“From Huron Out” celebrates with ribbon-cutting, new sign, jazzed up menu and community room
The proclamation from Kelly Erickson was seemingly private, said quietly almost to herself as she respectfully approached the red ribbon and took receipt of the iconic oversized scissors.
“The end of one era – and the start of another!” With one snip, it was official! Historically “Wiltse’s” for 44 years, the newly-branded “From Huron Out” on US-41 just west of Oscoda, had a new sign, a jazzed-up menu, and an official new launch with an emphasis on space designated and intentionally promoted for community events – a place for people to gather, learn, have fun or be entertained. Perhaps all at the same time!
Once cut, the satiny ribbon fell, drifting to each side of the door and folks moved to go inside and find a seat.
It was dinner time, the crowd of about 25 family, friends, supporters and employees posing for a photo were ready depending on which camp they were in to get to work or order dinner and drinks. Time to shift from celebration to running a business. Kelly and husband Darrin were rolling up their sleeves.
With a 30-year background in the medical field, Kelly and knows how to shift gears. Darrin had a career in IT for 23 years, and was a supervisor when he left Kalitta Air to tackle the restaurant. When they bought the business Darrin asked Kelly, “If I was OK not being a nurse from here on out.” And the name was born! The couple officially opened at the end of June 2023, and it’s been a tweaking, planning, creating, pivoting game since with staffing being the biggest challenge, she said. Kelly said two priorities were to create some fresh menu options, and opportunities for people to gather, especially during winter months.
Having lived in Sicily for five years, calling New Orleans home for a time and just traveling, Kelly knows good food. She’ll be offering a “seasonal menu” every three months to change things up, featuring in-seasons vegetables and other foods. Leaning on lessons learned in New Orleans, she’s planning a Feb. 13 Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday pre-Lenten party like they do in the Big Easy, with an emphasis on red meat and drink specials. “From Huron Out” will offer Etouffee, a traditional mouth-watering Cajun/creole dish with seafood simmered in a roux sauce and served over rice. Kelly’s added to the Appetizer Menu caramelized Brussel sprouts served with bacon and a drizzle of Balsamic reduction and Craig’s Crispy Rolls named after a fellow nurse who gets credit to sharing the recipe. The dish is a trio of different eggrolls each with their own distinct dipping sauces – a flavor explosion of Asian, Southwest and New York! The latter a Reuben jammed with tasty corned beef and cabbage!
The new, will always have a foundation in the old. Wiltse’s, the oldest brewery in northern Michigan and the third oldest in all of Michigan will never fully disappear. Ericksons new sign boldly proclaims “Featuring Wiltse’s Famous Brews” and it’s a tradition she’s proud to continue.
The eatery features combined inside and out seating for 162 diners. The Banquet Room will hold another 170 and it’s there a Community Center atmosphere has been born featuring special events that are proving to be a hit with locals and visitors – like indoor markets, Comedy Night, Trivia Night, Paint & Sip, Cornhole Competitions, Line Dancing, Live Music and on the horizon – a Murder Mystery Dinner.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet people in the community and to get to know them and have fun with them,” Kelly said.
To get the full list and keep up with new postings, go to the restaurant’s face book page – “From Huron Out” or call (989) 569-3414.