Winery presents locally-focused small plates

·2 min read

Aug. 13—TRAVERSE CITY — Usually Spanish food comes to mind when tapas are on the menu.

Brengman Brothers, however, decided to focus on another part of the word's definition — small plates often served with drinks.

Chef Loghan Call created the new culinary program, which launched in June at the Crain Hill Vineyard. Call said the food menu is possible because the winery added a small kitchen space during the winter.

"It's definitely new in having substantial food out here," he said. "We will have a summer menu that will change with the seasons. We're trying to create a food experience that is representative of the region we're in."

Call said he "always focused on local" in his work as a private chef caterer at Planted Cuisine and during wine dinners at Brengman Brothers. He translated this to the new menu, which features produce mainly from Loma Farm and Lakeview Hill Farm. Many items are highlighted in the charcuterie trays, called "smorgasboards."

"We had healthier cuisine in mind," Call said. "There are savory small plates and munchie sides. We wanted to make it approachable for everybody, so we have tons of vegan, vegetarian and meat options."

He starts with dough from 9 Bean Rows to make the pizzas. Call said their most popular is the Italian sausage, black garlic, arugula and mushroom pie.

They also offer a margherita pizza.

"We have some crowd favorites and fun new items," Call said. "We see it as a tapas menu. We're not a full restaurant, but you can come out here and get a full meal."

Items like the lettuce wraps and cucumber salad may disappear as the weather cools. Call said they plan to "create something totally new for fall."

In addition to local and seasonal, Call said many items are made in house, including relish, butters and crackers.

Robert Brengman, who co-owns the winery with his brother Ed, said that the new culinary offerings match well with their different styles of wine. Staff members can offer suggestions for pairings, he added.

"The whole menu was chosen to complement the wine," he said. "We like the tapas menu. It really ties in well with where eating trends are going."

He explained that he and his wife often split an entree when they go out to eat. He said they wanted to give winery guests fresh, healthier dishes and reasonable portions alongside their beverages.

Brengman Brothers is open daily for lunch and dinner at 9720 S. Center Highway. The tapas menu is available from 2 p.m. to close.

Follow the winery on social media for updates, as sometimes it is closed for weddings or other private events.