Traverse City’s family-friendly play café ELF partnered up with lauded local chefs Jennifer Blakeslee and Eric Patterson of The Cooks’ House to create a new Nordic summer menu.

Sophisticated sandwiches (think smoked whitefish and roasted seasonal vegetable) and salads topped with goat cheese, dried fruit and toasted hazelnuts are peppered in among a mix of classic kid-approved dishes like grilled cheese and ants on a log.

“What we’re after is a venue accessible to families but with a menu that delivers what the Traverse City food scene wants and expects,” says ELF co-founder Ellen Fred. “Jennifer and Eric are arguably the best chefs in Traverse City, and we feel so lucky to have them on our team.”

Offering healthy Northern Michigan food, espresso drinks, a play structure, classes for all ages, a scratch and sniff garden and a Hobbit Hole complete with a gnome on top, ELF is just as fun for adults as it is for kids.

While you’re at ELF, be sure to check out these awesome areas:

  • Soothing silo for fussy babies or nursing moms who want a little privacy (moms can breastfeed wherever they feel comfortable at ELF)
  • Communal infant play mat of Elf’s own design – the Mush Mat™
  • Sensory marble wall provided by The Autism Center of Northern Michigan
  • Fenced outdoor seating and play area
  • Pop-up event space for yoga, book readings and more
  • Lego® and Duplo® building block area

Take a MyNorth video tour of Traverse City’s whimsical family hangout ELF—standing for Eat Learn Frolic—which opened in December 2015 at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons behind Pleasanton Bakery.

Click to watch a MyNorth Media video and see more at ELF!

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Photo(s) by Carly Simpson