With great restaurants, wineries, distilleries, orchards and farm stands, Traverse City has acquired a reputation as one of the country’s up-and-coming foodie towns. Midwest Living magazine has listed Traverse City among its Five Top Food Towns, and Bon Appetit magazine named it one of the Top Five Foodie Towns in the country several years ago.
Part of the reason for its food reputation stems from the fact that the area produces some of the best cherries, apricots, plums, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. It also has a number of nearby wineries, microbreweries and distilleries.
I recommend you try the following:
The Cooks’ House: Located in a small house at 115 Wellington St., this is a local farm-to-table restaurant featuring locally sourced and foraged food. I had a really outstanding meal and I highly recommend it!! Since it is so small, I would call ahead to book your reservation.
Amical: I had a great dinner at this warmly decorated downtown bistro that features European entrees as well as some local specialties like fresh Great Lakes white fish. In addition to dinner, they are open for lunch and Sunday brunch. 229 E Front St.
Warehouse MRKT: This is a contemporary group of shops, restaurants and a coffee shop. Here you will find BLK\MRKT, a sleek coffee shop and bakery featuring baked goods made from locally sourced ingredients. It is located at 144 Hall St. #100.
Grand Traverse Pie Company: Make sure to stop in at the original location at 525 W. Front St. I had a great lunch of a butternut squash and kale quiche along with some homemade pumpkin bread. They have a large selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and of course pie.
Trattoria Stella: Having been told not to miss this restaurant by two wineries, I just had to go for dinner. This is a Italian restaurant where I enjoyed the traditional atmosphere and the large menu. 1200 W. 11th St. It is located at 1200 W. 11th St., a short distance from downtown, at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. This former Traverse City State Hospital has been totally transformed into a large complex of residential buildings, restaurants. shops and boutiques, plus a microbrewery Earthen Ales, and urban winery Left Foot Charley. Sugar 2 Salt gets good press for its breakfast items.
J & S Hamburg: A fun, casual diner downtown. Their slogan is “Curing Hangovers since 1938”. I enjoyed breakfast on a Sunday morning which was a great time to feel like a local. It is small place, so go early to stake out your table. 302 W. Front St.
Red Ginger: Local friends love this place for its cocktails and Asian fusion menu and sushi. 237 E. Front St. Spanglish is a fun casual spot for Mexican food using locally sourced ingredients. 1333 Yellow Dr.
Other places to try should include Blue Tractor Barbecue at 423 S. Union, Frenchies Famous at 619 Randolph, Moomers Homemade Ice Cream at 7263 S. Long Lake for the best cherry ice cream, The Omelette Shoppe at 1209 E. Front St., Sparks BBQ at 439 E. Front St and The Towne Plaza for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 203 Cass St.
Firefly at 310 N. Cass St. features small, shareable plates in a casual setting. The Little Fleet is a gathering of food trucks centered around a permanent full service bar and Happy’s Taco Shop. 4448 E. Front St.