Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >
Jun 2, 2010 08:26 PM

Best Restaurants in Northern Michigan and UP?

Taking a trip this summer. Starting in Kalamazoo, ending up in Wisconsin via U.P. Probably spend a night in Newberry.

Looking for some great spots to stop along the way. What are the very best local spots the Northern Michigan and the UP have to offer?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Can you be more specific as to the type of places you're looking for? Any regional dishes you're hoping to try? (You'll need to try cudighi if you're going through the western UP, but I'll let others recommend where.)
    In terms of "best" overall, Traverse City has several unique dining experiences worthy of your attention. The Cook's House is probably the most foodie-centric. Very few tables, reservation recommended. Tratorria Stella also highlights local ingredients and has a truly unique atmosphere. Aerie, on the 16th floor of the Grand Traverse Resort, has stunning views and satisfying cuisine. Those would be my top three picks.
    Now, if you're looking for more casual fare (burgers, breakfasts...) I'll have to revise my suggestions. :)

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: tokyo

      Definitely looking for regional foods. We're going all the way through the U.P. to get to northwestern Wisconsin eventually.

      I've been to the Cooks' House before. LOVE IT. Considered taking a detour just to go back.

      Not really looking for fine dining...great pubs, diners, local places. I'm more of a burger and pizza guy. We do a lot of sandwiches.

      Just wondering really if there's any must hit dives along our route. The trip the the northern part of Michigan will be quick...probably just one meal, so looking for the best of the best. We're planning on staying in Newberry for one night, but that could end up being three or four meals in the U.P.

      1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

        If you're going to Tahquamenon, the brew pub in the state park by the falls had some great whitefish when we visited a few years ago. The setting is gorgeous too.

        1. re: coney with everything

          I have had a blueberry ale there that was not too bad (Just a hint of the Berry).

          I also had a Pastie that was not all that great. Too be honest I threw up early the next morning....I could only blame the Pastie, but on top of it the pasties did not have a great flavor.

          This was maybe 10 years ago....I would go back after all this time and maybe even order more food. Just not the Pasties.

          1. re: JanPrimus

            How many blueberry ales did you have, Jan????LOL...maybe it wasn't the pasty. HEE HEE HEE. The Vierling also has blueberry beer, too.

        2. re: Mid Michigan Dining

          Ah, burgers, dives... my first thought is Clyde's Drive-In, just across the bridge in St. Ignace. I haven't been there in quite some time, but they still get rave reviews, and it may be just the type of place you are looking for.

          1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

            The Vierling Saloon is reliable for fish in downtown Marquette. If you've got kids, give 'em the house-brewed root beer.

        3. If you are driving across US2 there is a bar in Gladstone called The Saloon. Really good thin crust pizza in a classic UP bar atmosphere. Nothing fancy but very good pizza.

          1. Yes, if you're in Marquette do try the fresh Whitefish at the Vierling, it's on Front Street downtown across from the Lake. If you're in the mood, the Blueberry Blue is also worth a try.

            Halfway between Munising and Marquette on M-28, I like the Brownstone Inn - it has the feel of a 1950s roadhouse, they also feature the local whitefish as well.

            For cudighi - an Italian sausage served as a sandwich or on it own, you could try it either at Vango's in Marquette - on 3rd Street - or in nearby Negaunee, at a place called Paisano's which is on Teal Lake, just off US 41.

            Brownstone Inn
            Highway 28, Au Train, MI 49806

            1 Reply
            1. re: yooperprof

              Thanks..really wanting to try a Cudighi somewhere. Only place I've ever seen one before is at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids...

              1. re: JanPrimus

                I'm not gonna lie. Somehow I found that on my own and thought about it just because it's funny....:)

                1. re: JanPrimus

                  Now the Gay Bar would really be out of your way if you were driving to Wisconsin....but I can tell you if you ever end up there, it is rumored that Ted Nugent and Max Baer (the guy that played Jethro Bodine) frequent the place while hunting. I have never seen Tedly but have seen Jethro there myself with mine own two eyes many moons ago. The best pasties in the U.P. can be found at the Suomi Bakery in Houghton, but I can't imagine you'll be that far north if you are driving to Cheeseland.

                  For dive bars, I like the Key Hole Bar in Mackinaw City. If you are looking for great Whitefish in the Taq area, the Fish House in Paradise is great. I would also suggest Lehto's Pasties right on US 2 right over the bridge - they are pretty good.

                  Key Hole Bar
                  323 W Central Ave, MacKinaw City, MI 49701

                    1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                      Didn't the place used to be called "Dick's Gay Bar" back in the day?

                    2. re: momskitchen

                      yeah but if you are going to the UP and don't head north to copper harbor and the mountains you have really just wasted your gas and missed the best part of the UP. I would suggest the Library in Houghton. Classic place great food and lovely location.

                      Clydes is great but we always called them sliders because they slide through you (not great for a long car trip). You have to stop about 20 miles out from the bridge on US2 going west at the BP gas station on the left as you are heading west and get the Jerky.... it is the best in michigan. I am not sure of the town but it is a red building with 2 pumps out front.

                      There is nothing really great from the 28/41 split when you are heading west on 28. I have a house about 30 minutes after the split and know it pretty well. I would for sure head up to copper harbor and then drive the brokaway road along the lake to get back to 28.

                  1. I was in Newberry about 15 years ago and ate lunch at the historic Newberry Hotel downtown. I don't know if it's still serving food or even standing, but they served one of the best fish fry dishes I've ever eaten: something called "fried Menomonee", which I've never heard of since and which brings up absolutely nothing in a Google search. Meaty fillets, lightly breaded. Anybody heard of this?

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

                        That's it! Fifteen years later and they changed the name but not the wallpaper in the dining room. I can't vouch for the accomodations, but the fish was the goods. If you do eat there, let me know if anyone remembers the fried Menomonee.