New flavors heading downtown

TRAVERSE CITY – Pizza from around the world and fish from the Great Lakes will be two new options for hungry downtown workers and shoppers.

Scalawags Whitefish & Chips is eyeing a late April/early May opening, and will be followed by Pangea's Pizza sometime in June.

It will be the fifth location for Scalawags, which first opened in Mackinaw City in 1992 and has since opened locations in Petoskey, Cheboygan, Okemos, and East Lansing.

The Traverse City Scalawags is moving into the former home of Bart's Texas Style BBQ at 303 E. State Street.

The 2,200-square-foot space is owned by the city and is on the ground floor of the Larry C. Hardy parking deck. Since Bart's vacated last October, the city has been criticized for the considerable investment it made in the space, specifically nearly $100,000 in finishing work for a restaurant that lasted less than two years.

Scalawags will lease the space from the city, said owner Brian Parker. He sees the parking deck as a valuable asset to the restaurant location and will work with the DDA to promote the parking deck and make the restaurant easily accessible to it.

The mainstay of the Scalawags menu is the fish – all from Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior – and includes whitefish, yellow perch, and walleye.

The restaurant will have 70-80 seats inside, as well as outdoor seating during the summer.

Global pizza

You may have seen the sign of a new pizza restaurant coming downtown and wondered about that name "Pangea's."

Quick history lesson: it refers to the prehistoric super continent, known as Pangea, from which the current continents are believed to have originated. As such, pizzas from cultures around the globe are the menu's focus.

Pangea's will have seating for 45, as well as an outdoor café area featuring a walk-up window for easy ordering. Some of the building's 1930s character will be showcased in the redesign, including original glass block on the facade. Clark, Walter, Sirrine Architects is heading the redo.

The venture is a Girrbach family affair. Son Fritz, an executive chef, most recently at Hanna Bistro Bar, will serve as kitchen consultant. Other son, Chris, will handle front-of-the-house operations, wife Phyllis is president and Ed Girrbach will handle business management while running his other business, Blue Water Video.

Girrbach has applied for a liquor license – a transfer from the defunct Bart's BBQ – so that he can sell beer and wine at the restaurant. BN