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North Central Michigan suggestions?

We're headed to a dog show in Frankenmuth, MI for the entire week. Any good eats in the area? It's north of Flint, south of Saginaw, but either of those might be close enough to trek to if there's something not to miss.

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  1. The hotels in Frankenmuth are known for their family style chicken dinners.

    If you like wild game meats, consider the Clio Country Club. Dixie Dave
    shuttered his restaurant and relocated his operation to the country club:


    1. The two main chicken restaurants in Frankenmuth are the Bavarian Inn and Zehnders. They are across the street from each other and have similar offerings. I suggest dining at one at the beginning of your stay and the other one at the end of your stay. There is a casual Italian/pizza restaurant on the north end of Frankenmuth. Nearby Birch Run has a major outlet mall with several restaurants. Tony's, also in Birch Run at the I-75 exit, is supposed to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with shooting scheduled for this summer. In Flint, Italia Gardens, on Miller Road, and Ruggero's, Linden Road at Corunna Road, have good reputations for Italian. Luigi's, a bar/restaurant on Davison Road on the east side of Flint, has great thin crust pizza. Angelo's Coney Island at Davison and Franklin in Flint, serves authentic Flint-style coney island hot dogs featuring meat sauce over a Koegel vienna.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GaryatMSU

        Personally, I have never been a fan of Tony's. I do, however, love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I am surprised they would choose Tony's. In my opinion the food just isn't that great. Sure, they are famous for their huge portions, but a huge portion of average food just isn't that appealing.

        Like many others I have fond memories of Bavarian Inn. I would go to one of them during your stay. I believe the food is the same at both of them so no need to do them both. Beware of long lines on the weekend.

      2. The chicken dinner places are worth trying--at one time they were two of the ten busiest restaurants in the U.S. Bavarian Inn is more German than Zehnders. There's a great German sausage shop called Willi's along the main drag. I believe they will grill up a sausage of your choice and serve it to you with a roll (which is how Germans eat it); you could also do very well grilling it in a park. Flint and Saginaw are not great food towns, but try the Big Eazy in Flint for New Orleans cuisine. Used to go to a Mexican place in Saginaw called El Farolito years ago, but I have no idea whether it's still there or still good.

        1. I'm from MI originally, now in FL, but grew up in Dearborn/Detroit and then a second home in N MI. Frankenmuth is a fun experience. I agree that the Flint Saginaw area is probably not known for fine cuisine but the two German places for chicken are well known. I ate there many times growing up as we passed by it every weekend as we traveled to our second home for weekends and summers. Many chicken dinners. It is casual and not fine cuisine by any means, but they do make some awesome chicken and it is packed always and worth going. I can't guarantee Bavarian Inn was the one I ate in but it sounds familiar but I am sure it hasn't changed much since I was there.

          I can't offer other suggestions but I agree with the Bavarian or other restaurant in Frankenmuth just for the experience which I remember was fun and unique.

          I hope you enjoy your stay.

          1. North Central Michigan? That is South East.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KansasTravel

              True, I was just responding to the two posts above Jim and Gary. That is all didn't know if you would be driving through or not

            2. I'll echo what the others have said with one exception. If you are not from this area or do not have some fond childhood memory of the chicken you may be disapointed and
              leave thinking Michiganders have lost it. When I wind up at Zehnders or the Bavarian Inn I rarely get the chicken. The ethnic dishes are much better. In addition to the sausage shop Jim mentioned which will be on your left as you enter from the South side of town there is another one worthy of mentioning on the North side (also on the left as you drive North). Regrettably I can not recall the name of that shop. They have a massive grinder out front. I'll attach a photo. Don't miss stopping in Bronner's if you have never been there before.
              Flint is a culinary waste land.

              11 Replies
                  1. re: Fritter

                    I think folks with fond childhood memories of the chicken here ARE MORE LIKELY to be disappointed with them today. At least that is my experience and I have heard the same from others.

                    I not sure how much of it is our palates becoming educated and how much is the restaurant changing.

                    1. re: Fritter

                      > Flint is a culinary waste land.

                      Ouch. There have been several good suggestions
                      re: Flint. Ruggero's is my favorite place for lasagna.
                      (Order the "Italian" lasagna, not the "regular.")

                      Bill Thomas' Halo Burger is a spin-off from the
                      Kewpie Burger chain. It's not Jaws nor the Red
                      Coats ... but it scratches an itch.

                      1. re: rainsux

                        If I never have to go to Flint again it will be too soon! However I agree about Halo burger and the good news for the OP is that if you get off I-75 at the Birch Run Exit and turn East (Which IMO is the best way to get to Frankenmuth from I-75) then there is a Halo burger right by the exit.
                        There's a Calphalon outlet at the birch run outlet mall if you need any pots called The Chef's Outlet.

                        1. re: rainsux

                          I had no idea, although it makes sense with the olives on the burgers. If you're limited to fast food due to the company you're keeping, budget, etc. you're won't find a better burger.

                          1. re: Fibber McGee

                            A cheeseburger deluxe with olives, no mayo. My standard order at Halo Burger in my teen years growing up in Flint. Haven't had one in decades and not even sure I could eat one now, but loved them then!

                            1. re: grouper

                              I had a girlfriend who could sing the Halo Burger jingle . . . the one in downtown Flint is a little-known piece of classic fast-food architecture, although I wouldn't go in there carrying anything expensive.

                        2. re: Fritter

                          Point well made, some of the others dishes are better, but they are known for the chicken, but yes, some good other dishes.

                          Just enjoy the experience and have fun.

                          1. re: Fritter

                            Flint has some good 24 hour coney island restaurants. One is close to the airport: Capitol Coney Island Family Restaurant .

                          2. Here's the photo I was looking for.