Q&A with Ben Walraven of Tucker’s of Northport

Northport—once a small, intimate fishing village—is experiencing a building boom. With renowned chef Mario Batali professing his love of Traverse CityLeelenau County, and Northport‘s food scenes, Northport is quickly becoming one of the hottest Northern Michigan vacation destinations. Newest to Northport’s burgeoning food scene is Tucker’s of Northport, a self-described family dining and entertainment center. An integral part of the Northport renaissance, this new Northern Michigan restaurant brings fun family entertainment and a menu that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters to the area.

MyNorth’s Adrienne Roberts talked with Ben Walraven, the managing partner of Tucker’s of Northport, to get his thoughts on everything from his favorite items on the menu to his vision for Tucker’s of Northport’s role in the community.


Can you briefly profile Tucker’s of Northport?

Tucker’s of Northport is a high-quality, family-friendly restaurant with a six-lane bowling center and small arcade. Tucker’s has a sports bar vibe with 10 craft beers on tap, and it also has live music and a dance floor. There’s something for everyone. We classify Tucker’s as a great restaurant with a lot of recreation options.

Why did you decide to open a bowling alley/restaurant combo?

We opened a restaurant with bowling and other entertainment options so we could offer a long list of things to do when our guests visited. It provides visitors, vacationers and locals something to do year-round. This allows Tucker’s to remain open all year, and residents and visitors can have fun regardless of the season.

Your menu seems to have a lot of variety. What were you going for with the menu?

Our menu is designed to fit a wide range of budgets. We have sit down restaurant offerings like steaks, ribs, and fish entrees, but we also have delicious salads, hamburgers, pizza, flat breads, smoked chicken, and a range of appetizers to pick and choose from. We also have a kids menu, so there’s something for everyone.

Is there any dish you’re particularly excited about?

We have great, hand-tossed, rustic pizzas and flat breads. Guests love our smoked ribs and smoked chicken wings. Our fried chicken is very popular.

What’s your vision for Tucker’s role in the community?

Tucker’s was designed to be a place to bring people together, a place to enhance human interaction. Our positioning statement is “Meet. Dine. Bowl.” And that’s what we strive to deliver.

Why Northport?

We’re doing this in Northport for several reasons. Northport is a destination for many visitors and Tucker’s now complements Northport as a destination. The Leelanau Peninsula is fast becoming a food, wine, craft beer and recreation destination. Tucker’s fits right in to this profile. There was a void for indoor winter entertainment in Leelanau County, and the problem is solved with Tucker’s of Northport.

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