Owner and creator of Simply Marcella, Michigan’s most chic custom pearl jewelry boutique, Marcella Costin is an expert at bringing dreams to life ,and with her gregarious nature and ready laugh, she welcomes you into one of her finest, The Queens Head Wine Pub.
In addition to her stint as acting Tap Master, Marcella is the official Queens Head Wine Taster.
International business man, entrepreneur, Marcella’s husband and newly anointed Adjunct Tap Mater, John Costin is always ready with an authentic English accent, an entertaining anecdote and a welcoming smile.
In addition to his duties as Adjunct Tap Mater, John is also the official Beer Taster to The Queen.
The Royal Court
Assistant Director at The Queens Head Wine Pub in Cheboygan
Mixer, shaker and cocktail maker
I create all the cocktails for the bar at The Queens Head Wine Pub – which is styled after a classic English Pub.
The cocktail trend used to be, what’s the craziest drink you can make? Then there was a retro trend for Prohibition classics. Now I think its about fresh fruit and fresh herbs, and being really well balanced. We have a number of special cocktails on our menu and we change them from time to time so as to reflect that. And guess what? Everything tastes much better when it’s fresh. My current favorite is using local strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
I came to this career in a most roundabout way. I grew up in Cheboygan and always thought I wanted to be a Juvenile Probation Officer, but I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do with my life. I have bar tended previously, but I am self – taught as a mixologist. I always experimented with new combinations and did research on the internet and then put my own spin on those I liked. I have found that the more I learn, the more there is to learn.
I am hooked on discovering the best and freshest cocktails for my customers.
I work and live in Cheboygan and I am very excited at the major developments on Main Street now that Select Level status has been secured within the National Main Street Community. We certainly have momentum and there is beginning to be a little foodie scene here now, and that’s great for the city.
My philosophy is to engage with every customer and make something special for them, if that’s what they want. What’s their favorite spirit? Do they like earthy drinks, sweet, sharp or something else? I like to create something personal for anyone who wants to experiment with my selections. Our customers are very willing to let go and put their trust in my hands, and they enjoy the education part of it – where the mixture comes from and the history behind the drink. It can be very cool .
The Queens Head is what we call a farm to table restaurant where we are really committed to, whenever possible, using local, responsible suppliers for seasonal ingredients. We carry that concept through to the bar and if we get in a batch of really good herbs, we will infuse them in a tequila, vodka, or gin.
The locally sourced thing took a while to get going in Cheboygan, but it’s getting bigger now. We have a nice farmers’ market in Cheboygan and we go to the market to buy and to bring the produce straight to The Queens Head. Customers like to know where their food comes from in the restaurant and we can now share the same information from the bar. For me, Cheboygan and our customers, it’s a win.
Kitchen Director at The Queens Head Wine Pub in Cheboygan
The talent behind the taste
There was a time before I worked at The Queens Head. Back then, I didn’t like my job. It was a dead end as far as my future was concerned. It wasn’t about cooking, which was my first love, and it didn’t feel right. I thought there must be a better place for me to show my abilities. Something had to give and it did when I joined The Queens Head Wine Pub.
I’d like to say, “I remember it all like it was yesterday,” but you know how it is when you change jobs; it becomes a blur with little sleep and incessant worrying as you learn the ways of your new employer and – as we created new recipes and complimentary dishes for The Queens Head.
I’ve always loved to cook. Even as a kid, I’d look over my parents’ shoulders as they cooked and occasionally look through their cookery books. They cooked for us every day as a family and both my parents appreciated good simple food. After I finished high school, I wanted to go to a culinary school but the need to get myself a paying job was obviously a higher priority. The love of cooking and baking came from watching my dad and it was his cooking that became my inspiration and the start of my love affair with food.
Now I am the Chef at The Queens Head Wine Pub in Cheboygan. It’s modeled on an English Pub and I have been there since it opened. I will soon be celebrating one year in the position.
At The Queens Head I help create the menu, together with the owners. I am responsible for the activity in the kitchen, in addition to sourcing the ingredients for the menu.
The Queens Head wants to be as close as possible to what we call a farm to table restaurant, so wherever possible we are committed to local sourcing from responsible suppliers for seasonal ingredients.
We have a nice farmers’ market in Cheboygan and we go there to buy and bring the produce straight to pub.
I am now specializing in a type of cuisine appropriate for The Queens Head and I have to be the master of all cooking techniques and tools to complete this. I try to stay abreast of current culinary trends to learn about and try new types of cuisines, to constantly evolve and create new things for The Queens Head, like our popular special soups and deserts.
It’s a challenge that I love. It brings out the best in me, and that means I’m enjoying what I do and that our customers are getting the very best.
The Queen's 'Hounds'
Meet our Miss Minnie Pearl! This 9 year-old Westie has been with us her entire life and has spent many (or should we say “Minnie”) hours in the Simply Marcella boutiques. Not only is Minnie Pearl a boutique dog, but she is a world traveler! She grew up in St. Clair, Michigan, but spent two and a half years of her life in Helsinki, Finland, where she learned to LOVE the snow. Winter is Minnie’s favorite season! In addition to living in Helsinki, Minnie has traveled to other countries including Holland, Canada and France where she has been seen at a wine café or two. Minnie Pearl’s favorite hobbies include boating, swimming, belly rubs and most of all, she enjoys her 8:00 pm Kong Time!
Hello Miss Marla May! This darling little Westie was adopted by the Costin family (Marcella, John and Minnie) in December of 2017. She quickly found her way to the center of their hearts. (Well, maybe not Minnie Pearl’s quite yet, but she is getting there.) Marla May was a breeder dog and had several puppies in her seven years of life. Every day is a joy for Marla! She wakes up with her tail wagging and bounces her way through the day. Marla May is beginning to enjoy traveling and a little bit of boating, but she prefers most of all to be curled up next to Marcella or John (and even Minnie)! Ask Minnie Pearl about Marla May’s morning kisses!