Bay Harbor—a resort community situated on the shores of Lake Michigan near Petoskey—is quintessentially American with its world-famous golf courses, equestrian activities, and its eclectic mix of art galleries and shops. Equally American-made is Bay Harbor’s newest restaurant, Seventeen, set to open on July 1st, 2014. From the decor to the menu, the restaurant is rooted in American classics with quirky twists that keep it fresh. This new Northern Michigan restaurant is the brainchild of Lou Mettler, the owner of Mettlers American Mercantile stores in Bay Harbor, Charlevoix and downtown Philadelphia. His products are all American-made, and Mettler plans to bring that same philosophy to his restaurant.
According to Eric Basta, the executive chef of Seventeen in Bay Harbor, the concept of the restaurant is very similar to the principles behind Lou Mettler’s retail stores.
“Everything in Seventeen is from the United States. [Lou Mettler] wanted to open a restaurant that encompasses the same idea. The restaurant has an equestrian theme: there are pictures of horses and dogs, leather club chairs, and a black and gold bar. It’s a club-like restaurant: dark, warm, and inviting,” he says.
The menu, too, draws on inspiration from American classics but takes it to the next level with modern twists.
“Nothing is processed outside the United States. We use a lot of Michigan-based products and products indigenous to the area. Our menu has American classics such as steak tartare and deviled eggs,” he says.
The items on the menu Basta is most excited about combine Midwestern staples with East Coast-style seafood. Basta himself spent many summers in Cape Cod.
“I’m really excited about the lobster roll. When I would go to Cape Cod in the summer, I’d eat lobster rolls like they were going out of style. For our lobster roll, we’ll be ordering the lobster from Foley’s in Boston,” he says.
The burger is locally sourced, but has some elevated twists that make it much more than your standard fare.
“The burger is made with American beef, bacon from a local company that’s been around for over 100 years, Colby cheese, and it’s topped off with a fried egg,” Basta says.
Basta is passionate about the menu, the restaurant, and the community of Bay Harbor. His wife is a hair stylist who owns her own business right in the village. Basta has lived in the area since 1999.
“(My wife and I) love Northern Michigan. We came up for the summer and never left. We’re a part of the Bay Harbor community, ” he says.
His appreciation for the community and understanding of what makes Bay Harbor a vacation destination where people visit summer after summer may very well make Seventeen an instant classic.