By Kimberly Bone
Artisan Urban Bistro, located in the historic Graebner Building in Old Town Saginaw, is a neighborhood gathering place that focuses on delicious, high-quality food soured from fresh, local ingredients, on a menu that rotates seasonally
“We opened Artisan Urban Bistro because we wanted to bring the type of dining experiences that we’ve had and loved in our travels through Europe to Old Town Saginaw,” said owner Donna Branch said, of her newest entrepreneurial venture with her husband Larsen Cottrell. “We wanted to open a restaurant that we couldn’t wait to eat at, and with our Executive Chef Brad Valley’s help, we’ve done just that.”
The bistro itself features an open-concept kitchen, so guests can watch the chef prepare their food while enjoying a decidedly Old World feel – with hand-painted plaster walls and an original fresco painted by local artist Jim Perkins. The restaurant feels cozy and intimate and gives guests the impression of being away from it all, inside a European village.
“Our focus from the beginning was to offer the best possible quality food and consistency of flavors to our guests,” said Branch. “Chef Brad has created awesome menus for us, and absolutely everything is made fresh and in-house. We work with local vendor Farm, Field, Table for our meats, and our honey, lettuce and herbs come from Razzberry Ridge Farms, and we think you can really taste the difference in the freshness and quality of our food.”
For the fall menu, Valley is cooking up hearty comfort foods that warm the body and soul. Be sure to try their heritage bone-in pork chop, braised in lavender and honey. The chop is pan seared in house-made butter and served with morel mushrooms and a Brussels sprout risotto.Or sink your teeth into a French classic – coq au vin. Fresh chicken is poached in Michigan blueberries and a red wine brandy sauce and served with a pistachio rice pilaf and rainbow carrots – it’s a truly unique, local flair to the classic dish. All entrees include a house salad and house-made bread and butter.
Also, always on menu is handmade Naples-style pizza, crafted using Italian flour, and topped with house-made sauce and fresh mozzarella. For dessert, crack open a yummy chocolate shell to reveal their decadent flourless chocolate torte.
“We keep our menu on the smaller side so we can truly focus on the best ingredients and highest quality foods for our guests. We have been so excited to be a part of the revitalization of Old Town and look forward to being here to witness its growth and changes going forward,” Branch explained. “We hope we will become your favorite neighborhood bistro.”
Artisan Urban Bistro, 417 Hancock St., Saginaw, MI, 989-401-6019, www.artisanurbanbistro.com, Hours: Lunch: Tuesday – Friday (noon – 3 p.m.) Dinner: Tuesday – Thursday (5 – 8 p.m.) Friday – Saturday (5 – 9 p.m.), Closed Sunday and Monday.