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May 17, 2010 09:47 AM

Can't Miss Eats in Saugatuck & Traverse City

Hi All,

My boyfriend and I are planning on exploring Michigan this summer on a road trip--Saugatuck and Traverse City in particular. We are major foodies and like an assortment of cuisines.

I would love to find at least one or two higher end places to dine in each place (where would you go for a celebratory meal or a romantic/nice evening out?), but I'm also interested in more moderate or even cheap eat places...while still maintaining good quality meals and service.

We love Italian, New American, seafood, French, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Asian, and Latin. We have a particular fondness for seasonal cooking. We don't eat a lot of pork, so probably no pig-centric places. But otherwise we are pretty open to anything. We would love to have a variety to choose from. And if there is a great place to grab a Michigan-brewed beer and relax or the best pie in town, please include that as well.

We are planning to be traveling the week leading up to and including 4th of July (I will be crazy).

In addition, if you have any great B & Bs or inns with nice breakfasts and centrally located to downtown Traverse City or Saugatuck that you could recommend, please let me know.


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  1. For recommendations in the Saugatuck area, see this topic:

    In it, you'll see my strong recommendation and detailed report on Everyday People Cafe in Douglas. This is a wonderful restaurant, one of the best anywhere in Michigan. I've been there a couple of times since the meal I posted about and it was every bit as good as it was then. Note the caveats in my post about reservations and about credit cards.

    For recommendations in Traverse City, see these topics:

    4 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        From what I can tell at least from the Saugatuck list Everyday People Cafe, Salt of the Earth, Elbo Room (esp. for breakfast) and Mermaid Bar (for lunch) looked good. Am I missing anything else?

        Everyday People Cafe
        11 Center Street, Douglas, MI 49406

        1. re: Elyssa

          Maybe it's just me but I don't think the Mermaid Bar is all that great. It's a super location if it's a nice day and you can sit outside but as far as food in concerned, I'll stick with Phil's.
          Will you be anywhere near New Buffalo down by the Michigan/Indiana border? If so, go to AnnePierre's for the best crepes you can imagine!

          1. re: SonyBob

            Agreed. Mermaid is incredibly average other than the outdoor seating. I'd rather sit outside at Wally's.

            Phil's for sure... if only for a beer and an order of portabella fries.

      2. As mentioned before, we go every year to Saugatuck; we're fond of Marro's for dinner and Phil's for lunch. Always like to mention the Harbor Duck ride. Corny funny driver, lots of fun and good information about Saugatuck and Douglas.

        1. <"I'm also interested in more moderate or even cheap eat places...while still maintaining good quality meals and service.">
          Phil's and Marro's fall into this category. Ditto SonyBob's recommendation.

          1. First time eating at Wicks Park last night. Used to be Billie's Boathouse, across from the chain ferry. Think they've been open about 8 mos or so... I know they were at Taste and heard good things about their fish tacos from that.

            Shrimp po'boy was tasty although not a lot of shrimp. Hand cut fries were crisp and hot. One of my table mates had the chicken finger appetizer as entree. Nice chunky chicken, good looking batter and he took probably 2/3 home with him. Rave's over the turkey burger. Another friend said the carbonara is really good although the menu description sounds more alfredo-y; they offer 1/2 orders of their pasta dishes and he said a 1/2 is more than plenty for $7. Most entrees are in the $11-13 range up to maybe $23.

            The bar area is really nice.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Scott D

              Cook's House in Traverse City --- small, use only locally sourced products. No reservations. Best meal I've had this year...cozy, informal, tiny kitchen turning out just wonderful food. BYO OK-- so go to Two Lads on Old Mission and get a bottle to take. Really, this is a don't miss stop.

              Cook's House
              439 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686

              1. re: berkleybabe

                This sounds wonderful! We have been looking at Cook's House. I love your idea of BYO. Do they not have a wine list?

                Cook's House
                439 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686

                1. re: Elyssa

                  As I recall, they didn't. But there's a good wine shop close by that will help you out. Or, of course, take a trip up Old Mission and get a couple of bottles of anything by 2 Lads winery and enjoy the gorgeous view, too.

            2. NYTimes travel issue has a lovely story about Petoskey and environs with some food and lodging recommendations


              Now that I've read this, I want to go Up North RIGHT NOW.

              2 Replies
              1. re: coney with everything

                Wow, *great* article! McLean & Eakin is every bit as enjoyable as it sounds (and I find the used bookstore/bus stop down the road equally as much fun. It's called 'The Book Stop')
                Speaking of pie... Crooked Tree Breadworks has some nice varieties. I haven't stopped in a couple of years, but House of Pies (outside of Petoskey in Oden) has always had a great selection of homemade pies as well. These would be worth seeking out rather than settling for Grand Traverse Pie Company's frozen, flavorless pies. Now, where to find the best pie in Traverese City...

                1. re: tokyo

                  Yes...where does one find the best pie in Traverse City?