Hanna Bistro Bar to open in August

TRAVERSE CITY – The renovation of old buildings and the construction of new buildings in downtown Traverse City has brought new and vital activity to the area. Jim Milliman, owner and chef at Hattie's in Suttons Bay, will unveil his new restaurant in downtown Traverse City sometime in August.

The Hanna Bistro Bar will be located at 118 Cass Street in the old Traverse City fire station, situated less then a block from Front Street. The building formerly housed Komo's Sicilian Pizza.

Originally scheduled to open earlier in the summer, the opening of the Hanna Bistro Bar has been delayed while Milliman waits for the transfer of the liquor license from the previous owner.

Meanwhile, he is renovating the restaurant, putting in a sit-down bar near the front, booths along the inside wall, installing dividers that separate the table sections, giving the walls and ceiling a new look with paint, laying new carpet throughout the dining area and new flooring in the kitchen.

He is also rearranging the kitchen and prep area to suit his own needs.

When the Hanna Bistro Bar opens, Milliman will be serving only dinner, but he hopes to add a lunch menu either later this fall or early next spring. The new restaurant will have a more casual version of the Hattie's menu with more moderate pricing and will feature some fish and seafood items. The Hanna restaurant will seat approximately 100 patrons and employ around 40 full and part time employees.

Milliman grew up in the Detroit area and graduated with a Business Degree from Ferris State University. His first foray into the food business began when he was 23 years old. He and a partner changed an old derelict bar on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit into a popular hang out. Mostly self-taught, he worked as a chef at Rowe Inn in Ellsworth before opening Hattie's of Suttons Bay in 1987, attending some seminars at the New York Culinary School along the way to fine tune his skills. Hattie's has won the Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for 2002 through 2004.

Milliman says the new Hanna restaurant will be a place where one can sit at the bar and have appetizers and cocktails, get a quick salad or light entree before the theatre or a concert, or enjoy a leisurely full course dinner. Reservations for dinner will be accepted.

In the intervening time, Milliman has been approached by others to host one or two benefit events, enabling him to get his operation up and running before the Hanna Bistro Bar officially opens to the public. BN