TRAVERSE CITY – Usually Spanish cuisine comes to mind when tapas are on the menu.
Brengman Brothers, however, decided to focus on another part of defining the word – small plates often served with drinks.
Chef Loghan Call created the new culinary program, which launched in June at Crain Hill Vineyard. Call said the food menu is possible because the winery has added a small kitchen area during the winter.
“It’s definitely new to have substantial food here,” he said. “We will have a summer menu which will change with the seasons. We try to create a culinary experience representative of the region in which we are located.
Call said he “has always focused on the local” in his work as a private chef caterer at Planted Cuisine and wine dinners at Brengman Brothers. He’s translated that into the new menu, which primarily features produce from Loma Farm and Lakeview Hill Farm. Many items are showcased in charcuterie platters, known as “smorgasboards.”
“We had healthier cooking in mind,” Call said. “There are small savory plates and snack dishes. We wanted to make it accessible to everyone, so we have tons of vegan, vegetarian, and meat options.
It starts with 9 Bean Rows dough to make the pizzas. Call said their most popular is the Italian Sausage, Black Garlic, Arugula and Mushroom Pie.
They also offer margherita pizza.
“We have crowd favorites and fun new items,” Call said. “We see it as a tapas menu. We are not a full restaurant, but you can come here and have a full meal.
Items like lettuce wraps and cucumber salad may disappear as the weather gets colder. Call said they plan to “create something totally new for the fall.”
In addition to local and seasonal produce, Call said many items are made on site, including relish, butters and crackers.
Robert Brengman, who co-owns the winery with his brother Ed, said the new culinary offerings fit well with their different styles of wine. Staff members can offer suggested deals, he added.
“The whole menu was chosen to accompany the wine,” he said. “We like the tapas menu. It fits really well with changing food trends.
He explained that he and his wife often shared an entree when they went out to eat. He said they wanted to offer winery patrons fresh, healthier meals and reasonable portions alongside their drinks.
Brengman Brothers is open daily for lunch and dinner at 9720 S. Center Highway. The tapas menu is available from 2 p.m. to closing.
Follow the winery on social media for updates, as it is sometimes closed for weddings or other private events.