Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 5, 2012

Road Food Report: Owosso’s Wrought Iron Grill

The Wrought Iron Grill’s Bleu cheese encrusted sirloin

From patio sets to pecan chicken. Once home to the Woodard Furniture Company, a handsome, five-story brick building in the mid-Michigan city of Owosso is now the address for commercial space, residential condo lofts and detour-worthy dining at the Wrought Iron Grill.

John Lowman opened Wrought Iron Grill four years ago in the newly-renovated complex that exposes its industrial roots in the original brick walls, wood beams, open ceiling and hardwood floors.

It was pouring rain when I visited but a large group of folks looked comfortable dining outdoors on the wide, covered porch. Just inside there’s a lively bar and adjacent dining room lined with 10 high-backed booths. A second, quieter dining room offers table seating. I chose a booth, which would have been great for conversation if I’d had company (it’s not polite to converse with oneself in public, especially when your mouth is full).

The dinner menu highlights Michigan ingredients in some entrees, like Lake Superior whitefish and a Gruyere puff pastry appetizer with wild morel mushrooms. The Traverse City duck with Michigan tart cherry demi-glace was tempting ($22.99) but I settled on the Bleu cheese encrusted sirloin served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini ($17.99). Delish.

A half-dozen sandwiches, a couple of burgers, pizza and salads are lighter alternatives to the full dinners. The lunch menu has more salad and sandwich options and a smaller choice of plates, including flash fried Lake Michigan perch.

The wine list features just a few bottles from the Great Lakes State, but Michigan brews dominate the extensive beer selection, both on tap and in bottles. On the first Thursday evening of each month Rex Halfpenny of the Michigan Beer Guide conducts a beer tasting with a flat fee charged for several samples from the featured Michigan brewery. Cheers!

Wondering About Woodard?

Classic example of Woodard wrought iron furniture; learn more at the exhibit in Owosso through July 29

Between now and July 29 you can see examples of the locally-made furniture at The Worth of Woodard, a special exhibit at the Shiawassee Arts Center, located on the banks of the Shiawassee River in Owosso’s Curwood Castle Park.

Woodard Furniture dates to 1866 when brothers Lyman, Warren, William and Henry Woodard began manufacturing furnishings of wood. By the 1930s Woodard was hand-crafting wrought iron outdoor furniture that became especially popular in the 1950s and 60s and was fancied by Jackie Kennedy. Examples are in the Smithsonian and Cooper-Hewitt Museum collections.

Woodard is no longer family-owned but continues to manufacture wrought iron, aluminum and all-weather wicker furniture and accessories, much of it in Owosso.

The Worth of Woodard is on view through July 29 during regular Shiawassee Art Center hours, 1-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. Admission is free.

Related Post:

Get Festive At Curwood Castle June 7-10

Visitor Info Clicks:

Curwood Castle

Curwood Festival

Owosso/Shiawassee County

Pure Michigan

The former manufacturing building now houses the Wrought Iron Grill, loft residences and other businesses


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