Harvest reminds me of the 2014 movie Chefs with Jon Favreau. You know? The movie where Favreau goes a little crazy, gets himself a food truck, makes delicious food and lives happily ever after. I don't know if Simon went a little crazy, but I'm sure hoping that they have a happily ever after because their food is awesome. These guys are changing up what eating is and how you see food AND more importantly they are having a lot of fun doing it.
It’s no secret at this point: Traverse City is known as a “Foodie Town.” This distinction could be losing its edge- it seems that the number of foodie towns just keeps growing, and it could be said that we now live in a foodie age with all of the deliciousness surrounding us- no complaints there. But it does make it harder for a new place to WOW a food lover such as myself. Traverse City is known as the organic, local food movement city of the north- and in my opinion, Harvest is one café that perfectly represents the unique culture here. They live up to their 'slow food, served fast' philosophy and mannnn I dig it.
On this most recent trip, I had a list of places I couldn’t wait to eat, and Harvest was NOT on the list- though its food truck, The Roaming Harvest, was at the top. I stumbled upon a small café called The Harvest on a backstreets walk around town and wondered if they were related. A short Google search later, I was excited to check it out as Harvest has a larger menu than its Food Truck counterpart but has the same commitment to local, organic, laid back and DELICIOUS food.
Most reviews highlight a few changes to attain perfection, but this place is the opposite: to Harvest I please: please don't change a thing! This is my favorite restaurant of this trip. Flavors can bring you back to a good restaurant, but good people and service make you want to support them. I found on both occasions I went I had very nice conversations with the servers and owners, getting tips on where to eat in the area, and on what to order in their restaurant. It was a very pleasant dining experience both with food AND with the people. I feel I have to highlight this point because often times restaurants focus only on the food and less on the personal connection. A sterile environment doesn't bring me back to a restaurant. It may bring me there a weekend or two, but not craving it on the daily.
While sitting there eating brunch I chatted with the owner, but watched as he effortlessly made conversation with everyone there. I could tell this is just a practice of Harvests. Through our conversations and hearing the conversations with the people around, I could tell that they just really love food and people. This is a rare and genuine quality.
Ok, now for the food. The first time I went was a quick trip, but I was 'wowed'. I have read and heard that Harvest dishes up phenomenal tacos and I can tell you... they live up to their hype. The Korean tacos (sambal slaw and siracha mayo) were delicious. The meat was tender, seasoned well, and had a little bit of that Asian kick. The slaw on there was a nice creamy touch. I'd totally get these again. The Roaming Risotto (short ribs, pattypan salad, istara) was up next. Though I don't know what most of the ingredients are that were in it, it was also very good. The risotto was perrrfectly cooked. It stood up and was slightly creamy/soupy like good risotto should be.
Another really awesome aspect of Harvest is that they have a rotating brunch. They have a new brunch menu every Sunday and release it early in the morning on Sunday. The chefs take turns and come up with creations that they will make. How cool is that? It may be a small place, but they have big ideas and like I said before they just look like they are having so much damn fun. It makes me even want to work there.
I was lured in with talks of the Old #12 Hash (root vegetables, ginger sage sausage, fried egg, and Krem mustard). It was a ridiculous amount of food, but I love hash (because I love the potato possibly more than people) and this was really good. I cook parsnips at home and was happy to see them in the hash as this is not usually a common item in hash. I poured on some siracha and it was a perfect meal. The other brunch dish was the Southwestern Benedict (pit ham, cornbread, fried egg, and chipotle hollandaise). Though I would have liked the chipotle hollandaise to have more of a kick, I do realize that the general customer doesn't looooove hot spicy food like myself. I would suggest maybe having an option for making it more spicy for the spicy food lovers out there.
It's hard to describe in words the flavors that the guys at Harvest are serving up, but they are fusing together a lot of different foods and techniques. If you're in Traverse City and don't stop here... I feel sad for you because you will never know the deliciousness that is Harvest. Make your hobbit journey and get here. Don't have food regrets. They hurt. #truth
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.