Whether you’re going on a weekend getaway with your significant other or a two-week-long vacation with your extended family, Northern Michigan offers all the food choices you could possibly dream of. Its unique restaurants, shops, and one-of-a-kind meals only add to the beautiful waters and breathtaking sunsets that define the area. If you’re looking to improve your stay, check out these restaurants and stores to sample Northern Michigan’s finest fruits, meals, and desserts.
Why they’re unique: Traverse City, MI is known as the cherry capitol of the world, and for good reason, too. In addition to restaurants and ice cream shops offering a multitude of cherry options on their menus, stores such as Cherry Republic sell every imaginable combination of cherries. From cherry jam to barbecue sauce to wine to pretzels, they’ve got you covered. If the high prices of their products are a turn-off, you can still get your money’s worth with the plethora of free samples.
Why they’re unique: Originally made in the U.P., you can find pasties at Traverse City’s own Cousin Jenny’s if you don’t want to make the drive to Mackinac Island. Pasties are a bread crust stuffed with your choice of meats and/or vegetables (like a calzone, but better). Cousin Jenny’s offers different flavors depending on the day of the week, including Italian, Veggie, and Steak n’ Cheddar. Other local restaurants such as Grand Traverse Pie Company are now offering pasties on their menu as well.
Why they’re unique: Whitefish is locally produced directly from Lake Michigan, so you’re guaranteed to find it fresh no matter which restaurant you visit. You can order whitefish practically anywhere in Northern Michigan, but Port City and Scalawags specialize in whitefish dishes if you’re looking for the full experience. To add some pizazz to your entrée, order your whitefish in a basket complete with fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies, tartar sauce, and lemon.
Local Ice Cream
Why it’s unique: Stand-alone ice cream shops are present in nearly every beach town, and nothing is better than a satisfyingly cold ice cream cone after a sweltering day at the beach. Northern Michigan’s ice cream embraces the nature of the cherry capitol with flavors such as Grand Traverse Bay Cherry Fudge and Michigan Deer Traxx. Michigan-based ice cream producers such as Moomers and Hudsonville supply many of these local shops with their unique flavors, all of which are worth a try.
Why it’s unique: Fudge may be found across America, but watching workers make this dessert before your eyes is an experience you won’t find elsewhere. Doug Murdick’s and Kilwin’s are the two main fudge shops of the area, each featuring homemade fudge along with a variety of other chocolates. The fudge is a little pricey, but will fill you up. If you’re undecided on what flavor to purchase, go for the Vanilla Chocolate Chip at Doug Murdick’s or the Mud Fudge at Kilwin’s.