Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pure Michigan on Draft at French Laundry

The French Laundry Café & Market in Fenton has made a major commitment to the Great Lakes State, with the recent announcement that it will be pouring exclusively Michigan draft beer from here on out.

“The Laundry is proud to feature fresh craft beer from local Michigan micro-breweries,” says bartender Jon Foley. “We’ll regularly rotate our nine pulls…with seasonal pulls such as Whitsun – our mainstay summer beer.”

Foley says the rotating beers will span the spectrum of styles, coming from a variety of Michigan breweries including Arbor Brewing, Arcadia Ales, Atwater, Bell’s, Darkhorse, Dragonmead, Founders, Frog Island (Michigan Brewing Company), King’s, New Holland, Sherwood, Short’s and The Livery. Featured selections will be posted each week at the restaurant as well as online at LunchandBeyond.com.

“This marks a major triumph for us as a business, especially in our solidarity with the Michigan brewing industry,” says owner Mark Hamel. “We believe Michigan makes the best beer in the country and now there’s finally going to be a place to get consistent Michigan draft in Genesse County.”

According to Hamel, the French Laundry is more than an eatery. “For me, it has always been an opportunity for me to share, one-on-one or in our classes, what I have learned, discovered and come to appreciate about amazing foods and beverages – and especially those made right here in Michigan,” he says.

The first major Michigan beer event at The Laundry will be in July, in conjunction with their Bastille Day 5k/15k run for Habitat for Humanity. July is also Michigan Craft Beer Month, as designated by the Michigan Brewers Guild.

“One of our featured activities will be a New Holland tent outside the restaurant and some high-gravity ales and cheese pairings inside,” Foley says.

Mark Hamel spent a year studying in Paris during his college career at Michigan State University. He had long planned to open a restaurant and says he wanted something with a French name, but not necessarily a French-influenced menu. He purchased a building at 125 W. Shiawassee Avenue at Adelaide in Fenton – a former laundry building – and in 1997, The French Laundry was born.

Known for its large plates of American food and an amazing beverage list, The French Laundry features several dining options and an open-air kitchen that allows guests to observe the culinary artistry that takes place on a daily basis.

Featuring a variety of bakery and deli offerings, The Laundry serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week – including a kids’ menu and a full catering menu. Classes, focused on a variety of food and beverage themes, are also offered on a regular basis.

The casual market setting features Zingerman's breads as well as fresh pastries and deserts. A second casual seating area offers high ceilings and 1950s kitchen-style vinyl-topped tables. The dining room, added nearly five years ago, includes a bar stocked with everything from boutique beers and wines and an array of single malt Scotches and Irish whiskeys.

Whether it’s any number of breakfast meals, to one of 40 different deli sandwiches or the more sophisticated entrees for dinner – such as pork tenderloin medallions, turkey meatloaf or pan-seared scallops atop pasta – guests rarely leave The Laundry hungry. What they do take home are memories of a great culinary experience and a desire to return with family and friends, for another gourmet taste.


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