Eat Your Way Through Eastern Michigan: 21 Stops on a Foodie Adventure

March is Michigan Food and Agriculture Month! Many travelers are trekking across the state for what they call “Foodie Adventures.” They’re vacations that revolve around great food finds. From classic comfort foods to fresh Michigan produce, your taste buds won’t be disappointed with the culinary delights of Pure Michigan. We put together this list of just a few fantastic places to eat when you’re on the road on the east side of the state. Enjoy! 

Shores of Eastern Michigan

The air is fragrant with fresh breezes and scents of coffee houses, bakeries and award-winning restaurants, all tempting to a passerby.

shores of eastern mi

  1. The shores of Eastern Michigan have delectable food you just have to try for yourself. Start your journey with fresh fish and seafood at(1)Marine City Fish Company Smoke House & Eatery or (2)River Crab.
  2. Go grab some drinks and sample multiple Michigan craft beers at the (3)ThumbCoast Brewing Company.
  3. No day is complete without dessert, make sure to stop at (4)The Atrium Cafe & Ice Cream Parlour, which has been described by its guests as the most elegant and whimsical restaurant they have experienced.
  4. If you don’t have time to sit down, spend some time browsing a unique gift shop, (5)Weekends, with delectable gourmet foods.
  5. Have a mid-day brunch at (6)The Raven Café to enjoy the food and drinks in a unique café atmosphere.
  6. (7)Vintage Tavern, a treasure discovered, with a decor of fine wood, brick and tin ceilings, located in downtown Port Huron, the hot spot to dine or just enjoy your surroundings with a flight of wines.
  7. Cider mills are an exclusive Michigan attraction that everyone should experience, stop at the (8)McCallum Orchard.
  8. Don’t forget to venture to the Lexington Fire Hall to experience the “Think Globally, Drive Locally” movement at the (9)Lexington Brewing Company & Wine House.
  9. Port Sanilac and surrounding areas can expect nothing but a new and wonderful dining experience in a beautiful waterfront setting; (10)Uri’s Landing has to offer.
  10. (11)The Farm Restaurant’s love for cooking, and a great atmosphere for dining makes this restaurant a truly enjoyable destination to gather with your family and your food-loving friends.
  11. Lastly, check out the (12)Port Austin Farmer’s Market with over 150 vendors.

East Central Michigan & Through the Thumb

Driving through east central and the thumb of Michigan, you will stumble upon many hidden culinary destinations that the locals find to be great treasures. The scenery will captivate you as much as the amazing food.

Thumb

  1. Sample wine made from 16 acres of premium wine grapes at (1)Blue Water Winery & Vineyard.
  2. Delight your taste buds with so many bakery items you won’t know where to start at (2)Bake Krazy Bake Shop.
  3. If you want the freshest food, (5)Main Street Café & Bakery creates their food from scratch daily.
  4. Do you love blueberries? If so, (6)Russell’s Blueberry Farm & Nursery have ten different varieties of blueberries you have to try.
  5. Everyone has heard of (7)Zehnder’s Restaurant in Frankenmuth and for good reason.
  6. Or pick out your own food to create a delicious home cooked meal at (8)Montrose Orchards and (9)Flint Farmers’ Market.

 Eastern Upper Peninsula

It is time to take your taste buds on an adventure through the Upper Peninsula. You will find fresh fish from the Great Lakes, meals that fill your belly, wine and beer unique to the north, cranberry farms and local farmers markets.

UP

  1. Start your experience at (1)The Driftwood Restaurant & Sports Bar, one look at the menu and you won’t know where to start. With a delicious variety of Whitefish to their homemade soups, you have to have a taste of everything.
  2. If you want to pair your dinner with a unique drink try Threefold Vine Winery or (4)Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub.
  3. We all love a home cooked meal and some comfort food. (2)Galley Restaurant & Bar or (6)Sydney’s Family Restaurant are both a must stop to get some of your favorites.
  4. If you want to experience some of the freshest, local food grown in the Upper Peninsula, (3)Sault Ste. Marie Farmers Market and (5)Centennial Cranberry Farm are worth the detour.

Michigan has so much for your taste-buds to discover. For more ideas, check out what Detroit and Northeast Michigan have to offer. You don’t want to miss Pinconning Cheese Company, Stoney Acres Winery in Alpena, Rock River Grille in Indian River or Mt. Pleasant Brewing CompanyYour stomach will thank you later!

Which foods and restaurants are must-haves when you’re traveling in Pure Michigan?

Behind-the-Scenes of Michigan Restaurants with Under the Radar Michigan (Plus a Giveaway!)

There’s no shortage of sensational places to eat when you’re traveling in Pure Michigan! So, what makes a Pure Michigan culinary creation so delicious? Under the Radar Michigan takes us behind-the-scenes of some of Michigan’s prime foodie destinations. Plus, see how you can win a copy of Under the Radar Michigan’s new paperback book! 

hand logoHey food fans … it’s me, Tom Daldin from the PBS TV show “Under The Radar Michigan.” If you live to eat, you should live in Michigan. We’ve got such an incredible variety of great places to chow that you could spend a lifetime here eating your way to supreme culinary contentment. From fabulous fine dining to funky finer diners, Michigan has every kind of cuisine from every corner of the planet. We discovered early in season one that food is the single biggest trigger for human beings (and our crew) so we pull that trigger early and often on our show.

In Michigan, we’ve discovered everything from the world’s best sliders, and a place where you can get Thanksgiving dinner any day of the year, to places that grow absolutely everything you eat, and incredible restaurants where the atmosphere and experience is every bit as cool and unique as the food. A lot of people are now coming to Michigan for what they’re calling “Foodie Adventures” … They’re vacations that revolve around great food finds … and that’s something we love to do on UTR. It’s a tough job … but somebody’s got to do it … and it may as well be us. But, guess what … you can too … take a look:

Where are your favorite places to eat in Michigan? 

Under the Radar Michigan Book Giveaway

51-Gc-PUoNL“Under the Radar Michigan” is an Emmy award winning PBS television series that features the cool people, places and things that make Michigan an awesome place to live, work and play. If you’re looking for great Michigan places to explore, vacation, eat, live, start a business or just relax, this book is for you. Chapter by chapter, Tom Daldin and his team take you along on their first fifty episodes and discover great Michigan cities, interesting people, incredible restaurants, romantic spaces and great places to vacation with the whole family. You’ll speed through Michigan’s Everglades; go to santa school; eat awesome food; hike giant dunes; meet inspired people; explore great wilderness; fly through the air on skis; sail the Great Lakes; tour great museums and even swim at a secret beach.

Do you want to win a copy? Simply tell us in the comments section below where in Michigan you would go on a “Foodie Adventure.” We’ll then randomly select five lucky winners to receive a paperback copy of  “Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50.” To enter, submit your comments (along with your email address) by Sunday, March 8th at 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winners Monday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winners have been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments! 

12 Hidden Gems in Michigan

Guest Blogger, Jessica Holli, from the Awesome Mitten tells us about some of Michigan’s most unique places to eat, drink and play.  Read her favorites below and find more places to visit on michigan.org.

As an associate editor with the Awesome Mitten, I edit tons of articles about Michigan’s most unique places, and as a result I am constantly in a state of wanderlust. Luckily, all of the destinations are located within our two fabulous peninsulas. From breathtaking dunes to sandwich shops, here are some of my favorite destinations.

Chapel Rock Falls and Beach Trail

Chapel RockPictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this trail winds visitors past gorges and around the Chapel Falls with several outlook opportunities. Continue along the trail to the beach and make sure to pack your swimsuit and your lunch; you won’t want to leave!

Atwater Brewery

Founded in 1997, Atwater Brewery in Detroit has turned a 1919 factory warehouse into a home for their German brewing equipment.  Atwater churns out custom German lagers and American ales with ease. Stop by their taproom for a Vanilla Java Porter during your next trip to Motor City.

Old Town Lansing

Art aficionados, foodies, and music lovers will find something they love in Lansing’s Old Town district. The neighborhood is home to celebrated art galleries, one of a kind restaurants, and several music festivals throughout the calendar year. Stop by and explore countless antique stores and don’t forget to try Craving Popcorn’s most recent custom flavor.

Lost & Found Antique Store

Located in Grand Rapids, Lost & Found Antique Store will keep Mitten Pickers busy for hours. Among the well-curated mid-century modern collection, antique hunters will find vintage advertisements and custom pottery. Don’t forget to bring your U-Haul!

Ernie’s Market

Ernie Hassan has been creating and serving sandwiches to Oak Park for more than four decades. Ernie’s delicious sandwich fixings and sense of humor ensures that every customer leaves with a smile. This family-owned business doesn’t accept cards, so make sure you stop by an ATM before stopping by. You might just hear Ernie shout, “Yeah, Baby!”

Arcadia Dunes

Take M-22 to the C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. There, you’ll find 15 miles of hiking and biking trails and incredible views of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The journey is definitely the destination for this day trip.

Riverside Kayak

Explore Detroit on two paddles during a guided tour of the Detroit River and East Side Canals. You will need to register ahead of time online. B.Y.O.K. (bring your own kayak) or rent a kayak on sight and buckle your life jacket; after touring Detroit via boat you’ll never look at the city the same way again.

Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground

For a proper slice of the Northern Mitten, pack your tent and visit Ocqueoc Falls, the largest falls in the Lower Peninsula. Hikers and bikers will find plenty of pathways and trails to occupy a weekend in the State Park. Make sure to arrive at the Park early if you want a campsite, no reservations means that all of the sites are first come, first serve.

Meyer May House

Meyer May, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is tucked within Grand Rapid’s Heritage Hills district. Known as “Michigan’s Prairie Masterpiece” it was commissioned by Meyer S. May, a Grand Rapid’s based clothier in 1908. Steelcase began restoring the home to its original condition in 1985, and the Meyer May estate is now open for public tours. Visitors can explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s restored home for no cost – admission is free!

Kitch-iti-kipi

Kitch-iti-kipi is as fun to say as it is to visit. The springs, Michigan’s largest freshwater springs, were originally named “Mirror of Heaven” by the Native Americans. Known for its “emerald bottom,” the springs emit 10,000 gallons of water per minute. Visitors can explore the crystal-clear springs via a self-operated raft.

Cheboygan Brewing Company

Cheboygan Brewing CompanyThe city of Cheboygan can trace their beer-brewing roots back to 1827, when the Hentschel from Prussia founded a brewery on the Cheboygan River to serve the hard working lumber workers. Fast-forward to 2009 when Cheboygan historians and beer lovers came together to revitalize Cheboygan’s craft brew culture. Stop by the Cheobygan Brewing Company’s tap room for a taste of Michigan history and flavorful craft beers.

Donckers

This Marquette staple first opened in 1895 and continues to serve up the area’s best homemade candy, breakfast and lunch. While the star of Doncker’s is definitely their immense candy selection, the restaurant that operates out of the establishment’s original sandwich counter offers visitors the best comfort food.

Jessica HolliJessica Holli is an associate editor for the Awesome Mitten. She has lived in, and loves, both parts of America’s High Five. This Michigan State University alumna is obsessed with the Great Lakes, the color red, and spending as much time as possible outside. When she is not working she’s exercising in Michigan’s natural playground or planning her next adventure.

Have you visited any of these places? What hidden gems would you add to the list?