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. I recommend you try the following:
Cooks’ House Restaurant: 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. There is also the Alliance Restaurant located at 144 Hall St. This is a popular new spot in the Warehouse District, so make sure to call early for reservations.
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 fun Italian restaurant located a short distance from downtown at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The former Traverse City State Hospital has been totally transformed into a large complex of residential buildings, restaurants. shops and boutiques, plus a microbrewery and urban winery. I enjoyed the traditional atmosphere and the large menu. 1200 W. 11th St.
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.
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., Georgina’s Fusion Cuisine at 236 E. Front St., Sparks BBQ at 439 E. Front St and The Towne Plaza for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 203 Cass St.
Georgina’s, a casual spot downtown at 236 E. Front St., specializes in Latin and Asian fusion dishes along with burgers and salads while Firefly at 310 N. Cass St. features small, shareable plates in a casual setting. The Little Fleet is a gathering of six to eight local food trucks centered around a permanent full service bar. 4448 E. Front St.