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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Piedmont: Old-world appeal

— Rustic Italian eatery enters downtown lineup —

Within the last 10 years, the Marquette food scene has undergone multiple metamorphoses. It seems to happen quickly around here. The good restaurants stick around, while the bad ones are gone before you’ve even paid the check.

Enter Piedmont, a freshly redesigned eatery that opened earlier this summer in The Landmark Inn as a replacement for the old Capers, which went the way of the dodo after the hotel was purchased by Minneapolis based Graves Hospitality. Billed as inventive and rustic northern Italian fare, the new space was designed to reflect the style of the region for which it is named.

Dark green paint accented with heavy drapes, candelabras fashioned from animal horns and a large taxidermied boar’s head grace the walls.

Piedmont’s wine list features a Mediterranean-centric lineup of reds and whites, neither of which I tried on my visit. I instead opted for their cocktail menu, ordering what they call an “Aperol fizz,” named for its primary ingredient, the bitter orange liqueur commonly enjoyed as an aperitif throughout Europe. Combined with soda and an orange wedge, the drink was well-mixed and made for a refreshing way to cool off after a very hot day.

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Prices are on the steep side, with cocktails in the $8-9 range. If you’re on a budget, stick to beer or the house wine, which comes out to around $5 a glass.

Beyond libations, the dinner menu features inventive appetizers, grilled entrées and a wide range of pastas tossed with exotic accoutrements like rabbit and orange zest.

Also on the menu are authentically-crafted pizzas ranging from the old world classic margherita, which is topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil, to pizza funghi, which features a scintillating variety of fresh mushrooms. All of their pizzas are fired in a brick oven, placed prominently behind the bar so patrons can observe.

I visited Piedmont for dinner twice, each time in a group so we could all try a little bit of everything. On our first visit, we ordered the chicken marsala—a classic dish with many interpretations. It arrived as a moist, generous portion of chicken breast served over mushrooms and egg noodles in a creamy marsala wine sauce. It was flavorful and rich as a marsala should be, but we all agreed it was a bit too salty.

The next dish was Piedmont’s tagliatelle with tomato braised lamb, olive and orange. This dish was impeccably presented, but decidedly lackluster, as the first few bites of lamb were misleadingly tender, with the rest being tough and lacking in flavor—not what I expected from a braise. The two other ingredients did little to help the dish except provide a bit of saltiness and bitterness from the orange.

The porchetta, on the other hand, was delightful. My only gripe is that it seemed disproportionate in size to the other two dishes. It was presented as a tender pork loin wrapped around a minced stuffing of garlic, rosemary, fennel and other herbs. The pork was served on a bed of creamy polenta with olive oil, with a generous side of fried green and red peppers. If the tagliatelle was bland, this dish was its polar opposite. The fresh herbs really give this dish great flavor, and we all enjoyed it.

Each night after 9 p.m., Piedmont enters happy hour. Personal-sized brick oven pizzas are only $5, and their entire beer list drops to $3 for bottle or draft. The focus of my second visit was to try the pizza, with all those interesting toppings. We settled on the margherita pizza.

The toppings were tasty enough, but they added extra moisture, which didn’t combine well with an undercooked crust on the bottom. A little more time in the brick oven would do the trick here.

All in all, Piedmont is operated by a hotel with multiple dining venues, which might make for some confusion in the kitchen. But it has great potential and could soon be one of the most attractive dining options in Marquette. Their service is friendly and attentive, and their location is lovely, though you may have to find alternative parking if the hotel lot is full.

Their prices are generally reasonable, especially during happy hour, though my $17 pasta dish left much to be desired. For this Piedmont earns a respectable three-and-a-half out of five stars.

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