Mackinac Island – Sushi?

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Sushi Grand
Photography courtesy Grand Hotel

WHEN THE POPULARITY of sushi has made it the “steakhouse of the day,” according to Grand Hotel President R.D. (Dan) Musser III, you just may want to open a sushi house. And Musser, who loves sushi, did just that on the island better known for whitefish, Victorian traditions and fudge than trendy takeout.

“We’re talking all gold-painted walls with hand-painted bamboo. The stone floor looks like a wading pool, and when you look up, you see a map of Asia on the ceiling. You know you’re in a pretty unique place, and that’s before you even get to looking at the menu.”
— Ken Hayward

A space that once served fudge at the base of a hill leading up to the Mackinac Island hotel, Sushi Grand has since summer 2016 presented guests with future island classics like Bento boxes, chicken katsu, California rolls and saki. Executive chefs — who run six off-site island restaurants in addition to the hotel’s formal dining room — recruited sushi makers from around the world and had them add island touches, like flowers fresh-picked from Grand Hotel gardens.

Sushi
Photography courtesy Grand Hotel

New York designer Carleton Varney also spun the same whimsical magic he created in colorful hotel guest spaces, one reason that eating-in became more popular than takeout,  said Ken Hayward, the Grand’s executive vice president and managing director. Popular cocktail pairings, like the watermelon mojito, passed through from the hotel-owned Jockey Club, likely contributed, too.

“He has a flair for the dramatic when he gets into any space,” Hayward said of Varney. “We’re talking all gold-painted walls with hand-painted bamboo. The stone floor looks like a wading pool, and when you look up, you see a map of Asia on the ceiling. You know you’re in a pretty unique place, and that’s before you even get to looking at the menu.”

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