Whenever we go on a trip, I like to find the place where the locals go for a meal. You can always find good spots in the tourists hubs as well, but it’s those out of the way places that a tourist might have a hard time finding where the real gems are. Boone’s Long Lake Inn came from a recommendation from Ang who said she and her fiance will find a reason to drive to Traverse City just so they can go to Boone’s. That was a good enough recommendation for me, so we headed out of town to find Boone’s.
Boone’s is located a few miles outside of town on Secor Rd. I damn near missed the turn for the driveway. The sign came up on me pretty fast, but since there was no one behind me, I slowed down in a hurry to make the turn. The restaurant sits at the end of a short drive. When we got up the hill, we came into a huge parking lot that was pretty empty. We were pretty early for dinner, so it was questionable whether we would even be able to get a meal here. There’s a sign posted on the outside of the restaurant with the hours and they just opened for dinner about ten minutes prior to our arrival.
When we got inside, we were met by a host and shown to a table. The dinning room is massive. It’s divided into three separate, gigantic spaces. In addition to the dining rooms, there’s a bar and banquet rooms. Boone’s is huge. Our waitress came over for drinks and told us about the specials. Steaks had been recommended, but I don’t normally eat steak at restaurants. Too expensiveand I’m a little picky with how it’s cooked. I like it medium rare and that seems to be open to interpretation for some reason. There was plenty on the menu that looked good. I ended up ordering the single bacon wrapped pork loin. The pork chop came with choice of potato and a salad. I chose french fries for the potato and got a side salad with Italian dressing. The most interesting thing about the salad were the croutons. They were obviously homemade. They were crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Before the meal, the server brought out a loaf of warm, homemade bread. I would assume the croutons are made from that left over bread. Side salads are usually uninteresting and bland, but the croutons made this salad just the opposite.
Not long after finishing the salad, our entrees came out. My pork loin was cut pretty thick. The bacon had shrunk during cooking and was no longer wrapped around the pork. The toothpick used to hold it in there was another story. I couldn’t figure out what I was biting into that was hard. I figured it out when I pulled the little piece of wood out of my mouth. Trying to get the rest of the toothpick out of the meat also proved to be challenging. They didn’t leave a little sticking out so there was nothing to grab on to. I finally pulled it out. Other than the piece of wood, the pork loin was delicious. It was cooked just right. Not quite well done, but not pink either. The bacon fat added a little moisture to the traditionally dry meat. A cup of BBQ sauce was served on the side. Again, I believe this was home made too. It was a honey BBQ sauce, but there was something else in it we couldn’t figure out. J really liked it with her fries and she ended up eating most of it. The fries we both got with our meals were just the out of the bag kind, but my meal came with a lot. Probably half the bag. I was stuffed when we left. I wasn’t sure I was going to have room for the desert we were going to have someplace else.
J was going to order the Cherry Chicken Salad until she saw the $15 price tag. Seemed expensive for a salad, so she went with the grilled chicken breast sandwich instead. She got a moist grilled chicken breast with lettuce. She seem to really like it. Her sandwich also came with fries. She got about as many as I did, but stopped halfway through. She thought they were a little soggy. Not quite as crisp as she would prefer.
Our bill was $30. Boone’s Long Lake Inn was a great choice. It was a very laid back, comfortable, family atmosphere. It’s the kind of place that the locals go to get away from the craziness that can be downtown in the summer time. It’s the kind of place where anyone can feel comfortable. The table behind us had a lady dressed to the nine’s looking like she was going to dinner and dancing while the man at the table was wearing camo pants and a cut-off t-shirt. Boone’s isn’t fancy, but it isn’t a dive either. It’s a great family restaurant away from downtown Traverse City that should be given serious consideration when visiting Northern Michigan.