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Traverse City Natives Plan Casual Restaurant, Bar; Local Foods Focus

TRAVERSE CITY, MI., MAY 3, 2006 – Traverse City natives Jon Carlson and Greg and Marty Lobdell have purchased the former Dill's restaurant in Old Towne Traverse City. The new owners will reopen under the name "Blue Tractor Cook Shop," a bar and restaurant featuring comfort foods and retro beers.

The group, which redevelops historic properties throughout Michigan, is beginning renovations of the property this week and expects Blue Tractor to open in June.

Former Dill's owner Barry Boone closed the Traverse City institution's doors in 2004. 2Mission purchased Dill's from Northwestern Bank following bankruptcy proceedings.

Mr. Carlson and the Lobdell brothers are natives of Traverse City. They grew up on Old Mission Peninsula.

Blue Tractor will be an updated version of the classic American Road House, with a subtle salute to the working class men and women of northern Michigan. The menu will include several items made from locally-grown products and produce. The new owners said they will also honor the Dill's tradition of the Friday Night Fish Fry, and will incorporate outdoor patio seating along Union Street.

Commenting on the purchase, Mr. Carlson said, "This is a legendary property that we are delighted to be taking over. Greg and I have such fond memories of Dill's that it is really out of respect that we elected to change the name. Dill's simply cannot be recreated, but we hope to start an exciting, new tradition in Old Towne with Blue Tractor."

Greg Lobdell added, "This will be a place where folks will want to come after work for a beer and a burger or for an excellent, affordable lunch. We're building a place that's going to be comfortable, familiar, and fun."

Local farmers interested in selling their produce to Blue Tractor should email them here.
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