The Hotel Tavern: Lunchtime Review

Most Springport residents are aware of the Hotel Tavern, the town’s one-and-only bar. Located at 119 E. Main Street in Springport, Michigan, the tavern is situated across the street from Chubby’s Cafe; however, the bar remains a staple for local dining.

The Hotel Tavern sits independently on Main street, with the Nevin Alexander Insurance Agency to the West and the Village of Springport offices to the East.


I spent the day in Springport today and realized I hadn’t planned a lunch. The cafe is currently closed on Mondays and it isn’t the right season for the Dairy Kreme, so the Hotel was an easy choice. I haven’t ordered food from there in a couple of years, at least, but heard they came under new ownership since the last time, so I was curious.


While the bar is known for its handmade pizza and Friday fish fry, their menu features various dishes ranging from comfort food to quick bites. The appetizer menu consists of unique items, such as fried green beans, fried gizzards, and beer-battered fries. Soups and salads are available, ranging from taco and chef salads to chili and soups of the day. Don’t forget to ask about dessert specials, as they often serve up homemade classics such as pineapple upside-down cake, German chocolate cake, and pies.


After a half-hour of deliberating between the Monday goulash special and some other menu items, I settled on the steak hoagie. This version consists of grilled steak, onions, and mushrooms loaded on a hoagie bun, topped with cheese and pepper rings. The meal includes chips and a pickle for eight bucks. Or, you can swap out the chips for fries. I upgraded to fries as I was curious if they were as good as I remember them.

It is common to see white American cheese, Provolone, or Swiss; however, this particular hoagie featured creamy, melty cheddar cheese. I ordered mine as is, with the mushrooms, onions, and pepper rings.


Upon receiving my food in the to-go container, the first order of business was to check and see if the bun was soggy. Quite often, menu items served on bread or buns will turn mushy- in part due to the contents sitting on the bread and also from the moist heat trapped in the container. Some restaurants lightly toast their buns, which can help with sogginess, but is not necessarily failproof.


This particular hoagie bun held its consistency nicely. The bun appeared to have been lightly toasted; however, it maintained a fresh bun’s appeal. This hearty sandwich was mouth-watering – the contents were clearly fresh, the entirety was hot, and the proportion was plenty. I had zero complaints. As for the fries – they were just as I remembered, with a perfectly crisp exterior and a softer interior. With a dash of salt and a dollop of ketchup, these are easily my favorite fries in the area.


Whenever I order a steak hoagie, I have difficulty not comparing it to Jackson’s Southside Deli. They have the best, in my opinion. This time, though, I was pleasantly surprised at the Hotel Tavern’s take on this comforting dish. The number one spot in my book (for the hoagie) just might be theirs.


Besides the food, the Hotel Tavern’s staff was pleasant and their service prompt. My order was ready when I arrived to pick it up, and was still hot when I sat down to eat it minutes later. The welcoming customer service, hometown atmosphere, and delicious eats at the Hotel Tavern make for a great little pit stop heading through town.

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

No spoilers!

My choice reads as of late have mainly been historical fiction, but Water for Elephants piqued my curiosity as I love old, vintage type circus themes. I set out to read this book hoping for an easy read- something to enjoy over the holidays.

This atmospheric novel takes place in the circus setting circa 1932. Right off the bat, Gruen draws the reader in through her gritty showmanship of characters, setting, and plot. Personalities are developed in the way only true writers can do, complete with true and unwavering personality traits.

Newly orphaned Jacob Jankowski finds himself adrift, entering a world of various freaks, drifters, and misfits. The plot details his time aboard the circus train, developing the climax further at each stop the circus makes.

Gruen utilizes compelling details to capture the readers’ imagination, foreseeing which characters will be cherished and which are lacking in redeeming qualities. The combination of depredation and restitution enhance the plotline even further, as the reader becomes more captivated and intrigued with each turn of the page.

The love story is beautifully intertwined, and sense of time and place remain illuminated throughout the duration of the novel. This was a quick, easy read- mostly because I had a hard time putting it down. This is one of those reads that make it easy to be consumed, fully enveloped inside the story itself.

Let me know if you read the book and how you like it. I’m also curious to know how the movie turned out!