American House, the Siren Hall spinoff, is making darn good pizza. Learn how chef Michael Peterson is bringing Neapolitan pizza with fresh and inventive toppings to Elk Rapids. 

Featured in the April 2021 issue of Traverse Magazine.

Chef/owner Michael Peterson is putting a twist on the classic Neapolitan at his latest venture—American House Wood Fired Pizza in Elk Rapids. He follows the rules when it comes to making and baking the dough. Ingredients: Caputo 00 flour, water, yeast and fresh salt. Texture: Thin and puffy. But when it comes to toppings, Michael and his team shake it up with ingredients like fennel sausage, leeks, blackened shrimp and crispy Brussels sprouts. Michael’s favorite pizza, the Jack Straw, features Parmesan Mornay sauce, mozzarella, fontina, fingerling potatoes, bacon, scallions and spicy sour cream.

The wood-fired brick oven is kept at a toasty 840°F, cooking each Neapolitan-style pizza in about two and a half minutes. “A traditional Neapolitan they say should take no more than 90 seconds,” Michael says. “The reason why I like to keep it in a little longer is it gets to sit in there with that wood smoke.”

American House opened in December 2020, taking over the same space where Michael ran Siren Hall, before closing the restaurant in November after 13 years. The Siren Hall fan-favorite fish and chips remains on the menu as does the burger. Seasonally changing soups, salads, pasta and appetizers round it out. “Siren Hall was perceived as a place for anniversaries and birthdays. We want to be more approachable at American House,” Michael says. “But we still make all our stocks from scratch, our soups, everything. The quality is the same.

“I want to thank my manager and crew, especially Clif Wilson, who has been a chef with me for 23 years, and Mindy Bisson, my general manager for 19 years, for being such a big part of everything. Pizza is something we’ve always talked about doing, so here we go.”

Pro Tip: When ordering to go, ask the crew to leave the pizza whole instead of cutting it into slices. Take it home and throw it in a 375°F oven for five minutes, and “it comes right back to life,” Peterson says. “You could buy a pizza at 4 and eat it at 8. Just leave it out at room temperature and throw it in the oven.”

Find this article and more in the April 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.