McGowan’s Menu: Chez Peres Cafe Bistro In Traverse City

A place with a definite French accent has been around in Traverse City now for about 10 years, the last six on Lake Street.
You should be warned though. Chez Peres Cafe Bistro intends to make anyone venturing in a fan of French cuisine. 
Before you even get into Chez Peres Cafe Bistro, you first have to go through the Patisserie Amie,
the pastry shop. If you keep your eyes focused on the restaurant, perhaps you can get by it unscathed, but probably not.   
Owner Eric Fritch says, “when they first walk into the pastry shop, they see all of our Parisian Pastries. Basically, pastries you can't find anywhere else in America.  If you walk in and you see one of our Raspberry boms, this is made from a special batter of almonds, and it's a naturally gluten-free dessert.  It's a very dense and butter rich pastry.   And we have eclairs, and a madeleines, and financiares, chocolate striped tiger bonnes as well, chocolate pate, our own homemade tarts, our croissants and bread every day.” 
Eric worked the front of the house, as they say in the restaurant business,  as a waiter for about 12 years, in different restaurants around the country.  But he wanted to move to the back of the house with hopes of opening his own French restaurant.  His wife is from Michigan, and already had a connection to Northern Michigan.
“So I researched Traverse City and Michigan, and my wife has a cottage up on Torch Lake, here, and we been coming up for a number of years, and just thought we could make it work up here.   And so this is where we ended up. That was roughly ten years ago,” explains Eric.    
They serve breakfast and lunch, or brunch, seven days a week.  Dinner right now is Thursday through Saturday, but that will go to seven days come Memorial Day.  They're breakfast offerings have made quite the name for themselves.
“I think there was one magazine, Midwest Living, that voted us the number one breakfast spot in North America. So we were flattered by that.”   
Chef Shaun Johnson heads the kitchen crew at Chez Peres. Like most, he started out washing dishes and worked his way up and he's been here now four years.  He's showing off a couple of their breakfast gems, starting with saucisson lentille.
“I'm gonna do sausage and lentils, and that'll be braised green lentils served with our homemade garlic sausage, and poached eggs, a little mustard. That's a great dish,” says Shaun.  
Another popular breakfast choice is the omelet ratatouille.
Eric says, “Our own homemade ratatouille which is French for provencal vegetables stuffed inside an omelet, lots of gruyere cheese.”
Shaun says, “It's a medley of vegetable, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, basil, red peppers.” 
And if you're just in the mood for the classic eggs benedict, they do a lot of those as well.  And the hollandaise sauce poured on those eggs is homemade at the restaurant. Sometimes several times a day according to Eric.
  
If you haven't tried French food, Eric would like it to be a one of a kind experience for you.
“That they came in and they felt like they were in Paris for 45 minutes or an hour during lunch, or for a couple hours during dinner.”
It's easy to see why breakfast is such a big deal here.   Chez Peres Cafe Bistro is located in the 200 block of Lake Street.   They're open seven days a week 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.