Northern Michigan’s Best Places to Eat Slideshow Slideshow
July 16, 2012
Grand Traverse Pie Company (Traverse City, Mich.)
In 1996, Mike and Denise Busley founded The Grand Traverse Pie Company after feeling unfulfilled in their seemingly successful careers in San Diego. The duo had not ever made a pie, but the Busleys found a generous pie maker in San Diego who taught them the ropes and then they made their way to Northern Michigan to get started.
Now, 16 years later, the Busleys have locations all over the state, featuring Michigan-grown cherries among other produce in their pies. The menu includes many sweet pies but also savory pies, fresh sandwiches, and soups. Locals rave about The Grand Traverse Pie Companys food; even celebrity chef and part-time Michigan resident Mario Batali is a fan.
"All winter I look forward to cherry pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company," said Batali during a recent visit to Northern Michigan.
Pies and meals are less than $10.
Aerie Restaurant and Lounge (Traverse City, Mich.)
Located on the 16th floor of the tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Aerie features regional American cuisine, including as many local products as possible on its seasonally changing menu. Aerie offers upscale dishes, but a casual dining experience, along with breathtaking views of Traverse City, Grand Traverse Bay, and the resorts golf courses. Aerie also offers an expansive wine list that will fit all tastes and budgets, and a private dining room that can accommodate up to 10 guests.
Aerie is open for dinner and Sunday brunch only. Dinner starts at $25.
Cherry Bakery and Café at Cherry Republic (Glen Arbor, Mich.)
Like Cherries? Then youre in for a treat! Cherry Republic is a retail store offering all things cherry, from chocolates and barbecue sauce to peanut butters and salsas. Just across from the store is Cherry Bakery and Caf, which offers 14 flavors of cherry ice cream, fresh-baked cherry goods, and hearty meals incorporating the juicy fruit, like a grilled half chicken with Cherry Republic barbecue sauce served with cherry baked beans, Cherry Republic coleslaw, and a cherry corn muffin. Another spot of interest is the Cherry Stomp House located on the same property, which offers free tastings of its delicious cherry wines and juices. The caf and Stomp House, open April through September, are worth the stop!
Snacks and treats are less than $10.
Rick’s Café (Leland, Mich.)
Perched beside the Leland Dam, Ricks Caf serves up fresh grilled burgers, chicken sandwiches, and items from its deli with an ambiance that cant be beat. Ricks Caf offers a full bar that can meet almost any request. Its top seller? The Chubby Mary: A large bloody mary garnished with a smoked chub fish. Try arriving just before sunset; the views are phenomenal.
Drinks and meals are less than $15.
Martha’s Leelanau Table (Suttons Bay, Mich.)
Suttons Bay offers the perfect backdrop for Martha Ryans fresh and European-inspired fare, served from a renovated house situated on Main Street. Owner and chef Martha Ryan opened Marthas Leelanau Tablein 2008 after becoming tired of working for other people. Marthas Leelanau Table now has quite the following of locals and travelers alike, who come for breakfast and lunch seven days a week (in the winter, the restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays), and dinner five nights a week (Wednesday to Sunday), a full espresso bar, and pastries.
Dinners start at $20.
Hearth and Vine Café (Suttons Bay, Mich.)
With its wood-fired brick oven and cozy atmosphere, Hearth and Vine Café is the perfect place for cozying up on a cold Michigan night, or can be a cool respite in the summer. Located just across the lane from the inn and winery at Black Star Farms, Hearth and Vine allows guests to enjoy rustic pizzas, sandwiches, and salads with a glass of wine or on-site brewed hard cider. Try the Bianco pizza with Tasso ham.
Meals are less than $15.
The Cooks’ House (Traverse City, Mich.)
Yelp / LornaE
One of Mario Batalis nine favorite restaurants, The Cooks House prides itself on using ingredients almost entirely sourced locally. Opening in 2008, co-chefs Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee teamed up to create a menu that was fresh, simple, and delicious, following a field-to-plate philosophy. With only 30 seats, the tables are kitchen-side and offer a good view of the cooking of the French-inspired fare.
Meals are $25 to $50.
Siren Hall (Elk Rapids, Mich.)
With its fresh and local seafood, generous portions, and a contemporary and bright design, Siren Hall is a restaurant you dont want to miss. If youre an oyster lover, Siren Hall is proud of its broad offerings of oysters from both coasts and treats each one "like a fine wine." The restaurants philosophy is that each oyster has its own story and flavor profile; no two are the same. If oysters arent your thing, youll be able to find something on the menu from both the surf and the turf.
Dinners start at $15.
Frenchie’s Famous (Traverse City, Mich.)
Yelp / JaysonA
Located on unassuming Randolph Street, this coffeehouse and lunch caf offers up delicious sandwiches, breads, and desserts. Husband-and-wife team French and Alisa Clements have earned quite the local following for their simple, but delicious fare served in a cozy dwelling. French plays matre d, waiter, line cook, and barista, while Alisa bakes each days fresh bread, pastries, and cookies. Try the house-made pastrami or fist-sized chocolate chunk cookies.
Meals and desserts are less than $10.
Moomer’s (Traverse City, Mich.)
With 120 different ice cream flavors, Moomer’sserves up delicious homemade ice cream processed in-house with milk that comes straight from the farm. Offering 20 different flavors daily, the menu consists of everything from simple, fresh-baked waffle cones to elaborate sundaes that will feed an army. Moomer’shas enjoyed continued success and, in 2008, was voted "America's Best Scoop" on ABC's Good Morning America.