A new taco restaurant and Spanish tapas bar and restaurant are opening this month in Traverse City, offering more dining and late-night drink options downtown. The Ticker has details on the two companies – Barrio Tacos on West Front Street and Bahia on Union Street – as well as other restaurant news from across the area.
Cleveland-based restaurant chain Barrio Tacos will open its first location in northern Michigan on Thursday, July 8 at 305 West Front Street in the new 4Front Credit Union headquarters building. The company, which has a dozen locations in multiple states (including one in East Lansing), offers a “relaxed, high-energy dining experience” that specializes in making tacos, according to deputy general manager Jazz Overholt. Guests can customize every aspect of the taco (hard or soft, corn or flour, braised or spicy beef, etc.), with about a dozen protein and sauce / salsa choices and additions like cheese, cilantro, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. The menu also includes a variety of tacos, appetizers, margaritas, and ‘chef’s pick’ cocktails, plus plenty of tequila, whiskey, and beer lists.
The Traverse City restaurant can seat 116 seated customers or up to 140 standing customers and will feature an âopen airflowâ format with garage doors and outdoor terraces, according to Overholt. Guests can expect hand-painted decor inside the space, including a series of ‘Celebration of Life’ skeleton-themed murals by Cleveland artists Eileen Dorsey and Garrett Weider. . The murals lasted for three weeks, with Dorsey hinting on social media that they contain “many hidden cherries” and “a few local figures” from Michigan, including Bob Seger and Meg White.
Barrio Tacos will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 1 am, a late hour which Overholt hopes will make the space a âmeeting place for the industryâ. While the restaurant has managed to attract enough staff to open – a big challenge for restaurants in the area – Overholt says the company still hopes to add a few more employees and move up to six days a week, adding Tuesday to the mix.
A new Hispanic-Latin fusion restaurant focused on tapas and shared small plates opens at 127 South Union Street in the former RAM’S space next to Cousin Jenny’s. Owner Tim Kiel and Managing Partner Brian Welburn are aiming for a Bahia opening in mid-July, which means “bay” in Spanish. Work is underway to remodel the interior and create an ‘open-air concept’ with tri-fold patio doors that open to the street, creating free movement between the interior and the 16 exterior curb seats. planned, Welburn said.
Welburn says he “fell in love” with Spanish cuisine and wanted to bring the concept to downtown Traverse City, emphasizing a common atmosphere focused on conversation, connection and shared platters. between friends. âI love the family food culture,â he says, noting that he has removed eight of the building’s 10 televisions to refocus attention on the conversation at the table. Four kiosks that can accommodate groups of up to 10 have been added inside. Reflecting the common nighttime hours for tapas in Spain, Welburn plans to be open 11am to midnight on weekdays and 11am to 2am on weekends.
Welburn isn’t new to the Traverse City food scene – he also operates the King Wubbz food truck, which has appeared in several TC locations and is now stationed at the Iron Fish Distillery. In addition to the food, Bahia will offer a ‘wine bar’ and different styles of sangria (including frozen sangria), spiked horchata, agua frescas, 20 tap handles and a variety of cocktails featuring the emphasis on tequila and mezcal. The restaurant plans to have a full bar with a Class C liquor license, which was purchased at the former Hooters location in East Bay Township. Kiel and Welburn will need approval from the Traverse City commission to operate the permit; the request is on the agenda for the committee meeting on Tuesday. Some commissioners have expressed their suspicion of adding more alcohol licenses to downtown as the city conducts a study on the âculture of drinkingâ. Late night licenses in particular were a concern; Bahia is also located on a block of Union Street which initially sparked discussions with the city.
Welburn, however, emphasizes that Bahia will be a “restaurant first, a bar second”. He says the space is not meant to âbring people in, take pictures and party,â instead focusing on a seated dining experience. âThere will always be food served when we are open,â he says. “It will never be just open like a bar.”
In other catering news …
Two businesses previously reported by The Ticker were coming to downtown Traverse City have now confirmed their opening dates. The Legacy Distillers tasting room opened Thursday in the Breakwater building on Garland Street in the Warehouse District. The business only operates for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with plans to expand to dinner in the future. At 120 Park Street, Fresh Coast Beer Works & UBrew Homebrew Supply will officially open their taproom and homebrew supply store on July 14 at 3 p.m. ET. A grand opening gala will follow on July 23.
Several local businesses have added new services and / or rest areas this summer. At Elk Rapids, American House Wood Fired Pizza has set up a walk-in âPatio Kitchenâ offering ready-to-go salads, drinks, ice cream and quick dishes like nachos and hot dogs. In Traverse City, Moomers Homemade Ice Cream opened its Cone Shack, a separate serving stand on its Long Lake Road property that offers eight of its most popular flavors in cake cones, mugs or waffle cones (from dog treats are also on the menu). The opening hours of the Cone Shack are Friday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Traverse City Whiskey Company has officially opened a new two-story outdoor patio called The Container just outside its 14th Street tasting room. The container offers 16 additional seats for guests to enjoy drinks and live music on a first come, first served basis (no reservations required). The patio will have the same hours as the tasting room.
After partnering with Dockside Market to offer pop-up cookie sandwiches over the weekends this summer, Gold Baby Biscuits owners Lyndsey Egli and Alicia Manson have announced another local partnership. Egli and Manson also own bakery company Ponyboy Bake Drop – which previously operated as a delivery service – and announced on Thursday that Ponyboy will run the baking program at Hexenbelle starting next week. Hexenbelle, a Warehouse District restaurant / cafe, confirmed the news, saying “plentiful new options” will be arriving soon as part of the revamped baking program.
Finally, a new Mexican fusion food truck is operating for the summer at 404 North Division Street in the lot across from Tilley’s Party Store. Spice Brunch is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a menu including tacos with rice and beans, Mexican toast, snacks including beef fries and nachos, dulche de leche and a variety of coffee drinks. , smoothies and lemonade flavors.