151 South Putnam Street
Williamston, MI 48895
Chances are, unless you are from mid-Michigan, you’ve never heard of the town of Williamston. This tiny little town with only one “major” intersection has only two claims to fame; 1. former residence of Chief John Okemos of the Tawas Chippewas, a well document Native American and ally to the British in the War of 1812 and 2. a hokey sign that says “Williamston STOP or smile as you go by,” that unfortunately no longer exists. With a popular of less than 3500 (as of 2000), there really isn’t any reason you would ever have heard of Williamston, MI.
Unless you are The Rev. I’m not from there or even really near there but I generally make one pilgrimage a year to this bedroom community. You see, Williamston is almost equal distance between my Detroit-area hometown of No.VI, MI and the location of my alma matter, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI. I have to drive by it to get from one place to the other but I always stop in. Why? It’s the home of my Grandma Mae.
They broke the mold when they build this one. Grandma Mae is the darn tootenest nicest and most caring person on the entire planet. Her heart is 42 times larger than the Grinch’s after the epiphany and made or more gold than you will ever find in Gold Rush, Alaska. Because Mae lives out in what native Michiganders call the “B.F.E.” my wife and I have to make a special trip to see her at Xmas where we have a little yearly tradition of grabbing lunch with her and my Step-Moms, Liz. On this holiday season Grandma Mae suggested a lunch at a local fave.
Gracie’s Place, a family-friendly bistro, makes EVERYTHING on their menu from scratch. This restaurant located at the only street crossing in the one stop light downtown area of Willliamston, MI prides itself in making all its offering using only the freshest of natural ingredients. It’s a rather large dining room, in a very small town with a warm, welcome environment, Gracie’s Place where locals go for lunch, dinner, romance, meet ups or even just an afternoon coffee. While Williamston is a simple town, the menu here certainly is not. With choices from Cocoa Rubbed Skirt Steak, Kabocha Squash Agnolotti, Rabbit-Guinness Pie, Ginger Ale Pork Tenderloins, Tempura Whitefish Sandwich, Country Pan Fried Chicken in a Prosciutto-sage pan sauce, there is something for all palettes.
They also have a selection of burgers, which brings us to the point of this story.
I had not intended on a Burger Conquest with the family but after Cara asked me “Did you see the Cider Mill burger on the menu? I’m getting that!” The burger of mention comes with brie, apple, cranberry, horseradish sauce on brioche. I think you all know what happens when you put fruit on a burger correct? It becomes healthy!! So why not, I’ll eat a healthy burger with my Grandma!
I started off with a cup savory split lea soup w chopped ham with vegetables. It was a perfect way to start off a lunch on a cold day. The soup is not thick and it’s wonderful. in it’s lighter density. This is NOT to be passed over.
It was time to visit the Cider Mill. My initial thought was that the cranberry horseradish needs more horseradish. It’s creamy and sweet but not nearly as spicy as I had hoped. The whole wheat brioche is a really nice touch and goes in line with my general thought on wheat always over white. The apples are sliced thinly enough as to remain a subtle taste to the sandwich. When it’s combined with the brie, you get a really tasty flavor mix. As for the patty, the taste was all char and not the juicy beef sensation im used to getting from a hamburger. The Cider Mill is an interesting attempt at a unique burger combo using a lot of light tasting toppings, none of which dominate or provide a savory taste.
The sweet potatoes, certainly worth your attention, are made like onion rings with a light breading and a juicy center. Best party of the meal were the extremely savory gravy and cheese fries. Also worth order to share with the table, Creamy and crunchy 7 cheese macaroni.
Congrats Grandma Mae, you’re Burger Famous! Click here to read about eating “hamburgs” with my other Grandma.
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST