Food & Drink

Michigan's 15 best restaurants outside Detroit

Published On 05/07/2014 Published On 05/07/2014
Zingerman’s Delicatessan
Mani Osteria and Bar
Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Union Woodshop
Golden Harvest
Food Dance
The Green Well
Marie Catrib’s
Trattoria Stella
The Cooks' House
Brown Fisheries Fish House
Flickr User Flavouz
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1. The Root Restaurant & Bar 340 Town Center Blvd, White Lake, MI 48386

Local farmers, brewers, and butchers power this White Like institution with seasonal ingredients -- try The Root's Michigan pork shoulder with coffee and cherry mustard, or the roasted Michigan beet salad with Michigan honey.

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2. Zingerman's Delicatessen 422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Zingerman's Delicatessen has been sating Ann Arbor's hunger pangs with big sandwiches and Jewish favorites since 1982, attracting not just long lines but also notable customers like President Barak Obama. The renovated space seats 600 across the two floors, yet it always seems full at the meat and cheese counter. Breads are baked on premises, and used in sandwiches that are to die-for. If you're only getting one, go for a Reuben. If you'd rather not eat with your hands, order the matzo ball soup. Either way, you'll quickly see what the fuss is about.

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3. Mani Osteria & Bar 341 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

If you're looking for Neopolitan-style pizza, the place you'll want to look for in Ann Arbor is this Downtown Italian and seafood restaurant. Other traditional fare like the calamari and gnocchi with braised veal round out your selections.

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4. Sidetrack Bar & Grill 54 E Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Ypsi's favorite college bar serves a venerable collection of craft beers served in oversize mugs, hearty burgers with beer-battered pickles, and a sturdy selection of vegetarian options. Despite its fratty overtone, the joint has a bit of an old-school flair, with a stuffed moose, tasseled lamps, and heavy wood furnishings that make you feel like you've entered your rowdy uncle's personal bar.

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5. Toast 203 Pierce St, Birmingham, MI 48009

Toast is an American diner that feels more like a lounge with its vintage supper club decorations (complete with sofas) and full bar. This gourmet greasy spoon serves locally-sourced breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with 30 Michigan-local craft brews and boutique wines. While the dinner menu features juicy down-home burgers and tender lamb chops, the brunch menu is what draws the crowds (seriously, it’s always busy). The Chicken-n-Waffle Benny is basically just a huge Eggs Benedict with fried chicken instead of ham and a waffle square instead of a biscuit, oh and sausage and gravy instead of hollandaise, but if that doesn’t sound appealing there is also a long list of omelets, sandwiches, and sweets (think pancakes and French toast).

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6. Union Woodshop 18 S Main St, Clarkston, MI 48346

This BBQ stop in Clarkston has a reputation for delicious slow-smoked ribs, wood-fired pizzas, and Vermont cheddar mac and cheese. But there's no better way to explain their process, so we’ll let Union Woodshed do the talking: “It begins and ends in the backlot, with a green hickory smoker that's on a constant low-temp tear with an assortment of meats. It's a ritual that starts with a careful rub and ends only when we think its time to pull the meat from the bath of smoke we surround it with.” Nom. Their pizza is fired in an 800 degree inferno, made fresh daily.

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7. Golden Harvest 1625 Turner St, Lansing, MI 48906

It's virtually impossible to miss Golden Harvest. The entire front façade of the diner is a made of traffic signs and lawn decorations, and any surface that isn't covered boasts vibrant street art and graffiti. Yes, your waitress still can hear your order over the dubstep or metal blaring from the speakers, so you'll still be able to get your Fruity Pebbles-topped, BAM BAM waffle fix. The hip joint is a ATM-less, reservation-less operation, so make sure you're flush with cash and try arrive early in order to get a table at this Lansing hotspot.

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8. Food Dance 401 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Early adopters of the local/seasonal/farm-to-table mentality, Food Dance has been bringing the quality ingredients for longer than most. The results are award-winning breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, and unique dishes like their curry-dusted popcorn chickpeas. Also -- be sure not to miss out on their Ultimate Mac & Cheese with bacon, spinach, and caramelized onions in an aged cheddar sauce.

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9. Grove 919 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Grove filters fresh, local fish, poultry, and meat through Polish, German, Latin, and other inspirations to bring you a menu as varied as it is delicious.

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10. The Green Well 924 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

The Green Well is a Michigan Gastro Pub that is as passionate about being green (they've got a 20-point list of practices on their website including their use of sustainable farming and solar energy) as they are about utilizing fresh ingredients from Michigan. A Michigan-centric beer list pairs with beer-inspired dinners like the Michigan Stout-Braised Beef or the Michigan Beer-Steamed Mussels.

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11. Marie Catrib's 1001 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Marie Catrib's is a great spot to hit in Grand Rapids any time of day. Sandwiches and Turkish coffee will do the trick, as will hearty breakfast plates like the Rock the Hash-Bah, or their wide selection of vegetarian, vegan, and earth-friendly fare.

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12. Trattoria Stella 1200 W Eleventh St, Traverse City, MI 49684

Trattoria Stella is located in the cellar of Traverse City's former mental asylum, but you'll never notice as they ply you with with fresh, local treats like bruschetta with Traverse City cherries alongside a wine list that includes some of the region's finest.

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13. The Cooks' House 115 Wellington St, Traverse City, MI 49686

Local, sustainable cuisine takes center stage at The Cooks' House, a quaint, rustic restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan (and a favorite of Mario Batali's!). Enjoy the regional Midwestern seafood and meat specialties, like walleye, whitefish, and roasted rabbit with honey, chocolate, Michigan hops, and steel-cut oats.

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14. Brown's Fisheries Fish House 32638 W M28, Paradise, MI 49768

This is about as fresh as fish can get without you meeting them underwater. Each morning the staff at Brown's goes fishing, and they serve what they catch for the rest of the day until it runs out -- get the whitefish basket, the smoked fish dip, the fish chowder, or all of the above.

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15. The Stonehouse 2223 Ludington St, Escanaba, MI 49829

The Stonehouse is where white tablecloth dining meets a casual, lounge-like bar, and dishes like their rack of lamb or steak au poivre meet 'tater skins and Monte Cristos.