After a three month renovation, Cherry Republic in downtown Traverse City has recently reopened its expanded and completely remodeled store. Not only is the store bigger, it also includes a brand new kitchen and cafe area in the back of the store.
“What you see here is a culmination of the essence of what Northern Michigan is all about,” says founder of Cherry Republic, Bob Sutherland. He notes the different use of woods like the wild cherry, black walnut, maple, pine as well as the “big slat floors.”
“It feels like a really clean immaculate barn,” he says.
Bob says the redesign was all about approachability. “It’s eclectic and fun like a vacation should be,” he says, noting that the Cherry Republic sense of humor is present in the names and signs throughout the store.
Of course cherries are a big influence too and Bob is a big believer in the power of the fruit calling them “joy makers” and “ruby red morsels of joy.”
The cafe, which officially opens on Thursday, May 7 will feature everything from sandwiches to pizzas to 12 ice cream flavors rotating daily. Of course, everything will have cherries incorporated into the products, even the pizza sauce will be made with the “ruby red morsels of joy.”‘
Next to the cafe area there is also a larger wine bar that can accommodate bigger groups including the kids, who can sip some cherry juice or pop.
“Here is a way for people to experience cherries in all of its ways,” Bob says, “savory, tart, sweet and spicy.”
Keeping cherries in mind, Corporate Chef Tony Finnestad says that he’s been working on menu items like a cherry chicken salad, special cherry version of the cuban and a pear and manchego salad. There’s a lot more to come, including freshly baked pies and baked goods.
For Bob the cafe is a place for people to hang out and the menu as well as the space continues to be about approachability.
“I want this to be an entry point for people to engage in food and experience food,” says Bob.
And he means everyone. The space is bigger so that the kids have space to play in the pit bin (and a soon to be built structure!), the men have a place to sit and the women have plenty of room to shop.
“We wanted to create a public space where people can hang out,” Bob says.
Cherry Republic is a Michigan company but Bob says that people often confuse it as a New York or California company.
“I’m really proud that this is a Michigan company,” he says. “We can do stuff like this too here in the Midwest and I’m so proud to show that. We’re proud to be a part of this Northwest culture and the epicurean lead that we are taking in America.”
The Traverse City Embassy for Cherry Republic is now open in downtown Traverse City. The cafe area will be open to the public beginning on Friday, May 8. Learn more about Cherry Republic online, like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram!