinette, WI: Mickey Lu Bar-B-Q. Butter burgers grilled over charcoal in a fantastic old diner/grill.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #9 - August 31st, 2005, 8:04 pm
    Post #9 - August 31st, 2005, 8:04 pm Post #9 - August 31st, 2005, 8:04 pm
    Wow! This advice is invaluable! Thanks Ed, Ann, Kit, and Kristen for your help--your guidance will greatly improve the quality of my vacation. I will definitely be making the trek to Au Train and Ishpeming, so I'll probably get to the Brownstone and Congress, respectively. We'll definitely be hitting Mickey Lu's on the way up--and probably some of the Manitowoc custard places, too. We will stop in Milwaukee or Sheboygan on the return trip.

    Ed, what Jilbert's flavors do you recommend? Do they have a good black raspberry?

    And does anyone know if there's a bar around that might show the Bears game on the 11th?

    Thanks again!
  • Post #10 - August 31st, 2005, 8:18 pm
    Post #10 - August 31st, 2005, 8:18 pm Post #10 - August 31st, 2005, 8:18 pm
    I doubt the bears game will be showing anywhere.

    Like I said, at Jilbert's my mainstays are the things involving Mackinac Island Fudge. No matter what else you get, get at least one scoop of the regular MIF.

    As you might expect, their flavors change on a somewhat regular basis. There are about 25 or so that are constant, and 5-15 that rotate depending on seasons, new experiments, etc. I believe they've had a raspberry on the menu this summer, but I don't know whether it's still there or whether it was black raspberry or not.

    They also make some cheeses that I don't think I've ever tried as an adult, and they sell tubs of their most popular flavors.

    All of their milk and products are rBST free and from UP dairy farms. You can even see a list of what dairy farms in each UP county supply milk to Jilbert's. It's pretty neat.

    n.b. jilbert's is not a superpremium, so don't go in expecting that. But I like the flavor a lot more than any of the mass-market super-premiums.

    If you go during the day you can sometimes get a tour of the plant, which I've never done.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #11 - August 31st, 2005, 9:20 pm
    Post #11 - August 31st, 2005, 9:20 pm Post #11 - August 31st, 2005, 9:20 pm
    Though they don't list their current ice cream flavors, Jilbert's has a nice website. So does the Waterstone Restaurant..

    Have a great trip!
  • Post #12 - September 1st, 2005, 11:29 am
    Post #12 - September 1st, 2005, 11:29 am Post #12 - September 1st, 2005, 11:29 am
    Like I said, at Jilbert's my mainstays are the things involving Mackinac Island Fudge. No matter what else you get, get at least one scoop of the regular MIF.


    Sorry, for some reason I read the original sentence as an endorsement of Mackinac Island Fudge, not MIF ice cream from Jilbert's. Reading is a skill--and apparently I'm still developing mine.

    Thanks for all the help and information!
  • Post #13 - September 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm
    Post #13 - September 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm Post #13 - September 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm
    I was last in Marquette about three years ago. The Tiroler Hof motel has a wonderful German restaurant.
  • Post #14 - September 3rd, 2005, 10:41 pm
    Post #14 - September 3rd, 2005, 10:41 pm Post #14 - September 3rd, 2005, 10:41 pm
    darrek wrote: The Tiroler Hof motel has a wonderful German restaurant.


    The Tiroler Hof is now the Nordic Bay Inn. The restaurant serves things like "tequila lime chicken fettucine" and "bacon wrapped shrimp served in a cilanto cream sauce". The martini menu lists 10 different martinis, most featuring fruit or chocolate.

    I know I shouldn't pan what I haven't tried, but just let me say it's not going to be the first thing on my to-do list next time I'm up there.
  • Post #15 - September 21st, 2005, 10:52 am
    Post #15 - September 21st, 2005, 10:52 am Post #15 - September 21st, 2005, 10:52 am
    Our trip to the U.P. proved both relaxing and fascinating. While the area's ample natural beauty (unspoiled forests, crystal clear Lake Superior water, pristine beaches, striking geological formations) is both ubiquitious and captivating, its historical landscape, a rural-industrial small town culture built around a century of mineral mining, provides equally interesting social terrain.

    Though we cooked at our rental cabin for much of our stay, we greatly benefited from the advice found in this thread when we ate out. Following is a brief summary of our experiences.

    Congress Pizza, Ishpeming--Located in the heart of a business district that is architecturally frozen in 1966, the year Ishpeming's last mine shut down, Congress Pizza offers a good pie and a great atmosphere. The pizza crust is crackery thin and the bland but palatable sauce is spread atop a layer of cheese to maintain the crust's crispness. Though this is an odd pizza, we enjoyed it enough to make two trips during our stay. Part of our enjoyment, though, arose from the feeling of the place. Its paneled walls adorned with countless photos highlighting Ishpeming's athletic, labor and social history and its bright red vinyl-upholstered booths filled with local townspeople happily dining atop formica tables, Congress Pizza draws outsiders into another era, another world, and another way of looking at the world. A more distinct distillation of small town America would be difficult to find, and the place itself seems constructed to make a definite imprint upon visitors. I will gladly return to Congress Pizza--which, incidentally, has a very friendly, gregarious owner and staff--as much for the ambience as for the food. By the way, I did try Congress' rendition of Cudighi here and thought the flavor somewhat odd, like the sausage had been seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon. Strange.

    Jean Kay's, Marquette--Entering this establishment, my wife and I were a bit skeptical about the inherent goodness of the pasty, a local take on the meat pie, but Jean Kay's made believers of us. The outer pastry shell neatly encases well prepared, savory meat and potatoes while also providing a welcome textural contrast to the interior. Very tasty and a nice treat to bring along for a lakeside lunch on the rocks at Little Presque Isle Beach.

    Huron Bread Company/The Donut Hole, Marquette--Very good rye and ciabatta breads--better Boston cream and carmel frosted donuts! Seriously, I could go for one of their donuts right now.

    Jilbert's Dairy, Marquette--We sampled a variety of widely available Jilbert's products, including their whole milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk, whipping cream and ice cream. All were excellent, especially the chocolate milk and the fresh and flavorful, but not excessively rich ice cream--we liked the Ed Fisher-recommended Mackinac Island Fudge and the Cherry.

    The Brownstone Inn, Au Train--If you're headed to or from the Pictured Rocks, this restaurant, a popular dimly lit bar and grill, serves a well prepared whitefish dinner among other specialties and has a nice beer selection. I think we finally realized on this trip that whitefish just isn't our thing--next time we will probably just get the burgers, which looked and smelled quite good. This is another place with a distinct feel and friendly service, and I wouldn't hesitate to return.

    EconoFoods, Marquette--OK, why does Marquette, located in the far reaches of the U.P., have a better grocery chain outpost than the various Dominick's, Jewels and Cub Foods you'll find in Chicago? I was quite impressed with the quality and freshness of the meat, eggs and much of the produce here. The selection of other products was also excellent for a store that is part of a chain.

    We had a great trip, made more pleasurable by the wisdom of fellow LTHers. Thank you. And Ann Fisher, the Hunt's Guide is a fantastic resource. Thanks for the recommendation!
  • Post #16 - September 21st, 2005, 11:00 am
    Post #16 - September 21st, 2005, 11:00 am Post #16 - September 21st, 2005, 11:00 am
    Hi Kenny,

    Did you end up bringing your own meat, or did you make it to Marquette Meats?
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #17 - September 21st, 2005, 11:14 am
    Post #17 - September 21st, 2005, 11:14 am Post #17 - September 21st, 2005, 11:14 am
    Did you end up bringing your own meat, or did you make it to Marquette Meats?


    We brought up our meat from Bornhofen's, which held up nicely in the cooler and ended up being fantastic.

    Sadly, we also missed out on Mickey Lu's Bbq, which is closed Mondays, our travel day.

    We did, however, make it to Manitowoc's legendary drive-in, the Penguin, for a decent egg sandwich followed by some pretty good frozen custard on the way up. And on the way back our real find was the Charcoal Inn in Sheboygan. Another amazing grill steeped in local culture and serving the best brat sandwich I've ever had--it's on 8th St., can't remember the exact address. Totally excellent food, which you can smell about a 1/2 mile away. Highly recommended. We originally wanted to hit Il Retrovo for pizza, but they don't serve weekdays between 2 and 5, which is when we arrived. Also made it to Leon's Frozen Custard in Milwaukee--the place, in all its glowing neon glory, is a classic and never disappoints. I definitely prefer Leon's to Kopp's, but again, this may be partially due to ambience. Leon's does have a purer butterfat taste, though.
  • Post #18 - September 21st, 2005, 12:16 pm
    Post #18 - September 21st, 2005, 12:16 pm Post #18 - September 21st, 2005, 12:16 pm
    Thanks for the great report, Kenny. If you'd been able to work in a Monday night dinner at my mother's house (and maybe a corned beef on rye at the NY Deli) you would had all the highlights covered.

    Now that you've visited, you should definitely put Anatomy of a Murder on your Netflix list. You'll recognize so much and it's a great movie to boot.
  • Post #19 - September 21st, 2005, 12:17 pm
    Post #19 - September 21st, 2005, 12:17 pm Post #19 - September 21st, 2005, 12:17 pm
    Since when was monday night dinner a highlight?
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #20 - September 21st, 2005, 2:09 pm
    Post #20 - September 21st, 2005, 2:09 pm Post #20 - September 21st, 2005, 2:09 pm
    I didn't say it was a culinary highlight :D
  • Post #21 - November 11th, 2005, 2:26 pm
    Post #21 - November 11th, 2005, 2:26 pm Post #21 - November 11th, 2005, 2:26 pm
    Hello - from the soon to be former owner and chef of Waterstone:

    We will, sadly, likely be closing our doors very soon. We did something never before seen our way - authentic bistro cuisine, using authentic ingredients and techniques. We were local when we could be, and worked closely with those farmers, such as Seeds and Spores of Marquette, who would work with us by providing materials on any kind of dependable basis; most did not understand the idea and balked.

    We were expensive because what we did cost us dearly - we brought in materials via overnight air, to ensure that only the best showed up and was given out - muscovy duck, raised by a known French farmer; fish and shellfish from Maine and Boston; berkshire pork raised in the midwest.

    Consequently, we ran from 45-52% food costs, and drew little to no salary over the last several months - because, whether you believe it or not, we deeply cared to do something right. We stood alone in making stocks and sauces from days of careful work, from basic, classic materials (and were the only restaurant, for example, in this entire region that did so - others who claimed to make demi-glace - and you needn't look far - buy some chemical assembly from a tub and "finish" their "cumin demi-glace," by tossing this tub-product with some cumin powder); this, when they weren't trying to ape our menu by believing that writing the same menu items means the same experience. "Frites" is spelled "frites," dear Landmark, not "frits;" and "beurre blanc" is not "burre blanc."

    Nevertheless, we offered several entrees at $19 - a few dollars more than the local brewpub - still done with care and exacting, classic technique - braised pork shank, with a gastrique-jus, riesling-braised red cabbage, and poached quinces; golden mountain trout with sauce grenobloise; steak frites - the steak being described by many as the best steak they ever had, and it should be - because we butchered everything in house (and, again, are lone in doing this in this region), I pulled off the ribeye cap and cut this as a flank-style for frites; this cap is the same cut demanded by the Japanese for haute treatments of tataki and so forth. It is unctuous, loaded with flavor - and it was nineteen bucks, served with a mustard, shallot and thyme sauce (with a combination of demi-glace and dark guinea hen stock, and a little sauvignon); chicken frites, actually, poussin frites, grand-mere: poussin brined in lemon, thyme, garlic, the same assembly under the skin, roasted whole, served with a further lemon-thyme-garlic sauce...in other words, the room was redolent of these aromas, and smelled every bit like grandma's roast chicken, if your grandma was provencale.

    We could never convince enough people that they could spend here what they would likely spend for "mushy whitefish" elsewhere. And people were afraid of us, though everything we were about was that coming to Waterstone was like coming to your living room, among friends. We had a front of house and kitchen crew roundly praised as the most gracious, professional people any who came to us ever met - all knew in their bones the food and wine, and could tell you, from their own senses and palates, why they would go with a certain dish with a certain wine. We ate together as a family, daily, from dinners prepared by my sous, whose job it was to use the same principles of flavor and textural marriages that I had taught him, and apply it to the scrap and trim daily reserved by our butchery and prep operations, to make a nutritious, superlative experience - for the staff we loved.

    The testimonials from those who did come will stay with my wife and I for a lifetime. As former Chicagoans, we were glad to bring some of where we came from up here to the North. We were glad that at least one Chicagoan - Michael Sneed, enjoyed what we did, and wrote about it in her column.

    Yes, I am bitter. We witnessed the head of our downtown development authority never once coming in to say hello, much less have a glass of wine; the same can be said for most members of the city commission, except for those recently tossed out in recall; among these latter, honorable people, we count good friends and customers. This, when we are in the heart of downtown, and gave better jobs to 15 or so people than they have ever seen. And my family is financially ruined. I am sad that folks seemingly didn't just give it a try, preferring to spend as much elsewhere, for whatever kind of experience they got. I am proud of and love every one of the people who worked hard to do something never before seen in this area, and will miss them perhaps more than anything else.

    I write here because I have had to sit on my voice while some of the perceptions in the above posts were widely bandied about - mostly, by folks who never gave us a try. And it's just a damn shame - I say so not for us, but for the people who worked for us, for the folks who have waited a decade or more for something of Waterstone ilk's to arrive, who are now our extended family; and for the folks now who will miss out on a truly memorable experience. If I could be so bold, I don't know that what we did will be seen again.

    Here's our site:

    http://www.waterstonerestaurant.com



    Thank you for listening.

    Paul Smith
    Waterstone
    Last edited by RoamRhone on November 11th, 2005, 3:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #22 - November 11th, 2005, 2:44 pm
    Post #22 - November 11th, 2005, 2:44 pm Post #22 - November 11th, 2005, 2:44 pm
    Paul - of Waterstone wrote:Hello - from the soon to be former owner and chef of Waterstone

    Sorry to hear your story. We have a family place in (for tax purposes) Presque Isle, Wisconsin, (for mail purposes, it's in Manitowish Waters) and when we bicycle up there, it's amazing the difference between the relative affluence of Wisconsin vs. the situation in the UP.

    You sound like you're really committed to providing a good product. There's competition, but there's also a need for an outstanding bistro in the Manitowish Waters/Boulder Junction area. If you decide to relocate there, let me know.
  • Post #23 - November 11th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Post #23 - November 11th, 2005, 2:56 pm Post #23 - November 11th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Nr706 - thank you very much. Based on your tagline, I like you already. Thanks for the thoughts and a bit of humor at the end of a rough several hours.

    Paul
  • Post #24 - November 11th, 2005, 3:29 pm
    Post #24 - November 11th, 2005, 3:29 pm Post #24 - November 11th, 2005, 3:29 pm
    nr706 wrote:
    Paul - of Waterstone wrote:Hello - from the soon to be former owner and chef of Waterstone

    Sorry to hear your story. We have a family place in (for tax purposes) Presque Isle, Wisconsin, (for mail purposes, it's in Manitowish Waters) and when we bicycle up there, it's amazing the difference between the relative affluence of Wisconsin vs. the situation in the UP.

    You sound like you're really committed to providing a good product. There's competition, but there's also a need for an outstanding bistro in the Manitowish Waters/Boulder Junction area. If you decide to relocate there, let me know.


    Let me echo the sentiments expressed by nr706. Reading your description of your approach and that of your staff to cooking for and serving your guests, I regret not having had the opportunity to visit your restaurant (I've never been up that way). Let us now if and when you relocate.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #25 - November 12th, 2005, 8:43 am
    Post #25 - November 12th, 2005, 8:43 am Post #25 - November 12th, 2005, 8:43 am
    Antonius - thank you as well.
  • Post #26 - November 12th, 2005, 9:11 am
    Post #26 - November 12th, 2005, 9:11 am Post #26 - November 12th, 2005, 9:11 am
    Paul - of Waterstone wrote:I write here because I have had to sit on my voice while some of the perceptions in the above posts were widely bandied about - mostly, by folks who never gave us a try. And it's just a damn shame - I say so not for us, but for the people who worked for us, for the folks who have waited a decade or more for something of Waterstone ilk's to arrive, who are now our extended family; and for the folks now who will miss out on a truly memorable experience. If I could be so bold, I don't know that what we did will be seen again.


    Paul,

    I'm so sorry to hear of you sad situation. The question begs to be asked, however, why did you have to "sit on your voice" so long? My wife has family located in Northern Michigan (in Gaylord) very near the UP. On my infrequent trips up there to visit, I would have been happy to drive up to your place for a decent meal, had I known it was there. Hopefully you will relocate somewhere and I will get to try your food someday.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #27 - November 12th, 2005, 9:38 am
    Post #27 - November 12th, 2005, 9:38 am Post #27 - November 12th, 2005, 9:38 am
    Steve - I started to write a litany of things explaining what I meant by "sitting on my voice," but there is no point. We tried to provide something of worth up here, did what we could to get the message out with an honest and inviting heart, and we failed in that message. If you would like to know more of what I am talking about, please feel free to p.m. me; I don't want to commandeer this thread any longer. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Paul
  • Post #28 - November 14th, 2005, 11:46 am
    Post #28 - November 14th, 2005, 11:46 am Post #28 - November 14th, 2005, 11:46 am
    Sorry to add to this, but I am compelled to write a final note. Based on this thread, someone apparently e-mailed the head of our local downtown development authority, who called this morning and left a scathing message on our line, indicating she had come in once (over the 13 months of our operation), I just missed her.

    Apologies if I got it wrong. But I stand by our disgust that, given especially that we were in the heart of the downtown, we got effectively nil support from a good many governmental and other entities who should in my mind be jumping over themselves to support businesses such as ours, to strengthen our rural, economically fragile downtown and broader community - even if that support was a mere hello (or, hello, more than once).

    Returning the thread, and apologies to all,


    Paul
  • Post #29 - November 14th, 2005, 12:03 pm
    Post #29 - November 14th, 2005, 12:03 pm Post #29 - November 14th, 2005, 12:03 pm
    Paul - of Waterstone wrote:Sorry to add to this, but I am compelled to write a final note. Based on this thread, someone apparently e-mailed the head of our local downtown development authority, who called this morning and left a scathing message on our line, indicating she had come in once (over the 13 months of our operation), I just missed her.


    You don't like them. They don't like you. Move on to somewhere else where your efforts will be more appreciated. Keep us posted.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #30 - November 17th, 2005, 10:35 am
    Post #30 - November 17th, 2005, 10:35 am Post #30 - November 17th, 2005, 10:35 am
    Hello - Steve, you are quite right. Below is a piece of love-mail we received, from someone spamming, as a gift - again, I wouldn't look far. The writing seems to cry out of a former would-be competitor "chef" (who apparently has as hard a time proofreading here as elsewhere) but it illustrates some of what we faced (as to "at best mediocre," google waterstone, see what reviews come up). Here's two:


    http://www.eagleherald.com/nrev1008.asp

    and

    http://hunts-upguide.com/restaurants.html

    (Scroll down to Waterstone review).

    Small minds.

    The mail:

    Since they wont let me post it Ill send it to you, you can reply all you
    want this is a one time use of hotmail. This e-mail will never be used
    again after this, so I pray this message finds you.

    "...Paul just need's to face that he's a bad businessman. What kind of business
    owner acts the way this man does? He lacks professionalism in every aspect
    of the word. He comes into Marquette, not having a clue on what the people
    of the city want or need. (There is a tiny thing in business called Market
    research small town or not)

    He mentioned a Hotel in town that has had millions of dollars in renovation,
    and it is one of two Historical Hotels in the state, I happen to stay there
    when I'm in town. The people of Marquette seem to be very proud of it and
    what the owners have accomplished. He has repeatedly beaten on their
    establishment, just to try to make a little business come his way. Now,
    again what kind of businessman does this? Is it because the restaurants in
    the hotel are busy? Is it because everybody in town eats there on a regular
    basis? Why would a businessman perform such acts?

    The average annual family income for Marquette is less then $30,000.00
    that's about $2000 a month give or take after taxes. The other half of the
    populous are college students (broke working for $6.50 part time remember
    those days) When you take into consideration all the bills that a family of
    3 or 4 have on that income not too much is left over for $55 a plate
    dinners. If Paul pulled is head from the clouds and researched it, he would
    have found that French Cuisine is a dying trend, (American Culinary
    Federation, National Culinary review 2005) and then to put it in a college
    town was a horrible business decision. He may have tried to compete later
    with the local Brewpub but it was too late, the perception that his
    restaurant was expensive was already set. What may have worked in the Lower
    Peninsula or in Chicago area does not work there, but again market research
    would have told him that.

    Bottom line is that he's a bad businessman/Owner/Chef. (I have eaten at
    Waterstone; it was at best mediocre and much too expensive for their local
    market)
    Go teach Karate Paul and leave business to people who act and socialize
    professionally."


    This same apparent writer/chef made it policy to fire anyone who came to, or recommended, our restaurant. When I called him on it, I guess, I was "beating" on him. Their menu prices equal ours, but they use tubs, and cryovac-packs, not butchery, bones, aromatics, and time. Blecccch.

    We came to town as friends, and wanted what we did to help others, including the Landmark and other places. We had nothing more in mind than serving something not yet seen to folks who have been waiting for it (and our panel of local, market, "experts" - including one of our funders said we were being unduly conservative, that we would "blow your (our) numbers out of the water." We learned from this experience. I was a chef first, had the guts to give it a try, and it failed. So be it.
    Last edited by RoamRhone on November 17th, 2005, 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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