Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sugarfoot Saloon

Out in the middle of nowhere is a culinary delight; Sugarfoot Saloon.

When I say that you need to leave the comfort of familiarity and venture out of the perceived boundaries of your new-found locale,THIS is what I'm talking about!  This little joint is a true slice of local, Northern Michigan dining.

A friendly, welcoming staff and decor inhabit this Cedar, MI restaurant.

Quite literally out in the middle of nowhere (technically Cedar, MI), Sugarfoot Saloon is a favorite of the local farmers, neighbors and TC peeps needing an escape from the downtown hustle and bustle.  Sugarfoot Saloon is a perfect example of how my mantra (LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL......oh yeah, and: OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE) comes into play to score a HUGE hit.

Sugarfoot Saloon lives up to its name with a fully stocked bar.

What do I mean by "LOCAL"?  That's obvious, I won't be answering that. 

What do I mean by "OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE"?  That statement simply means that if you find yourself in a city, town or place that you have never been, DO NOT stick to the well travelled path!  Venture to where the locals go and I assure you that you shall find an experience that is truly LOCAL.

Even if you have lived within a certain locale for many years, there still exists a comfort zone that you need to shuck off.  If you do, you WILL find something new and wonderful within the bland and familiar.

Family friendly and fantastic, Sugarfoot Saloon is a favorite hang-out in Cedar, MI.

Lisa and I have a CSA farm out in Cedar.  A CSA farm is a place where you buy a "share" and throughout the growing season you are able to pick up farm fresh produce, eggs and meat once per week.  It is divine!

On one of our excursions to our farm, we took a different route (yes, we got a little lost, but it was FUN!).  On this route, we passed by Sugarfoot Saloon.  At first it struck us as a place that may not be too welcoming to strangers.  Boy, were we ever mistaken in that assumption!

Some great pulls occupy Sugarfoot Saloon's bar, including two brews of their very own.

To begin with, do not let this "out in the middle of nowhere" place scare you; its staff and patrons are some of the most welcoming folk you will ever meet.  And they make their own beer Heaven, I was in heaven.  Not only did I adore the modern saloon decor, but, when the first, crisp drop of Liquid Sunshine passed over my tongue, I was completely sold on the necessity of this place within the larger Grand Traverse area dining scene.

They, of course, have a full selection of other beers, a few locals and a few old standbys, as well as a full bar and knowledgeable bar staff.  No worries if craft brews are not for you.  But......if craft brews are not for you.....perhaps this blog isn't either.  LOCAL!!

Liquid Sunshine at Sugarfoot Saloon. It tastes as good as it sounds!

Sugarfoot's cuisine is equally pleasing.  Billed as a great place to grab some Mexican cuisine, it is also quite popular for its American fare.  Their broasted chicken is apparently to die for.  They have everything from a 4 piece to a 96 piece (with call ahead for the 96er).  I'd take this place over that nasty ol' Colonel any day!

The jalapeno poppers are a very fun, spicy way to start your experience here.  Their homemade salsas are also smokin'!

Sugarfoot has a wide selection for both Mexican and American food, as you will see from their menu on their site (which I linked to above).  I went with the HUGE sirloin tip wet burrito.  It was the absolute perfect match for my glass of sunshine.

Along with some grand sips come the superb bites!

While this place is about a 20-30 minute drive from downtown TC, it is totally worth it.  The drive is scenic, to say the least.  You are surrounded by farms (even a hop farm!), the countryside and some truly amazing people. 

Lisa and I will be venturing back for sure!  I am craving more Liquid Sunshine and another helping of something Mexican.

Moral: Do not be limited in your adventures by fear of the unknown.  A comfort zone is, oftentimes, a hindrance.  I point to cruise ships as a perfect example of this.  "We went to Jamaica, Cozumel and Key West!"  "Did you leave the tour group and hit up some place local?"  "No."  "Then, my friend, you did NOT go to Jamaica, Cozumel and Key West."

But Brooks, you say, in some places, venturing out to find something local can be dangerous! 

Don't whine to me about that!  I've done third world local, straight street-food, because that's where the locals went.  When I sat down, began speaking their language, eating their food, ordering their beer and appeared as at ease as they were, the tension completely melted away.

On the other hand, if you get into a tight spot, that's also a learning experience and a great story for later (if you survive) so.....good luck and you're welcome.

That's the third world.  This is Northern Michigan.  Quit with the whining and hit up Sugarfoot.  It will be a highlight of your journey, I guarantee!!

OH!  And try the apple dessert (if they have it), it will BLOW YOUR MIND!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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