Michigan August 02, 2016
The Oldest Restaurant In Michigan Has A Truly Incredible History
If you’re a history buff, a food-lover, and a Michigander, you’re in for a special treat on your next trip to Traverse City. For over a hundred years, Sleder’s Family Tavern at 717 Randolph Street has been serving food and building community in a warm and nostalgic atmosphere.
Sleder’s Tavern was established in 1882 on the west side of Traverse City. Construction of the tavern took over three years — the men who built it could only work on Sundays, and would end each day of building with food, drink, and animated conversation.
When Prohibition rolled around, Sleder’s managed to remain in business with its special “root beer” recipe, which actually consisted of bourbon and rye. Sleder’s was one of only a few taverns in Michigan that managed to stay open for the entirety of the Prohibition era.
Prior to 1930, women were not allowed to enter the main barroom at Sleder’s. Fortunately, this rule changed in the 1930s and the tavern was opened completely so women could join in on the fun.
While several structural changes have been made during the tavern’s long history, the east wall of the restaurant still contains its original 21-foot mahogany bar. Just imagine the conversations that must have taken place at this bar over the course of the last century!
Sleder’s also houses “The Porch,” a special area of the restaurant that serves as the backdrop for wedding receptions, parties, and other special events.
The tavern itself might have a long history, but its menu is fresh and delicious. Diners will enjoy everything from homemade soup to burgers to lake perch — along with a wide array of alcoholic beverage options for the grown-ups.
Of course, no visit to Sleder’s is complete without saying hello to Randolph, the tavern’s on-site stuffed moose that patrons regularly kiss for good luck. Pucker up and make a wish!
Michigan’s history is truly fascinating, and you can see this history on full display at Sleder’s. Have you had a chance to visit the tavern? Tell us about it in the comments below!