Benzie Co. steak and seafood restaurants adapt to take out for New Years dinner

Benzie County’s seafood and steak restaurants are learning to adapt to take-out.

“This has been a huge challenge for us, we are certainly not and never have been a take out restaurant,” said Lisa MacHugh, owner of the Manitou Restaurant in Honor.

For more than 40 years, the Manitou has served gourmet menus to its customers.

“We do a lot of whitefish, walleye, perch, trout, but we also sell a lot of steaks, we do a lot of seafood,” says MacHugh.

But in the midst of the state’s health department’s coronavirus hiatus, the Manitou is limited.

MacHugh says it was difficult to move many of their menu items to a takeout box:

“We have found special containers and we try not to cook this until people are there to get their food to keep it as fresh and hot as possible.”

For the New Year, the Manitou generally hosts a festive New Year’s Eve buffet. However, this year they are encouraging people to take out their fish, seafood or steaks.

“It will be different, but I hope this New Year brings us all back to normal life,” MacHugh said.

Birch & Maple in Frankfort is also working around the restrictions. They’ve turned their gourmet menu into more user-friendly take-out, and this new year they’re offering a five-course take-out dinner.

Birch and maple New Years Eve“We’ve redesigned our menu for things that travel well, hold up well, but still have that uniqueness of birch and maple,” says owner Nick Crawford.

A new model of gastronomy, while learning to adapt to the take-out container.

“What we love about restaurants is that it’s a new challenge every day and this challenge is by far the… most difficult we’ve come across,” says Crawford.

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