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Jun 22, 2011 05:59 PM

Food in the Upper Peninsula??

I am going to be driving in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, mostly staying along the Lake Superior shore the entire length of the U.P.. Where are good places to eat? I am looking for places with local flavor and character, good food, but fairly inexpensive ($--$$).
Any suggestions?

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    1. to eat in the U.P.

      I lived in Houghton for 7 years (undergrad and grad school at MTU) and still go there every other year or so to visit. Here are some good places to eat in Houghton and beyond:


      Suomi Bakery....It's on Huron St. They do have lots of Finnish specialties like Pannukakku, which is like a baked custard and comes with a thimbleberry sauce. Thimbleberries are like raspberries, and they are a Keweenaw specialty. They also make the best pasty in the world - better than any of the tourist traps on US 2 just over the bridge. By the way, pasty rhymes with "nasty", it is not pronounced "PAH-sty" as is sometimes suggested. If you pronounce it that way, I can guarantee the locals will think you are troll (Yooper slang for a downstater - i.e. someone that lives "under the bridge") trying to fake a Yooper accent. By the way, don't call it a "paste" y, because that's something Gypsy Rose Lee wore in her act. I like pasties with gravy or mustard, but most locals like them with ketchup on them.

      B&B Bar - it's on M26 as you are slightly west of downtown toward the Copper Country mall. This is a local dive bar, but they have the very best Yooper bar snack around - the pickled egg.

      Great hamburgers can be found at the Downtowner Bar on US41, which is called Shelden Ave in downtown Houghton, near the lift bridge. If you are there in the summer, sit on the deck and watch the bridge go up and down. Definitely the best burgers in the Keweenaw there.

      I also love the submarine sandwiches and the fishbowl cocktails at the Ambassador, which is slightly up the street from the Downtowner. The fishbowl drinks are served in brandy snifters - my favorite is the Quaalude. Be careful - they sneak up on you!

      There's a relatively new microbrewery right on Shelden called KBC or Keweenaw Brewing Company. They don't have food, just beer and peanuts in the shell, but it is really good beer.

      As you go further up the Keweenaw, definitely stop at Jampot, and get some thimbleberry jam and any of the monks baked goods. They are heavenly.

      I also love the Keweenaw Mtn. Lodge - it is a great place to have a meal or a cocktail. The food is reminiscient of an old time supper club - planked whitefish, steaks, etc. Also, great viewing atop the Keweenaw Mountain.

      In Calumet, I really like this coffee shop the Conglomerate Cafe on 5th Street. It is housed in an old bank. Great sweets!

      No tour of the Copper Country would be complete without a stop at the Gay Bar. No, it's not what you are thinking - the Gay Bar is in Gay, Michigan, which is on the east side of the Keeweenaw. When I was a college student in the 80s, you could regularly see the guy that played Jethro Bodine on the Beverly Hillbillies or Ted Nugent there, as they both used to hunt nearby. Now that Tedly's moved to Texas, I'm not sure he visits anymore.

      As you get toward Copper Harbor, I like Fitzgerald's in Eagle Harbor. You can dine overlooking Lake Superior. Also good is the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor for German food, or whitefish. It's right on Lake Superior as well, and the waitstaff will run out on the deck and welcome the boat returning from Isle Royale.

      Harbor Haus Restaurant
      57 1st St, Laurium, MI 49913

      Royale Cafe
      7770 Auburn Rd, Utica, MI 48317

      Copper Country Bar & Restaurant
      10139 US Highway 8 W, Crandon, WI 54520

      1 Reply
      1. re: momskitchen

        Before you make the trip out to Copper Harbor to Harbor Haus, make sure you check the hours.

        Harbor Haus Restaurant
        57 1st St, Laurium, MI 49913

      2. Sorry to be late. . . The most talked about place in Marquette right now is the Blackrocks "nanobrewery" - a small microbrewery - in a converted house in the older part of town. No food, but full of local flavor.

        The best view of the Lake in the summertime in Marquette is the patio at L'Attitude, right by the harbor. Food and service can be variable, but has dramatically improved since the restaurant came under new management earlier this year.

        For local whitefish and "blueberry beer", the Vierling Saloon on Front Street is very reliable and has nice atmosphere in a historic older building downtown.

        Marquette is a college town, and an unusual student favorite is the Rice Paddy, on Presque Isle Ave. close to the big wooden dome. It's a Thai take-away with great entrees and a wonderful chef lady named Aoy.

        Rice Paddy
        1720 Presque Isle Ave, Marquette, MI 49855