Friendly Folk

We love making people happy
Our Humble Beginnings

Our executive chef, Natalie spent the summers of her childhood in Frankfort. Her father taught her to sail on Crystal Lake. Her career in culinary arts took her to the Rocky Mountains, where she met Nick. Together, they opened restaurants and continued to hone their craft. Their dream was to have a restaurant of their own, and Birch & Maple is the realization of that dream. Nick and Natalie are thrilled to be part of the community and passionate about Frankfort growing as a culinary destination in Northwest Michigan.

Natalie Crawford

Chef · Owner · Michigan Gravy Advocate · Cat Behavior Enthusiast

Some of Natalie’s favorite childhood memories are helping her Grandma Ruth cook dinner (instead of doing homework). Grandma Ruth was the best cook and little did Natalie know at the time, a great teacher. Her pantry was full of fresh vegetables from the garden where nothing went to waste. She loved preparing meals for the entire family in a cozy, loving environment. Natalie works hard to recreate that same experience at Birch & Maple. Natalie is a graduate of the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City, MI.

Nick Crawford

Owner · Master Schmoozer

After growing up in the midwest, Nick moved to the mountains to follow his love for the outdoors and the hospitality industry. Nick welcomes every guest into Birch & Maple as if it is his own home.

sarah garno

GM · Festival Junkie · Work Mom · Excel Mastermind

Born and raised in Michigan, Sarah graduated from Baker college with an accounting degree.  After diving head first into the world of accounting, Sarah realized that she missed her love for the hospitality industry.  When not running the floor at Birch & Maple,  you’ll find Sarah floating the river, hosting a bon fire or with her puppy Leftie.

LEAH RICE

Assistant GM · Wine Snob · Trusting Soul

Born to be in the hospitality industry, Leah will probably be your emergency contact  by the end of your encounter with her at Birch & Maple. While running the tasting room at Two Lads Winery, Leah was enjoying her first dinner at Birch & Maple when she realized that this is where she wanted to work. After a couple glasses of liquid courage, Leah struck up a conversation with Chef Natalie and the rest as they say, is history. 

Morgan Papineau

Social Media Director · Bringing Bangs Back · Wake Surfing Extraordinaire

Born and raised in Frankfort, Morgan now spends the long winter months studying marketing at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI.  You’ll find her serving at Birch & Maple or wake surfing with her dog behind her boat on Crystal Lake this summer.

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