Camp Critter Bar and Grille – Traverse City
It seems like we always do it. We go hard for the first few days of vacation. We go out to nice meals. We seek out the best a town has to offer. Then, as we get near the end, we just want to eat. We want to put as little effort in to it as possible yet still get a good meal.
On our last night in Traverse City, we were sitting in our hotel room discussing dinner when I told J I didn’t care if we just ate at the resort. We could order a pizza or we could go down to the bar in the lobby and eat there. J was fine with that, so we got dressed enough to make ourselves presentable and headed downstairs.
Camp Critter Bar & Grille is the standard restaurant at the Great Wolf Lodge resorts. The restaurant is designed as a kid friendly pub that carries the lodge theme through the dining areas.
There were only one or two other families in the restaurant when we showed up for dinner at 5:30 on a Thursday night. The waitress showed us to a booth in the bar area and handed us a couple menus before taking drink orders. J ordered a Red’s Apple Ale (which the waitress called a cider….it’s not yet it’s a mistake almost everyone makes) and I ordered a Coke. I was kind of beered out even though they did have a couple of craft offerings both on tap and in bottles.
We dove right in to dinner selections when our waitress came back. As you would expect, Camp Critter has a pretty large variety on their menu. They cater to families, so they do a pretty good job of making sure there is something for everyone in the kitchen.
I ordered the Buffalo Burger. The sandwich is two 1/4lb locally raised 100% bison topped with bacon and cheddar cheese then served on a brioche bun. The burger patties looked like Wendy’s patties, but they tasted really good. I was surprised at the quality burger I was eating. To be honest, I was expecting overpriced, flavorless food, but the burger was really tasty. The use of bison that is cooked to just a hair past medium makes something different from a typical cheeseburger.
J ordered off the Family Shareables portion of the menu because she really wasn’t all that hungry and didn’t want anything super greasy. Her selection was the quesadilla. The plate was actually quite large and really would have been shareable for a family. The large flour tortillas are stuffed with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, and cheddar and jack cheeses. It’s served with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side. J ate two of the four triangles and we had intentions to save it for a later meal. The to-go box actually made it up to our room, but it was still there when the maids came in to clean after we checked out. That’s too bad because J said it was really good. It was just too much food for her at the time.
We let L pick her meal again and this time, she chose the grilled cheese. It’s a simple sandwich with American cheese grilled between two pieces of bread. It’s the kind of grilled cheese you expect and hope for from restaurants.
Both L’s sandwich and my burger came with fries. They could have used a little more salt, but they were crispy, skin-on fries that were cooked pretty well.
Our bill was just under $40 which has been pretty typical for meals on this trip. Camp Critter was really no more expensive than anyplace else we would have eaten at and the food was surprisingly good. I always assume resorts like this will go on the cheap just because they can and people will eat at them because they are convenient, but Camp Critter actually surprised me with the quality of what they offer up. It’s not the best bar food in Traverse City, but if you’re staying at the lodge, you know you will be able to get a solid meal without having venture out.