No matter the season, Chandler’s corporate chef Tommy Kaszubowski believes cultivating relationships with local growers and producers is vital for any farm-to-table restaurant. Right now, he’s ramping up for autumn, his favorite season.

“If I think about it, I think it stems from canning our garden vegetables and horseradish with my mom and dad in the fall as a kid,” he says. “I always look forward to the first time I see a squash at the local markets each year. Butternut squash soup is a staple in the fall on our menu. And, as soon as the weather gets cool, I love to put a red wine-braised meat on the menu, like lamb shanks or beef short ribs.”

Local seasonal flavors surface in the cherry-balsamic reduction of Duck a la Planche, the seared Great Lakes whitefish and salad of mixed greens from nearby Coveyou Farm. Tommy’s own house-made steak sauce accompanies the beef filet.

Kaszubowski trained under some of the most noted culinarians in the Midwest, including two of Michigan’s James Beard Award winners, Takashi Yagihashi at Tribute in Farmington Hills, and Brian Polcyn of Five Lakes Grill in Milford. He also studied with retired certified master chef Dan Hugelier from Schoolcraft College in Livonia. Before making his way to Chandler’s, Kaszubowski served as executive chef at the upscale Tapawingo in Ellsworth, which closed in 2009 after owner Pete Peterson retired.

Chandler’s is open 365 days a year, offering an intimate dining experience with table seating for 46, plus a 10-seat bar serving lunch and dinner, along with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. At the adjacent Symon’s General Store, the lower level Wine Cellar dining room surrounds diners with 5,000 bottles of wine from around the world. During the warmer months, the patio is a popular place to gather with family and friends.

In addition to his flagship restaurant and General Store, proprietor Chandler Symon owns Mitchell Street Pub in Petoskey and Pierson’s Grille & Spirits in neighboring Harbor Springs.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 fall/winter issue of Experience Michigan magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.

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Dianna Stampfler has been a foodie since the seventh grade, when her parents managed a supper club in her hometown of Plainwell. Today, she lives in Walloon Lake and enjoys sipping and savoring her way around the state of Michigan.

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