Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another West Michigan Treasure!

We apparently have wine on the mind this week! Today's "Where To Eat This Week" features a beautiful winery and restaurant in Buchanan Michigan; Tabor Hill has been a West Michigan hot spot for 46 years! This week we are lucky enough to have Paul Landeck- the Vice President and General Manager of Tabor Hill tell us all about the history of the restaurant and some of the amazing dishes they serve up! 

Take it away Paul!

"Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant in Buchanan, Michigan will soon be celebrating its 46th year of operation.  For all of those 46 years we’ve believed that food and wine make a brilliant combination! Being the first Michigan winery to create a fine-dining experience, we also believe in  the philosophy that wines of distinction are at their best when matched with an equally distinctive culinary complement. Indeed simply put, wine is a food beverage. 

In the early days even before we had a public restaurant it seemed that the enjoyment of wine was always made better when accompanied by food.  It was only natural then that a small restaurant was created within our winery to facilitate this enjoyment.  Although we’d like to think our menu has always been fairly forward thinking with regard what we serve, it was not necessarily a large one in the early days.  Maybe we’d have a handful of appetizers and 5 – 8 entrees would be offered at most. Having said that throughout our history, we have always proudly supported local agriculture by incorporating, to every extent possible, meats and produce from area farms. Quite possibly that is helped by the fact that our winery and restaurant quite literally is located out in the middle of God’s country perched on the same rolling hills that are home to our vineyards that produce our wine grapes.

As popular as our restaurant was in its original confines with its stunning views of the vineyards and The Lake Michigan Dunes 7 miles to the west, it was not necessarily designed to be the most efficient facility around.  Our miniscule kitchen for example was only a tad larger than our prep room, which was located two flights of stairs below and required a trip through the public wine tasting room in order to access it.  None-the-less that set up served us very well up until 8 years ago when we undertook a 3 years, multimillion dollar renovation that included the construction of a new winery, an additional new large dining room, kitchen, full service bar and public restrooms.  Now our two, high-ceilinged dining rooms offer exquisite views of the vineyard, and radiant sunsets evoke wine country dreams even in the chill of a Michigan winter such as this.

Although the additional space and upgrading were sorely needed and beautiful, it’s our Chef JohnPaul VerHage and his team’s creations that we believe really please our guests.  JohnPaul, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America has simple roots here in Southwest Michigan.  That said JohnPaul knows what our guests appreciate which keep them returning time after time.  His food creations are both eclectic yet comforting. Items like Polenta Fries with a White Truffle Aioli, Grilled Halloumi Cheese Bruschetta, Grilled Lobster with Sweet Corn Risotto, Pan Seared Japanese Mero Sea Bass and of course our ever popular Raspberry Chicken as samples of what he may rotate throughout our menu. In an effort to keep the marriage of food and wine demystified, JohnPaul also selects and suggests a wine variety to accompany all of his offerings.  Something we’ve found our guests truly take to heart.
  And speaking of wine, as proud as we are of all our longtime wine maker Mike Merchants work, we also understand that our guests occasionally prefer an alternative to wine: Cocktails, imported and domestic beers are also available for our guests enjoyment.

So there you have it!  Wine, food and an atmosphere that is unique to just about anywhere else in the world all located in the middle of nowhere but yet only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago and less than thirty minutes from South Bend.  Thankfully and humbly we consider it a winning combination and more importantly it seems our guests do too!

For more information about our winery and restaurant please feel free to check out our website at where you can even browse our current menu and retail wine list.  Happy Holidays!!"

-- Paul Landeck
 Vice President and General Manager
Tabor Hill Winery

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