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Inside The Kitchen at Oakwood Proper Burgers in Traverse City


“Oakwood is our go to place, it reminds me of Traverse City, it reminds me of small town,” said customer Kaitlyn Aldrich about her family’s favorite restaurant.

These burgers are stacked high and sure do make a statement, but they’re more than just a burger.

“There’s so much flavor packed into it and it’s really just a whole experience,” she said.

Co-owner Leslie Bilbey prides her restaurant on the quality of what they’re serving up.

“We are a craft burger, we are a smash burger, we are a non-commodified supply chain,” she explained.

This is ‘La Montaña.’

“It’s certainly a favorite of mine but also a favorite of a lot of people, and I think it also communicates we are not a traditional Midwest burger, we do have a lot of southwest influence,” Leslie said.

The spice from the jalapeño, balanced beautifully with some cream cheese.

“Because it’s so big we always put a knife through our burger, but I always just recommend, don’t cut it in half, just pick it up and shove it in the way it is,” she said.

The fries also make an entrance.

They are hand-cut fresh all day long.

“It’s huge, you get a generous portion, they feed the entire table,” she said.

Leslie also recommends them for leftovers.

“I like to reheat in the flying pan the next morning with a fried egg for breakfast,” she explained.

While you’re diving into deliciousness here, Leslie hopes people see Oakwood Proper Burgers as more than a restaurant, but a community.

“We are really oriented around establishing relationships,” she said.

“The intimate setting, I have met a number of people here that I never would have had the space not been so welcoming and encouraging,” said Kaitlyn.

Oakwood Proper Burgers will host pop-ups at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel starting June 30th, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 4-10 p.m. Then on July 16th, they’ll give away free ice cream scoops of MOO-ville ice cream at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel.

You can find Oakwood Proper Burgers at 1108 E. Eighth Street in Traverse City, or call them at 231-253-1513.

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