By Ann Sinclair
Located on beautiful Betsie Bay in Frankfort, Bayview Grille has earned its reputation as a popular destination for great made-from-scratch home-style food and Michigan-made beers and wine. Located in the building that once housed Celia’s by the Bay, Bayview Grille is the pride and joy of Dale Evans and Jill Weide, both Michigan natives who, after spending 20 years in the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, returned to their home state to seek a more relaxed and friendly lifestyle.
Since opening Bayview Grille in 2010, Dale, Jill and their staff have been learning how to best deliver their creations to their increasingly loyal customers. Both great amateur cooks, Dale and Jill were new to the food business. “Our customers and staff were great, and helped us develop our signature service, which emphasizes customer comfort and great food. Everyone who dines with us enjoys the fruits of the lessons we’ve learned,” Dale says.
Bayview smokes its own meats and poultry in the smoker that sits in front of the restaurant during the summer season. It makes its own jams, sauces, salad dressings and soups, including its popular corn and clam chowders. In addition, locally grown ingredients are used in its recipes whenever possible. Dale and Jill cook in their kitchen alongside some of Benzie County’s top talent. “Our staff is so pleased to be able to really cook from scratch and get away from simply opening a package or deep frying something that came in frozen,” Dale says. “They work hard to prepare fresh and delicious foods for our customers.”
During its first three years in the community, Bayview offered breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. Now both Dale and Jill have decided to scale back their work hours so they have more time to enjoy northern Michigan. Starting this May, Bayview is open 7am to 4pm, focusing on breakfast and lunch.
“It’s the best breakfast on the Bay,” says Marilyn Maslo, a frequent morning customer. “Bayview serves organic coffee from Higher Grounds [the Traverse City–based coffee roaster], and prepares its Eggs Benedict for me with avocado instead of ham, all with homemade hollandaise sauce on a gluten-free bun. I can’t get that service anywhere else, and I love it!”
In addition to great breakfast offerings, like the popular beignet, a light, fritter-like pastry dusted with powdered sugar, Bayview is bringing back some of its exclusive lunch items, like the smoked turkey club made with house-smoked turkey, the smoked-turkey Reuben, and its unique grilled tuna sandwich. “We take fresh grilled yellow fin tuna, chop it, and mix it with our homemade sauce,” says Dale, “then serve it on a very special bread. It’s one of our most popular lunch items.” Innovative menu additions are on deck for June, Dale says. “We are excited to offer new foods that aren’t available elsewhere in northern Michigan.”
Also getting a fresh look will be Bayview’s cocktail, beer, and wine menu. “It’s been a bit of a secret that we have a liquor license, but those who know are definitely enjoying our offerings,” says Jill. A variation of their popular Bayview Bloody Mary, the “Crabby Mary” will feature a full crab claw as a garnish. “The claw is full of sweet meat, and it goes deliciously with our Bloody Mary. We think it will be a hit!” Jill says. And not to worry, Bayview will continue to offer a range of craft beers, Michigan wines, Spanish Sangria, Bud Light, and traditional mixed drinks. “If you enjoy it, we will do our best to provide it,” says Jill.
With all the great changes coming, Bayview Grille will continue to be the place to enjoy a hearty, healthy breakfast or lunch, or linger over an afternoon cocktail on their porch overlooking the bay on a warm day. Dale and Jill always strive to deliver something special to their guests. As Dale says, “Sometimes it takes a little longer, but our success shows that it’s worth it.”
Bayview Grille, 727 Main Street, Frankfort, (231) 352-8050. Open 7 days, 7 am to 4 pm.