My girlfriend is heading back to Chicago to see friends and family this weekend and wanted to bring back something unique to Michigan. We were going to drive up to Middleton to an Amish Mennonite Bakery but were afraid we’d get up there and they wouldn’t have any cherry pie. Since they don’t have a phone we didn’t know the name of the place, we couldn’t call ahead. Instead of taking the chance, I suggested we go to the Grand Traverse Pie Company. A small chain located here in Michigan that started in Traverse City in the mid-90′s. Their specialty? Pies of course.
We stopped in the Okemos location around lunch time. Since we hadn’t eaten yet, we decided to do that first. Grand Traverse reminded me a lot of Panera Bread. You order at a counter then wait for your name to be called. At least you know your sandwich is being made fresh. There were quite a few choices for lunch ranging from cold sandwiches to soups and salads. Both my girlfriend and I went with a grilled sandwich.
She got the Grilled Smokehouse. The sandwich consisted of smoked ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and a spicy dijon mustard on sourdough bread. The neat thing was this sandwich was served in a pie tin. On the side, she got berry coleslaw and a pickel spear. The ham was delicious and there was a lot on it. She peeled a few pieces off to give to me. She’s doesn’t like a whole lot of meat on her sandwiches and this one had a lot. The mustard was spicy, but again, there was a little too much. Both pieces of bread were covered with the mustard where one side probably would have been better. Even with those two minor complaints, she loved the sandwich. The ham had a great smoky flavor that the mustard balanced. The lettuce and tomato were just enough to cool down the spice.
I got the French Dip. The sandwich came with a huge cup of Au jus. I didn’t realize it when I ordered, but sauteed onions came on top of the roast beef. I really don’t like onioins so I scraped them off which also took off most of the cheese. The bread was just hard enough that it really soaked up the au jus and made for a nice crunch, but held the flavor of the juice. I got a bag of chips on the side along with the pickle spear. The chips were just a small bag of Lays. Usually at places like this, the French Dips are a little on the small side and I end up leaving hungry. Not here. The sandwich was a good size and had a lot of flavor. It’s easy to overcook roast beef, but this was done just right.
I passed on dessert and I’m kicking myself. I don’t really like pie, but I do like cheesecake and there was a delicious looking slice of an Oreo cookie cheesecake. My girlfriend got a slice of Laksehore Berry Pie Crumble to take home with us. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and apples are packed into this slice. She picked all the flavors but the apple out. That one seemed to fade into the background, but she did call it one of the best pies she’s ever eaten. We also grabbed two whole pies since that was the original purpose of our trip. Being in Michgan, she went with two Cherry Pie Crumbles to take home. I’m sure her parents and friends will love them. Like I said, I don’t really like pie, but these both looked delicious. Our meal cost around $18 for the two sandwiches and drinks. For dessert, we got out for under $30 and that was two pies and a slice.