I mentioned in my post dedicated to Grand Traverse Resort & Spa how the state of Michigan mandated that all restaurants must suspend their indoor dining services, once again, as of October 2020. Finally, they will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity as of February 1st, 2020, but in the meantime, in order to keep their staff on and continue serving their guests in the best way they can, Aerie Restaurant & Lounge has pivoted in the most unique way I’ve seen yet.
In order to continue offering their fine dining services, which is a huge relief to those who are tired of takeout or cooking every meal for themselves, Aerie has cleared out all of the hotel rooms on its 15th floor in addition to some of its suites, and has converted them into private dining suites! Here’s why this is the most innovative dining idea in the state of Michigan, and why we loved out meals so much.
Aerie Restaurant & Lounge
Location: Traverse City (Acme), Michigan
Address: 16th Floor
100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd, Acme Township, MI 49610
Inside Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Awards: 4 Time Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Winner
Food Type: Breakfast, Brunch & Dinner
Dining Experience: Indoor
Price: $100+ per Person
Dress Code: Smart Casual +
Special Diets: Pescatarian, Vegetarian,
Gluten Free (not GF dedicated)
Getting To Our Private Dining Suite
We met Aerie manager Alex Truck near the grand piano in the resort’s lobby, who escorted us up to the 15th floor, and to our private dining suite just as the sun was beginning to set over Grand Traverse Bay. On the way up, he described how they had pulled everything out of all of the 15th floor hotel rooms to make room for the dining tables, and that it had been a huge success, with people positively celebrating the chance to dine out and eat something besides takeout or something they had to make (and clean up) themselves.
The Private Dining Suite
Inside our dining suite was a table with chairs facing the large bay windows that overlooked Grand Traverse Bay, and the snow covered golf courses, as well as the contents of the restrooms, a side table with lights, and a radio playing soft music. Once Alex dropped us off at our private dining suite, we were greeted by our two dedicated servers, Jeremey and Paige, both of whom assured us they wouldn’t be touching anything except our plates, that everything had been impeccably cleaned, and that they’d be just outside should we need them.
Prix Fix Menu
We selected our meals from a Prix Fixe menu (if you aren’t sure what that means, check out my Essential Dining Terminology post!), ordered our cocktails, and relaxed while listening to jazz music, watching the sun down and discussing how clever this was. Of course, regular restaurants located outside of hotels can’t do anything like this, so the resort was in a unique position to continue cooking for its guests, and we were so thankful to be able to eat out again!
Amuse-Bouche & Appetizers
Paige quickly brought us water, a bread basket, and their version of an amuse-bouche, which was a plate of candied walnuts, macadamia nuts, crackers, assorted cheeses, a few droplets of honey, pickles, and sweety drops, a type of small red pepper. We were then brought our appetizers. I enjoyed the Field Salad made of mixed greens, pickled red onion, cucumber, gorgonzola, candied pecans, Traverse City tart cherry vinaigrette, whereas Robin had Crab Crostini featuring marinated jumbo lump, edamame pate, pickled red onion, capers, tomato bruschetta, garlic crostini. Both of which were absolutely delicious, and so flavorful. There’s just something about eating wonderful food while watching the sunset that makes me feel so hopeful and happy.
Want to know what amuse-bouche means literally and in the world of fine dining? Read my post about Essential Culinary Terminology to learn about its origins and how its used in the food world, along with other terms that make decoding any menu a breeze!
Our Main Courses
Our main course was somehow even better than our appetizers, which were excellent. I ordered Grilled Atlantic Salmon which came with smoky fingerling potato salad with fava beans, pickled onions, grilled asparagus, cider gastrique. This was some of the very best salmon I’ve ever had. I’d honestly eat this everyday if I could!
Robin had the Risotto with English peas, shaved parmesan, crispy potato.
We finished off our meals with a dessert, but at this point we were quite full, so even though they were both positively divine, we couldn’t finish either of them. I had the New York Cheesecake topped with whipped crème, fresh berries, raspberry coulis, while Robin had a Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.
Our Final Thoughts About Aerie Restaurant & Lounge Private Dining
Everything about our meal was absolutely delightful, from the staff and the view of the sunset over the bay to the food, the music, and of course the company. We agreed somewhere between our main courses and dessert that not only is Aerie Restaurant & Lounge the best place to eat in Traverse City, it’s one of the top 5 five best restaurants in all of Michigan.
While I hope to visit the 16th floor restaurant one day to take in the full Aerie experience, both Robin and I had a really fantastic time and a wonderful meal that I can’t stop thinking about!
Aerie Restaurant & Lounge reopens week of February 1st, 2021, and will be open for dining on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, as well as Valentine’s Day.
Aerie In Suite Dining will continue through February on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. In room dining is still available 7 days a week from 7am to 9pm. After February 1st, the following dining options will once again be available inside Grand Traverse Resort & Spa:
Sweetwater American Bistro: Open for breakfast five days a week (Wednesday-Sunday) beginning on February 6th
Jack’s Taproom: Open five days a week (Thursday-Monday) beginning February 1st
The Den F&B: Open Friday and Saturday nights starting February 5th
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