MARQUETTE, YOU ARE one lucky, little town.
Lucky, because for a community of 21,000, you offer an embarrassment of riches when it comes to restaurants.
The latest entry on the culinary scene is the much awaited Delft Bistro on Washington Street. The former theater, all lit up outside like a Broadway show, has been transformed into a two story restaurant and bar, along with movies projected on a huge screen on the wall.
The movie screen, frankly, is an interesting side show–not the main feature–that will capture your attention fleetingly from time to time while you’re enjoying dinner and conversation with your dining partner(s).
The bigger stories are the atmosphere and the food.
The atmosphere: Industrial-chic. Huge exposed metal beams and pipes. Aged brick walls. Salvaged and repurposed wood from the old theater that’s been transformed into the floor and tables. Tall ceiling. An open kitchen. Two bars.
Cool without being pretentious.
The food: This ain’t bar food, honey. Yeah, they’ll offer you a hamburger and fries, and a steak, but those dishes are prepared a little more exotically and with far more care than your typical pub.
They’ve also got duck and chicken confit, and a hummus plate, and Brussels sprouts. And an indecently rich chocolate bread pudding.
The Delft Bistro has been holding a soft opening the last few nights to iron out the kinks. Official opening date, still uncertain, should be any day now.
Back to the opening theme–the embarrassment of culinary riches here.
Within a few blocks of the Bistro, you can also dine at the classic, sophisticated Elizabeth’s Chop House, the always popular Vierling, the northern Italian Piedmont at the Landmark Inn, the farm-to-table specialists The Marq and Steinhaus, the tasty and inexpensive Sol Azteca, the funky and authentic Lagniappe, the newly opened Zephyr wine bar (with surprisingly good food), the reinvented Recovery Room, and the soon-to-be opened Digs.
And the Portside, and Aubrees, and the 906 Sports Bar and Grill, and…Stop!
Oh, and the Iron Bay (formerly L’Attitude) will be opening this spring.
And don’t even get us started on the diverse offerings on Third Street, less than a half mile away.
Most smaller towns are content with a few nice family diners, a few holes-in-the-wall, maybe a hotel restaurant, a couple of chains, and fast food. And maybe the occasional chef-entrepreneur who tries something new for a couple of years, but then has to close down.
It’s different here. Restaurateurs, chefs and entrepreneurs want to be here. Is there a big enough market in Marquette for all of them? Probably not. Someone’s likely to be squeezed out in the not-too-distant future.
But in the meantime, we–the diners–should enjoy the hell out of it.
A final note: As we mention above, the Delft Bistro is not yet open to the public. It should happen any day and will likely be announced on their Facebook page.
You got news? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.