Riverside Inn - Leland
The sweet little town of Leland has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, we always visited to walk the docks of Fishtown (and do some fishing!). Just a few years ago, my husband and I celebrated with friends along the water after getting engaged on North Manitou Island. And I can't let a summer pass without a north shore sandwich from The Cheese Shanty.
A few blocks from fishtown sits the best restaurant in Leland, The Riverside Inn. Aptly named for it's gorgeous location along the banks of the Leland river. With a local focus and impeccable execution, this is the perfect place for a special night out, a drink at the bar or a meal on the porch overlooking the river.
Rockwich - Traverse City
There is always a new place to eat in Traverse City, and Rockwich is one of this year's stand-out new joints. Their seriously local, organic sandwiches are creative, flavorful and keep you wanting to return over and over again. Rockwich takes their hard rock vibe seriously, but the sweet family who runs this food truck will instantly put a smile on your face. Their sandwich-filled school bus is the place to be!
Julianne Tomatoes - Petoskey
I grew up in Petoskey and firmly believe that no trip to northern Michigan is complete without a stop in this sweet town. It is truly a magical place (even Ann Patchett agrees!). When I was a kid, we regularly walked the creaking floors of what is now Julianne Tomatoes. At the time, the local food coop was located there. All those memories fill this space with a special feeling for me, but what they have to offer is so much more than my nostalgic dreams!
Amazing breakfasts, sandwiches, soups and salads make this place a must-stop for breakfast or lunch in Petoskey. Check the board to see what local products are featured in the menu of the day, and don't forget to order dessert!
Grocer's Daughter - Empire
If you've been following me lately, you probably already know about my love affair with Grocer's Daughter Chocolate in Empire. I wanted to include them here because they're so much more than the chocolate I love to bake with. A stop in Grocer's Daughter (preferable after a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes!) should always involve a hearty serving of truffles and a few treats for the road.
Good Harbor Grill - Glen Arbor
Head north from Empire, past some of the Sleeping Bear Dune's most popular attractions, and you'll soon reach the little town of Glen Arbor. The town sits with the national lakeshore continuing along the coast both north and south of town, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch during a trip to the dunes.
My go-to in this little town is always Good Harbor Grill for breakfast or lunch. Warm up with a cup of soup after a chilly dip in the lake, and make sure to take in the sweet exterior of this seriously charming restaurant.