Saginaw Area Restaurants
I posted earlier when we thought we'd be staying in Flint. That's not how things turned out. We'll be staying at the Springhill Suites in Saginaw, the last week of July. We looking for restaurant suggestions in the Saginaw area, not just Saginaw itself. We're driving from PA, so we have a car. We're willing to drive 30-40 minutes (maybe more) for some good meals. We need suggestions for B/L/D. About the only thing we don't like is Indian food and we'd like to keep the bill under $100 for dinner, including 1 glass of wine. Good BYO's are also something we enjoy.
Frankenmuth is a 15-minute drive from Saginaw. Sort of a town as German theme park. What's interesting is that the German settlers there were not Bavarians at all but Swabians--the look of the place is completely a marketing decision. However, two of the busiest restaurants in the U.S. are there--Zehnder's (chicken dinners) and Bavarian Inn (more German). Nothing spectacular, but fresh old-fashioned Midwestern food. For sausages to grill (something like 100 kinds), hit Willi's Sausage Haus.
North of town, between Bay City and Standish, there's a big store--not restaurant--with signs on the freeway advertising Pinconning cheese. I think it's called the Pinconning Cheese Co. It always seemed like a tourist trap to me, so I never stopped. But recently somebody brought me some smoked whitefish from there, and it was exceptionally good. They also have other smoked fish, including trout and chubs. You can make a spread with cream cheese (which they also sell) or just eat it on crackers--this is probably something you can't get in PA.
In Saginaw itself, good luck.
re: Jim M
If the store you are talking about is right on the Pinconning exit next to McDonalds I don't suggest that store unless your very pressed for time. Their prices are through the roof at least for cheese.
Williams is acually a bit closer (just North of Linwood) and the prices are far better. No smoked fish though so if the OP wanted to drive up I-75 and get off at the Pinconning exit they could drive East to Pinconning and then South to Linwood. After you leave Williams head South and there is another road that will take you right back to I-75. Easy loop and a few cheese shops.
If you exit at Pinconning and go west just over the bridge is another gas station with a small party store next to it. Some times they have smoked goodies as well.
Head down to Flint to the Redwood Lodge.
BYO in Michigan is pretty much non-existent.
There might be a nice place in Chesaning for dinner, but I do not recall the name. Maybe someone will chime in.
Regarding Frankenmuth - pass on the chicken dinners and order something German. Unless you really like fired chicken - then go for it
About 20 minutes north-ish of Saginaw is Midland. In Midland I would recommend Cafe American for lunch - very creative salads and good soups. Genjis is a Japanese hibachi restaurant - not especially creative, but a change of pace from what you will find in mid-Michigan. They also have sushi. In downtown Midland (a small mainstreet downtown) there is a new "upscale" restaurant called the Table Restaurant - its new since I moved away, but my "chow-ish" friends like it. Omelet's and More is good for breakfast (also on Main Street) . Finally, in the middle of nowhere (Willard, MI) is a place called Shari's - its the "special occasion" place to go. Hopefully that helps.
About 20 minutes north of Saginaw is a dirt cheap little place that I have a great affinity for: the Turkey Roost in Kawkawlin. It's probably the pinkest restaurant you'll ever see, and when you do see it, you'll start wondering to yourself why you *ever* listened to this schmuck on CH. Do yourself a favor and get over it...great turkey dinners at dirt cheap prices!
Not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, but I honestly can't imagine driving by this area on I-75 and *not* stopping for a meal. It's still there, it hasn't changed, there's no atmosphere that wouldn't make you laugh...but the food is certainly enjoyable to me. I feel no shame in recommending it here, but every time I see the place, I wonder "What are they thinking?"
They're thinking that as long as they get the most important thing right (the food), they'll be fine. They're absolutely right. I'm a fan, and I strongly believe that I always will be.