There’s a new cider house in town! The highly-anticipated Taproot Cider House opened their downtown Traverse City doors on Thursday, January 28. Their soft open surprised guests who quickly filled their seats, enjoying local drinks, eats, and welcoming atmosphere.

The Traverse City restaurant captures the essence of Northern Michigan, with local partnerships incorporated into every aspect of the business. “I like to take as many entities as I can to make one thing come together,” says Taproot Cider House owner, Jen Mackey.

Donated from an old orchard in the area, a physical taproot is the centerpiece behind the bar and more taproots adorn the ceilings. Mackey described the symbolism of the taproot and how it relates to the restaurant. As the taproot is the strongest root in the system—setting the foundation of the tree—that represents the family-oriented business. The rest of the roots are the community partnerships that are integrated into the cider house. The branches and stems of a tree serve as customers supporting the community businesses involved. And the trunk, well, that’s the literal location of Taproot Cider House in the heart of downtown Traverse City.

A recurring art theme can be found on every corner of the cider house located on the corner of Front and Park Streets. Wood beams throughout come from a Ludington barn. A local metal sculpture artist created the chairs. Petoskey stones are hidden within tabletops. And of course, fresh foods and drink menu items are crafted with the assistance of local businesses and farms, too.

Mackey takes a turn with her craft as well, offering her own infused spirits and house syrups on the drink menu. These make up unique cider cocktails, with enticing options like the Enchanted Apple: Dry cider, lemon verbena raspberry syrup, fresh-squeezed orange, and a mint leaf.

When deciding what to put on tap, Mackey enjoyed exploring local and international ciders, wines, and brews. She chose her favorites like well-known Michigan companies Northern Natural Organics, Uncle Johns, Verterra Winery, and Grand Traverse Distillery. Then her favorites from Spain, England and Scotland add an element of exploration for cider-loving customers.

Focused on an earth to table concept, the food menu features organic and local produce, gluten-free, and vegan options. One of their signature dishes even includes cider. Their cider-braised cherry BBQ pulled pork with gorgonzola, organic spring greens, tomato, and red onion on a house-made bun is named the Phat Mackey—and sure has our attention.

Watch Taproot Cider House’s Facebook page for more information about their Grand Opening event taking place in February. Cheers!

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Photo(s) by Taproot Cider House