Traverse City Record Eagle | Green House Cafe stays in family

Traverse City Record Eagle | Green House Cafe stays in family

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(Husband and wife continue parent’s restaurant)

TRAVERSE CITY — The Green House Café is one restaurant that locals know and tourists often discover when they visit downtown Traverse City during the summer.

Wally and Joy Green owned the business for 16 years before their son Andrew and his wife Danielle Wichern purchased it in September 2015. Wally continues to help out at the café.

“We decided to offer them the opportunity to retire,” Andrew said.

Though Andrew grew up in the restaurant world, he said he was not really involved as a child. When he was 19, he got involved in the car business, which he still does today in between time at the Green House Café.

“I’m there all day, every day,” he said. “There was a lot to learn. It was a complete 180 from when I was young.”

Andrew remembers many regular customers expressing their nervousness in the early days of his ownership because they did not know if the menu would change.

“We decided we weren’t going to change anything,” he said. “It’s still successful.”

Danielle agreed that the food is good and said the reuben sandwich — created with homemade cherry sauerkraut — and the homemade baked French onion soup are the most popular orders at the café.

“I buy as much fresh, local food as much as possible,” she said. “We also have a huge gluten free alternative.”

Danielle, a stay-at-home mom of a 5- and 7-year-old, works in the restaurant twice a week in the summer and daily during the off season. She said this was all new to her, but it has been a great experience so far.

“We wanted to spend more time with family and have a fun family legacy to pass on to our kids,” she said. “We have great employees who are long term and loyal.”

Both Andrew and Danielle mentioned Chad Hall, a server who has worked at the café since it opened. Hall has received first place in the Red Hot 100 Best Server in Northern Michigan contest for the last three years.

Andrew said the team helped make their transition smooth.

“We couldn’t have done it without this great group of people,” he said. “We wanted to continue great food, great service and we’re committed to a healthy balance in life.”

Danielle said she hopes to do more with social media and eventually expand the restaurant.

“We’d like to expand every avenue here and possible down the road open a new location,” she said. “We want to do little things and hopefully grow.”

The Green House Café is located at 115 E. Front St. They are open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. Contact 231-929-7687 or visit to learn more.

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