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The handsome Beacon Public House, in the new Commons Hotel on the U of M’s East Bank, is the latest local restaurant to glom on to the all-are-welcome gastropub idea. The menu ranges from a delicious burger (with short ribs and gorgonzola, plus superb fries) to a roquefort-crusted filet mignon, while at the bar you can order a $4 Miller Light or a $12 Chimay Triple. The bar features mostly local beers and well-chosen imports, plus surprisingly sophisticated craft cocktails. The food is big on pub grub, small plates, steak-house classics, and Midwestern meat and potatoes, but the meat and fish is extraordinarily well prepared. Out-of-towners at the Commons should be well pleased with Beacon’s offerings and gracious service, but the restaurant's challenge will be in making its food special enough for locals want to visit.
During the time they first became culturally significant and starting popping up all over Britain, public houses, later shortened simply to "pubs," were meant to be distinct from private homes and to serve as informal gathering places for... More »
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