restaurants Michigan thumb
if you are up in the top of the thumb, try "the farm" which is about five miles south of port austin. it is owned by jeff gabriel who is a c.i.a. trained certified master chef. probably the nicest place in the region. not sure if he still does this, but at one time chef gabriel instructed the baking portion of schoolcrafts culinary baking and pastery arts program.
This is a plain part of the world where naming a restaurant the Poverty Nook (was on M-53 last I looked) was considered a good marketing decision. That said, Bush's in Lexington, right on M-25 near the Lake Huron shore, is a decent small-town Michigan place. On the western side of the Thumb I'd go on over to Frankenmuth. The big chicken places (Zehnder's and Bavarian Inn) have fresh food by virtue of sheer turnover, but the most distinctive place in town is the authentically German Deutschen Eck at the northern end of the main drag.
The resort town that would have outdoor-seating places is Harbor Beach, but I don't know it well.
Unusual Thumb attraction: the Sanilac Petroglyph, a big rock slab with Native American inscriptions of unknown origin. If you like mysterious places, this is one.