Tastes along Little Traverse Bay

George Hendrix, Michigan Travel Ideas contributing writer, shares how to make a solid dent in the food scene in Petoskey and neighboring Harbor Springs along Little Traverse Bay.

Get your caffeine fix

In Petoskey, Stafford’s Perry and Stafford’s Bay View Inn serve similar fare that includes sumptuous Belgian waffles, eggs Benedict and a nap-inducing French toast of cherry-swirl bread under powdered sugar and Michigan maple syrup. If you need a caffeine boost afterward, chase breakfast with an espresso drink in downtown Petoskey at Roast and Toast.

Now it’s time to shop—for food. You can stock up on a dazzling array of delicacies within a two-block downtown area. Beyond the chalet-like facade of Kilwins resides a glass-counter wonder of bonbons, brittles, truffles and other chocolate-inspired treats. This is the flagship store of the locally based company with shops in a dozen states.

Take some American Spoon goodies home for you or as gifts

Across the street, sample your way through the jams, jellies, salsas and other take-home treats at American Spoon Foods. The Cafe next door provides the chance for a second breakfast as well as lunches of smoked whitefish salad, a gourmet grilled cheese and walleye tacos. Ask for a taste of the oddly delicious peach/basil mayonnaise if it’s not on your sandwich. Oh, yes, the gelato counter features 24 homemade flavors.

Stock up on select cheeses and wines at Symons General Store

Down the street, Symons General Store & Deli boasts among the best cheese selections in the state, fresh baked breads and a huge basement wine cellar from which you’re welcome to taste. In fact, you can enjoy a glass in the pocket-size outdoor dining area between Symons and neighboring Chandler's Restaurant where, if you’re already in the mood for lunch, the entrees include a toasted cheese sandwich of cheddar, Swiss, and feta and a quesadilla with pulled chicken, grilled red onions, black beans, and pepper Jack.

If you’d rather loop around the bay to Harbor Springs for your afternoon calories, Stafford’s Pier Restaurant lunch menu includes an unusual local favorite amid a big, eclectic menu. The Big B Club Burger is a cheeseburger-club sandwich hybrid. You’ll want to add a side of sweet potato fries.

Tom's Mom's delicious Chocolate Chunk cookies

At the Pier, you’re not far from heaven, also known as Tom’s Mom’s Cookies. Oh the luck if you happen to arrive at this petite pink bakery, the last of a small chain, just as the signature chocolate chunk cookies come out of the oven.

If you’re not revisiting one of the Stafford’s restaurants for dinner, try these worthy substitutes: in the historical Bay View community, the elegant DeVol Dining Room at the Terrace Inn serves whitefish chowder, planked whitefish, and shrimp and artichoke pasta. Cider braised salmon and mustard crusted pork tenderloin are among the entrees served in the Las Vegas-fancy Sage restaurant at the Odawa Casino.

You’re going to be full! And I guarantee, you will have enjoyed every single bite.

George Hendrix is a freelance writer and former travel editor of Midwest Living magazine. From snowmobile adventures to the centennial of the Model T, George has written about Michigan for nearly 25 years.