Are you hungry for another foodie adventure? Then head to Michigan’s southwest and savor the not-to-be missed flavors and treats of the region’s rich food culture—famed for its bounty of locally-grown food and splendid collection of wineries and breweries.
It’s almost impossible for foodies to resist the allure of southwest Michigan’s Fruit Belt. Roads along a 212-mile loop from Grand Rapids through Fennville, South Haven, Paw Paw, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Middleville are a two lane antidote to big-city life. Rolling hills provide peek-a-boo views of glittering Lake Michigan.
Here, expansive vineyards produce vintages for every palate, from the sweet Concord at St. Julian Winery to dry Cabernet Sauvignon at Warner Vineyards. (Both have tasting rooms in Paw Paw.) Recognized as much for its beer as its wine—Michigan ranks fifth in the nations for the number of breweries—even the brewers get in on the fruit business. Kalamazoo’s Bell’s Brewery pours a red-tinted stout made with Michigan cherries.
Although fruit clearly inspires the dishes in this region, the thriving restaurant scene also showcases local producers’ handiwork. Seasonal artisan cheeses from Evergreen Lane Farm & Creamery outside Fennville complement Rustica’s European-influenced fare. The menu at Food Dance in Kalamazoo reads like a list of who’s who at the local farmers market; huevos rancheros topped with Kirklin Farms’ black beans; Carlson Farms Cornish hen; a Groovy Chicken sandwich made with Otto’s Poultry. And in Grand Rapids, San Chez Bistro stuns with its array of tapas, while the Amway Grand Plaza’s elegant Cygnus 27 offers a seasonal brunch menu alongside small plates of roasted quail or Wiener schnitzel. The expansive mix changes with the season and never fails to surprise. It feels right at home in a region famed for its bounty of food.
While on your southwest Michigan foodie tour, you’ll also want to check out the following five restaurants:
Boulvard Inn & Bistro
Real Food Café
Salt of the Earth
Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant