From our Community: What’s your Favorite Place in Michigan to get Comfort Food?

As temperatures drop, it’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with friends and family and enjoy your favorite comfort foods. From the mac and cheese at the Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen to the chicken at Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, there are plenty of places to indulge in your favorite comfort dishes across the state – including a few hidden gems.

We got some great responses over the weekend when we asked fans on our Facebook page: “What’s your favorite place in Michigan to get comfort food?” Here are some comments we wanted to share. Thanks to everyone who responded!

xochimilcos in Mexican town in Detroit.” – Alex Gurne

“Chicken Jalapeno soup at Art’s in Glen Arbor!” – Aline Levanen Gauss

“The best breakfast comfort food is at Suomi’s, in Houghton, way up in da UP. Traditional Finnish breakfast and regular breakfast foods. All. SO. GOOD.” – Olivia Zajac

RUB BBQ across from Comerica park has the best Mac n Cheese hands down.” – Jesse Cahill

Clarkston Union has awesome (gourmet) mac n cheese.” – Patrick Fetterman

“Mac and cheese from Blue Tractor in Traverse City. ♥ it!!” – Chelsea Lyn

Grand Rapids: Hopcat – Killer Mac n Cheese. Tip: add bacon and jalapenos, mmmm!” – Kevin Littlepage

“The Hilltop in L’anse. Cinnamon rolls the size of your head.” – Robert Bruce Brevitz

Central City Tap House in downtown Kalamazoo serves mac & cheese with pork belly. Can’t think of a more perfect combination! Plus vast scotch whisky menu and craft beers.” – Karel Juhl

Slow’s BBQ in Corktown, and the Mac ‘n Cheese at Zingermans Deli in A2 (Ann Arbor) can’t be beat. It’s divine!” – Colleen Smith Adkins

“Besides my own kitchen, DeLuca’s in Lansing.” – Lucy Dionise Platte

Fieldstone Grille in Portage…they have the best pot roast sandwhich!” – Jennifer Zindler

“At home; my husbands meatloaf. It must be why God made cows! And Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth for CHICKEN !!! YAY!!!” – Sarahlynn E Kelly

Dog Days Inn

Tucker poses beneath the Days Inn & Suites sign

Kath Usitalo, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, gives in to her husband’s plea and allows Tucker, the family dog, to be part of a mini getaway.

Traveling with a dog is overrated. Don’t get me wrong—we love Tucker, but his blend of Australian shepherd and terrier translates into lots of energy. His last road trip (one week with two teenagers) convinced my husband, TJ, and I that Tucker and trips just don’t mix.

With the kids in college, however, we decide to give Tucker another try—just a side trip—in what became affectionately known as our Dog Days Inn trip.

On our way home from our cottage in the Upper Peninsula, we detoured to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After researching the Grand Traverse area, we decide on the Days Inn & Suites. With the 10 percent discount from their ad in Michigan Travel Ideas, we partially recover the $15 fee for Tucker.

We park outside our door, which makes it easy to unload our gear and Tucker. It’s a standard room with simple decor. The room includes a mini fridge, microwave and safe (for Tucker’s treats?). We drop off our bags and set out to find a dog-friendly eatery.

A restaurant meal with our dog is a first for us, but many Traverse City outdoor cafes welcome pups. We sit under an umbrella at a table on the deck at Folgarelli’s, a gourmet market, and tackle fabulous, made-to-order sandwiches. Two of us (sorry, Tucker) share The Mobster, a tower of Italian meat and cheese. It’s so filling that we decide we’ll have to try the luscious smoked salmon sandwich at lunch the next day. Tucker licks a classic vanilla cone from Dairy Lodge.

Too worried about leaving Tucker alone in the hotel, we skip the indoor pool. Next time, maybe. We like the flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Did I mention the convenient dog run? Before hitting the road the next morning, we take turns walking Tucker and enjoying the complimentary breakfast bar.

To take Tucker’s mind off food, we head to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to enjoy the Sleeping Bear Dunes views. Well, TJ and I enjoy the panoramas of water and sand; Tucker barely glances up from the nearest shrub.

D.O.G. Bakery makes yogurt-frosted cookies in dozens of shapes, including the Michigan mitten.

D.O.G. Bakery makes yogurt-frosted cookies in dozens of shapes, including the Michigan mitten

After the drive, Tucker gets free samples of WoofWhomper Dog Cookies at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. While nibbling on cherry cobbler on the deck, we strike up a conversation with a couple who fall for Tucker. Of course, Tucker gives them the look hoping to score a head rub or more treats. In Traverse City, we can’t pass up the all-natural dog snacks from D.O.G. Bakery, a bright inviting shop.

All in all, we had a good weekend. We may give this Dog Days Inn thing another try; the chain has hotels throughout the state.

Kath Usitalo is a freelance magazine writer who is bi-peninsular. She is at home in the Detroit area and at her family’s Lake Michigan getaway, Blue Skies, in the UP. She travels and writes about Michigan—usually without her dog—for a variety of outlets, including Michigan Travel Ideas and her Great Lakes Gazette blog.