By Amanda Renkiewicz
With over forty wineries in the Grand Traverse region, a plethora of amazing events, and plenty of dining competition, staying ahead of the game is paramount. To offer a unique morning experience for its customers, Black Star Farms has increased its already formidable dining options to include brunch. The Hearth and Vine Restaurant is renowned as a premier culinary destination. They often win “most popular” or simply “the best” for their food pairings through the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail events (many still dream of their Apple and Lamb Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from last year’s Mac and Cheese bake-off). Awarded Best Farm-to-Table Cafe 2019 in Michigan by LUX Life Magazine, the restaurant offers guests a chance to savor exceptional farm to table cuisine in an indescribably beautiful outdoor setting.
The Black Star Farms Estate on Leelanau Peninsula is not just a mere winery and restaurant. Black iron gates flank the entry way for a winding drive past their inn, which is a striking dark red building with massive white columns. The romantic bed and breakfast is nestled below a hillside of vineyards with sweeping pastoral views. On the 160 acre estate are an equestrian facility, hiking trails, and outdoor patios to sip excellent wine.
Before settling down to a perfect brunch, my best friend and I decided it would be criminal not to take advantage of their early tasting room hours. We entered the large space, which is decorated with colorful murals on the walls. Due to my friend’s Wine Club status, we passed the busy bar and went to the exclusive Barrel Room. Described as a place for members to “experience a level of refinement above and beyond our standard tasting room”, we took our places at the high backed chairs and began picking favorites from the expansive wine list. The Dry Riesling, which won the best riesling in the world at an international competition, was as fabulous as ever. “It’s selling out fast!” the server told us. The dessert wines paired magically with the dark chocolate (try the raspberry, it’s beyond compare!). With our delightful foray into the menu at an end, we walked into the sunshine to go down the hill to the restaurant.
Hearth and Vine’s name is indicative of its rustic, from the farm cuisine. We took advantage of the perfect weather and sat at a comfortable outdoor table. The menu contained options for everyone, like their house made Corned Beef Hash Skillet with onions, peppers and potatoes, topped with two eggs to order, and a side of sourdough toast. We were equally tempted by the Brie Stuffed French Toast, consisting of sliced french baguette stuffed with brie cheese and topped with triple berry fruit compote, served with breakfast potatoes and a choice of applewood smoked bacon or ham. However, the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict sounded far too good to pass up, and we both ordered it. We sipped our coffee as we waited for our mimosas (with their BeDazzled sparkling wine), and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere. The mimosas quickly arrived, and a minute later, one of the best benedict dishes in Northern Michigan was delivered. The salmon was incredibly fresh and light, seeming like the fish had been swimming just that morning (thank you, salmon, you were delicious!). We vowed to return to try the rest of the menu for their selection of locally inspired items, and perhaps we’ll be kind enough to take our husbands. Even better, brunch is just one part of a visitor’s day at the Black Star Farms Estate, with the wine tasting, farm animals, and chef’s garden all available for exploration. It was the ideal way to spend a slow and sweet Sunday morning.
Unavailable for brunch? The Hearth and Vine restaurant is open for lunch and dinner as well! With wood-fired pizza and other farmstead fare, visitors can get cozy in the dining room or take in the view on the seasonal patio. “Providing fresh foods from local sources in a relaxed atmosphere is our philosophy,” the restaurant says. For more dining events, Black Star Farms even offers amazing specialty nights at Hearth and Vine, detailed below:
- Monday: Pasta Night – Share stories over classic pasta dishes served family style.
- Tuesday: BBQ on the Patio – Gather around the grill with family and friends.
- Wednesday: Seafood Paella Night – Enjoy a Spanish tradition prepared on the patio.
- Thursday: Great Lakes Fish Boil – Experience a century old custom from the Great Lakes. Or, Cajun Shrimp Boil – Savor a popular southern, celebratory dish.
- Sunday: Brunch on the Farm – Start your day right with farm-fresh plated brunch selections (view menu).
Catch brunch, lunch, dinner, or one of the outstanding events above while you can by getting a ticket online or popping into the seasonal restaurant! You won’t be sorry!