When locals want to get out of the rut of burgers, fish sandwiches and pizza, the fresh flavors of a Mediterranean menu is an attractive draw. Add a friendly owner, who remembers most regulars by order, and a bright orange building acting as a beacon through the white and gray winter, and you have Mim’s Mediterranean Grill.
Owner Brett Brinkel has been giving the business his all after taking ownership from his parents in 2015.
Brinkel has a 4 point-system for his business’s success: 1-Cook the meals to order; 2-A quick serve time frame; 3-Reasonable prices; 4-Fun and friendly service
“This plan gets the customer to come back again and again,” he said.
With a self-described “passion for service,” Brinkel says seeing people and knowing they’re enjoying it, gives him “a tremendous level of fulfillment.”
Brinkel’s plan and enthusiasm spreads to employees as well.
Rheann Bontrager, who’s worked at Mim’s since 2014, says, “He has the bar set pretty high,” and she and the rest of the staff “feel the pressure to live up to it.”
“He’s just got such a great way with people,” she says. “Every year (business) has gotten better and it’s a testament to him.”
Brinkel’s reputation has opened up doors for him outside the restaurant as well, including teaching a cooking class with his wife, Lauren, at Fustini’s this winter and opening a food trailer at The Backlot this summer.
The cooking class is a sequel to the class offered last year by Fustini’s, which sold out. Brinkel says people told him they weren’t able to get in to it so they are going to offer it again showing students how to make A Mediterranean Plate, which is offered at the restaurant, and includes falafel, tabbouleh, grape leaves, pita bread and hummus.
Brinkel’s enthusiasm for Mim’s expansion to downtown Petoskey is evident. The opportunity fell into his lap while hanging out at The Backlot having a beer with his wife and dogs. The owner, David Meikle, asked if he would be interested in bringing Mim’s into the mix with a food trailer offering Mim’s food with the same customer service but for the downtown crowd.
“This will allow for different people to eat our food,” he said. “It will be very casual, fun and friendly, same as the atmosphere here.”
They will focus on made-to-order still with the same wholesome ingredients. Brinkel thinks downtown Petoskey needs that.
Even though he’ll be splitting his time between both businesses this summer, his signature service will be available at both.
“I feel blessed and excited,” said Brinkel about expanding the Mim’s brand and reaching a whole new clientele.
“Mim’s is for everyone,” agrees Bontrager, adding to the sentiment.
Mim’s Mediterranean Grill
1823 North U.S. 31, Petoskey
Written By Story and Photos by Molly Hauxwell Currier