103 Park Ave
Charlevoix Michigan 49720United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Fantastic burgers, golden fries and creative specials make this tiny, locally minded bistro a winner.
Since opening in August 2010, this tiny cafe has relied largely on word of mouth for its marketing. That was hard at the beginning, when Charlevoix was in off-season mode, but as the weather warmed in 2011, the summer vacation crowd discovered these downright fabulous hamburgers made lovingly, by hand, from the freshest local ingredients around. The media (ahem) followed, with Roquette hosting a flurry of photo shoots by midsummer. So we're not the first to say this, but ... Roquette Burger Bistro rocks! Go! As with any great burger, it all comes down to the components. Here they are. The bun isn't baked in-house, but comes from a local supplier. Soft, but not airy, with enough chew and substance to support a lot of flavor. The patty is local grass-fed beef -- both juicy and lean -- cooked perfectly to order by the chef-owner in back. The toppings vary. Favorites include a wild mushroom burger and the traditional bread and butter burger, with house-made chunky ketchup and pickles and American cheese. (You read that right; one thing we love here is that it's not ALL froufrou.) We tried the bacon jam burger, a divine melange of arugula, brie and a sweet bacon-onion compote. It melded beautifully, with no one flavor dominating the others and just enough drips and oozes to make it fun to eat without requiring a bib. Besides burgers, Roquette Burger Bistro offers sandwiches, short rib chili and daily specials (corn bread hash and a divinely spring-y rhubarb lemonade on the day we visited). The antipasto salad is generous, with heaps of cheese, salami and fat fresh asparagus. Some people have cringed at Roquette's prices. Sodas cost $2.50, most burgers run $10, and fries are extra, so you might walk out spending upwards of $18 with tip. But it's worth it -- even those fries, which are fat, golden, flecked with salt and accompanied by house-made herb mayo. The thing is, this isn't your average burger, and it's not even your average gourmet burger. The top-quality local ingredients that make it special cost more, but that money is going right back into the local economy. It's certainly not going into the decor, which is pleasant, but hardly chic, with laminate wood tables and mismatched artwork. They don't even have a website; just an active Facebook page with a small but loyal group of fans tuned in to know what special Roquette will concoct with those amazing beets from the farmers market.