Antoine Novotny came to Traverse City in the 1880's. Working as a lumberjack, he helped cut the timber that built the great cities of the Midwest. Along the way, he noticed something. Lots of farmers and lumberjacks. Not a lot of saloons. So he did something about it. Novotny's Saloon opened in 1886. For the next 20 years, life was good. Then came one of the most woebegone periods in the history of western civilization. Prohibition. Novotny's closed its doors soon thereafter. Eventually, the dark clouds parted. Bill Dill purchased the building and opened Dill's in 1938. In the years since, the saloon has had many incarnations, changed hands more than a few times and even endured one hell of a fire. But through it all, the mission remained the same: give people a place where they can relax, knock a few back and enjoy good American food. The Blue Tractor is here to carry on that tradition.
So what's with the name? The Blue Tractor is a tip of the hat to the original patrons of this historic site. The working folk of Traverse City who came here to put their feet up after a long, hard day's work – or even a mildly taxing one. Folks who – thanks to a miracle of modern technology, like, say a tractor – were able to carve just a few more hours out of their day to come here for food, friends and of course, beer. The name is also a salute to today's working men and women of northern Michigan who carry on this tradition. The Blue Tractor represents the often relied upon equipment that makes it possible for our farmers to provide us with the freshest local product. At Blue Tractor, we are committed to working with local producers and to putting only the finest food on our tables. Enjoy.