Traverse City Food & Wine: Coming off a five-year stint as Executive Chef at Leland’s Riverside Inn, architect-turned-chef Chris Hoffman launched The Towne Plaza this summer on the corner of State and Cass Streets. We chat with Chris about creative fugues and his favorite pig preparations.

You created The Towne Plaza in four hours?

I didn’t choose the pig, it was just born. This space became available, and when I saw the butcher block I began thinking about my love for charcuterie. The next day we signed a lease … opened eight weeks later.

Your menu is centered on ‘The Pig in the Plaza,’ what’s your favorite pork preparation?

Belly. No question. We use Duroc and Berkshire bellies, rub them with spices and cook them in our smoker for a day and a half. Pork belly occurs on a lot of our small plates.

Any tips on a holiday pork preparation?

Porchetta. Take a pork belly and rub generously with fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Wrap it around a pork loin seasoned with salt and pepper, tie with kitchen twine and roast the whole thing covered in a deep roasting pan for six hours at 350 degrees. Carve and serve with a purée of fresh cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic & apple cider vinegar.

Check out The Towne Plaza's full menu at!

This article and additional photos are also available in the December issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Subscribe now!