On the shores of Grand Lake, Sand Bay Trading Post Co. grocery and Woody’s Grand Lake restaurant are a labor of love for owners Gary Plankell and Todd Chase. When I first met them about four years ago, this project seemed daunting. Even then, it took so much work to get a restaurant and local grocery up and running. However, these two were never disheartened or discouraged (that they let on, anyway). And their passion is shining through in the community’s embrace of this local cornerstone. Review after review gushes about their outstanding service, gorgeous decor and amazing ambience with views of Grand Lake, homemade dressings and signature fresh cocktails, a superb Michigan beer and wine selection, dockside ice cream service, huge and delicious deli sandwiches, and souvenirs of the area in the grocery/gift shop.
According to frequent customer Erica Hainstock, “They have a few lovely cocktails and nice beers, including their Mojito made with muddled mint and fresh squeezes of lime. And their truffle mushroom pizza is like a dream, delicious, warm fresh baked flatbread with creamy white sauce, bits of mushrooms, and rich truffle oil…all in a gorgeous establishment.”
The owners and staff take great pride in the business and their love of the community is evident.
Sandra Braman, a Posen resident, wrote, “Their food is excellent, and they have a lot of items that most places around here don’t have. The service is always impeccable. I love that I can get most of my basic groceries at Sand Bay, especially in winter when I don’t want to drive so far. During this pandemic, they’ve been a life saver. They’ve had things the bigger stores just didn’t have in stock. Everyone is so friendly and so helpful.”
The restaurant, grocery and deli are located at 14313 E Hwy 638, in Presque Isle near Alpena, on Grand Lake. The restaurant is currently only open for pick up. The store is open 7 days a week from 8am-8pm. You can follow them on their Facebook page to see daily specials and updates.
Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for northeast Michigan. She enjoys reading with her eight year old, planting and hiking in the dirt, cooking up her own recipes, drinking farmhouse cider, and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). She owns and operates Presque Isle Farm with her family. Contact her at [email protected].