Detroit seems to get all of the attention when it comes to conversations about all things culinary around here, but there are plenty of other great restaurants and chefs across the Great Lakes State. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Root Restaurant & Bar: Just outside of metro Detroit is the Root, one of the restaurants that embraced seasonality and the local food movement early on. It still stands strong, offering dishes like Baked Michigan Brie (Reny Picot Triple Crème Brie in a puff pastry with Grass Farms arugula, radish, dried cherry, fresh apple, and Michigan maple and black pepper balsamic vinaigrette) and the Michigan Pork Chop (whole grain mustard spaetzle, mushroom and roasted leek jus, fig mostarda, and mustard greens). The Root also has a killer fried bologna sandwich, made with Michigan's C-Roy bologna. 340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake Charter Township; 786-769-9646
- Tom Perkins
- The Root’s Fried bologna sandwich.
Golden Harvest: Killer omelets and inventive breakfast dishes are the
Food Dance: Food Dance is one of Kalamazoo's best spots for locally sourced, seasonally driven fare, and it maintains relationships with excellent companies and farms like the Brinery, Waterstreet Roastery, and Cedar Crest Dairy. Those relationships are used to build dishes like the BBQ Rocksteady Sandwich (Young Earth Farms pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and spicy slaw on a brioche roll) and Food Dance Pad Thai (bok choy, onion, ginger, carrot, egg, tamarind sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro and the choice of chicken or tofu). 401 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo; 269-382-1888; fooddance.net
The Cove: Long before extreme bloody Marys were ever a thing, Leland's the Cove was smoking chubbies and plunging them into their bloody Marys — the "Chubby Mary" — at their dockside restaurant on the Leelanau Peninsula. For fans of smoked fish, this is a must. For those unacquainted with a chub fish, it's a tiny breed the flourishes in the Great
Jose's Authentic Mexican Restaurant: Outstate towns aren't necessarily known for their Mexican fare, but Jose's offers some of the best tacos around. Beyond those, try the Mexican pizza (thin and crispy crust, beans, cheese, tomato, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa; with the option to add steak, pork, chicken, chorizo, or barbacoa) and shrimp cocktail (shrimp, cocktail sauce, onion, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, avocado, and lime juice). 309 Petoskey St., Petoskey; 231-348-3299
Gaijin: Gaijin offers "Japanese comfort foods" and is similar to an izakaya, or Japanese gastropub. Here's you'll find excellent dishes like the pork gyoza (black bean sauce, enoki mushroom, and pea shoots) as well as the Angry Crab Roll (lump crab, chili paste, cucumber, wasabi tobiko, and avocado). 136 E. Front St., Traverse City; 231-421-5466; gaijintc.com
The Green Well
Donckers: A homemade candy store, soda fountain, and restaurant that offers frozen treats like the T-Rex Sundae (
Fuzzy's Restaurant: The housemade bread in the folded sandwiches is what people drive across county lines to get at. The sandwiches consist of different meats stuffed into the bread that's accompanied by lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, and mozzarella.
Palms Krystal Bar and Grill: Good fried chicken is a rarity this far north of the Mason-Dixon, and sometimes you've got to drive to get it. Port Huron's Palms Krystal Bar and Grill offers Grandma Fay's Chicken and Waffles (two pieces of chicken in a rough, homemade Belgian waffle, butter, maple syrup, and creamy coleslaw) and, if you aren't in the market for bird, the Ultimate Bacon Burger (ground Angus beef, Smith's Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, jumbo onion ring, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, toasted brioche bun, and a side of BBQ sauce). Get it to go and take it for a picnic at any of Port Huron's awesome waterfront state parks. 1535 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron; 810-985-9838; palmskrystal.com
From our 2018 Made in Michigan issue.