Food & Brew
Between Lansing and Brighton just off I-96 is the nice little town of Williamston. Williamston is known for its antiques and it has several quaint shops. On Grand River in downtown one of the antiques has just been renovated to provide living for a few families upstairs, and a home for the Tavern 109 on the main level. The building is located just off Williamston’s main corner on the Northeast side. It was originally a community bank (built in 1870) and has quite a history. However, we believe there is a lot of history still to be made in this uniquely urban tavern. We had the privilege to meet one of the owners Bonnie, as well as Denise the manager, and could feel the positive attitude and love they put into the restaurant. Denise refers to the staff as 109 babies and after a visit you will see they are trained well and care for their tavern.
The west side of the restaurant offers many seating options, including couches, mixed tables, the bar and a private room. The ambiance is that of a New York City tavern, and you’d almost expect to have someone brokering a big deal next to you. You may also choose the East side of the restaurant for its open seating and open kitchen. There you can watch Chef Joe work his magic with his well trained crew. Joe apprenticed at the famed Golden Mushroom in Southfield and was also the original chef at the Betsie Bay Inn in Frankfort. This chef knows his craft and how to use Michigan ingredients.
We have been here more than once and had the opportunity to try several appetizers which were all very good. Though we didn’t try The Bad Ass Mussels which are cooked in Kid Rocks Bad Ass beer (brewed locally in Webberville at Michigan Brewing Company)they look simply amazing. However, we are going to recommend starting with an item not on the appetizers list, The Pear Pizza. It’s the first item on the pizza list and it is simply a great pizza. This 10” thin crusted pizza which is topped with a blue cheese blend is everyday gourmet. The olive oil (no red sauce) and the soft sweetness of the pears is a great match for the bacon, plus the taste of the toasted walnuts leaves you with a great finish to start your meal.
Lunch or Dinner
Time to jump into the waters on the Cubano. This warm pressed sandwich has some serious ingredients. It is loaded with ham, salami, roasted pork loin and Swiss cheese. Add a few pickle slices and Dijon on a fresh ciabatta and you will be completely satisfied long before the sandwich is gone. Their fries are also really good, they are a lightly battered fry which end very full and fluffy inside with no noticeable grease. Next, the vegetarian in you will find complete satisfaction in The Meatless Wonder. Both of us are meat lovers but thoroughly enjoyed the fresh lightness of this sandwich. Apples, onions, cucumbers, Swiss cheese, a smear of cream cheese and their cranberry sauce OH MY!
Our palate was very fond of The Asian Salmon. Covered in its mildly sweet glaze and accompanied by pea pods (which we loved) , mandarin oranges, pickled cabbage and cashews this salmon is worth the trip. We noticed that the cashews added a really nice feel and finish to the dish. This great salmon entree is placed atop a bed of basmati rice ( which is free flowing rice rather than sticky like most long-grain rices).
Yes, we saved room for dessert!
And you should too! There are several really good items on the dessert menu like Bev’s Delight Saunders Hot Fudge, The IBC Root Beer Float and of course The Warm Mixed Berry Crisp, but one towered over the others in many ways. For both its uniqueness and outstanding flavor we STRONGLY suggest you dive into the tropics with the Fried Pineapple “Doughnuts”. These fresh pineapple rings are covered in the chefs special graham crackers mix, then deep fried, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with a Kahlua Crème anglaise for the prefect end to a meal.
The Williamston Atmosphere
Antiquing, enjoying a Sunday drive through a fine little town, or just looking for a great meal in the outskirts of Lansing’s Southeast side, Tavern 109 in Williamston is a great choice. The ownership all the way down to the 109 babies take tremendous pride in the service, food quality and the relaxing atmosphere you will enjoy. So, don’t take our word, test the waters with the salmon or skip over to somewhere tropical with the Pineapple Doughnuts and tell them Dine Michigan sent you!
115 E. Grand River Ave., Williamston