Food & Drink

Michigan's 31 Most Classic Restaurants

Published On 08/23/2016 Published On 08/23/2016
Gandy Dancer - Ann Arbor

The Gandy Dancer

Ann Arbor

Located in the part of A2 that’s not full of annoying rich people and zitty college kids (Governor Snyder wins the award for that, by the way) is this charming train depot-turned-fancy restaurant. We say fancy because there are linens on the tables. Linens equal fancy dining. The building itself dates back to 1886, when it was a major stopping point on the line between Detroit and Chicago. The restaurant opened in 1970, and to this day specializes in seafood with a historical, upscale vibe.

Legs Inn

Cross Village

Nestled along an absolutely stunning piece of Lake Michigan shoreline, this restaurant was built in 1925 by its original owner, a retired Polish auto worker who fell in love with the forests and quiet of Northern Michigan and its Ottawa and Chippewa cultures. The building is pieced together, and includes a curio shop, living quarters, tavern, balcony, dining room, and four great stone fireplaces. All this ambience stuff is fine and dandy, but what we really go here for is the kielbasa and pierogi. On the damn lake.

Courtesy of The Whitney

The Whitney


OK, first of all, it’s haunted. That's reason enough to go check it out. But ghosts aside, this striking mansion has culled all the "oohs" and "ahhs" of motorists and the motorless in its stately position along Woodward Ave in Midtown Detroit. The restaurant is known for its weekend Sunday brunches, the summertime garden parties, and, of course, being one of the highest-class eateries in the city that hasn’t had to shutter its Victorian doors.

Highland House


This family restaurant has been around for more than 60 years, and specializes in everything we hope for from a Michigan restaurant: cedar-planked whitefish and Greek salads. Located in what could essentially be described as metro Detroit’s no-man’s land, where there are more lakes than there are liquor stores (oddly true), the Highland House has the charms of a small town and the taste of home-cooked delicacies that we Michiganders come to associate with our beautiful state.


Ann Arbor

We were just teasing earlier, Ann Arbor, when we said you were full of annoying rich people and zitty college kids. You’re also full of an incredible variety of beer and a ridiculous number of appetizing eateries, including probably one of the most famous of all, Ashley’s. This pub, opened in 1983, has more beers on tap than we can count, and considering that we’re in one of the greatest beer-producing states in the country, you can bet that the options are aplenty. The grub is yummy enough (damn good, in fact) to keep you around while you try to make a dent in the beer list.

Courtesy of Rocky's



If a car can be considered a classic after having been around for 25 years, then we feel the same should be said for restaurants. In this case, Rocky’s has been consistent in dependably tasty, slightly upscale food for quite a while. Specializing in lake food -- perch, whitefish, salmon -- it also is known for baking what may be the best breadsticks in metro Detroit. Seriously.

Genitti's Hole-in-the-Wall


This little Italian joint is known for hosting dinner theater in the space next door, but the food stands on its own. The restaurant has been around for a while: this writer (who has white hair and uses a cane) remembers walking along the creaky wooden floors as a child, so that means it’s been holding strong for a minute. Go here for the seven-course Italian family-style meal, and please, exercise your eating capabilities before you go, lest you be embarrassed by your inability to reach the cannoli at the end of the Italian flag-colored rainbow.

The Dakota Inn Rathskeller


Opened in 1933, the Rathskeller is still the place to go if you want to clank pilsner steins together and talk in a fake German accent -- which is basically what happens here the entire month of September in celebration of Oktoberfest. The restaurant was founded by German immigrants who wanted to add a bit of schnitzel pleasure to the neighborhood. When it comes to schnitzel and steins, friends, we say “Willkommen!”

Buddy's Pizza

Buddy’s Pizza


The thing is, the original Buddy’s Pizza location is THE reigning square pizza champ of Michigan. Oh, and did we mention there’s bocce ball? It’s a no brainer, kids. Buddy’s is classic.

Baker's Keyboard Lounge


Detroit has long been a music city. But there was one specific era when it was pretty much one of the hottest spots to hit in the world. Though the tumultuous and exciting '60s are long behind us, Baker’s still retains that flair with live jazz and blues music and great soul food. Nowadays, it’s surrounded by medical marijuana dispensaries, so all of you with your permits for the green stuff can light up a jazz cigarette and pretend we don’t live in the days of reggaeton and dubstep, or whatever the hell else the kids are listening to these days.

LaCroix’s Riverside Pub

St. Clair

Alongside the Pine River, which leads to the St. Clair River, which brings water from Lake Huron into Lake St. Clair, you’ll find this lovely haven for fishermen and Keno enthusiasts. This is the kind of bar that old so-and-so Toby Keith was probably singing about loving so damn much, and on top of its blue-collar charms, it has a dependably solid selection of bar food that's a cut above. Don’t miss it if you find yourself up that way -- most likely by boat or hot rod.

Fischer's Happy Hour Tavern


Along one of the winding roads of the Leelanau Peninsula sits this burger sanctuary that's held its place as a locals’ delight for more than four decades. Expect speedy service in a beautiful, classic old Northern Michigan home-turned-restaurant, and all at prices that don’t reflect the high socioeconomic class of the region’s tourists. The digs are Up North-y, the food is classic, and the vibe is relaxed -- a great place to spend happy hour, or any hour.

Founder's Brewing Co.

Founders Brewing Company

Grand Rapids

With the Great Lakes State being one of the nation’s beer capitals, it’s hard to imagine that artisanal brews were hard to come across before the 1990s. Founders was one of the breweries to hit Michigan before the sudsy wave grew strong in the 2000s, becoming what it is now. Not only is the beer inventive and delicious, but the deli sandwiches available at the taproom -- which overlooks the giant tanks of beer yet to be born -- is varied, and offers as much pleasure for the vegetarian (try the Tree Hugger) as it does the meat eater (try Red’s Rye).

Bell's Eccentric Cafe


Before everything else, there was Bell’s. Truly an innovator among Michigan’s breweries, bars, and overall laid-back restaurant vibe, the kitchen at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe is not to be dismissed. Locally harvested and sustainable ingredients are what you’ll find on the menu here, with items often prepared with Bell’s beer. You really can’t get much more Michigan than that.

Morning Star Cafe

Morning Star Cafe

Grand Haven

As a local’s favorite, this tiny little cafe is buzzing with customers during high tourist season and offseason alike. Rush in for a seat and order up some house-made pork breakfast links to accompany your Southwest frittata. The food is top-notch; just be sure you don’t go starving. You’ll likely have to wait, but when you see your whole wheat French toast with blueberry sauce and sugared almonds headed your way, you'll know it was worth it.

Golden Harvest


Always a favorite for those Spartan fans nursing a hangover, Golden Harvest is one of the places that even Lansing’s bland economy can’t take down. Kitschy and a little bit cramped (OK, maybe more than a little bit), this popular diner is known for its farm-to-table offerings and for adding a bit of color and pizzazz to an otherwise dreary town.

Polish Village Cafe


The town whose name no one who isn’t from there can pronounce was settled by the Polish. The Polish know a thing or two about food that sticks to your insides, and Polish Village has been a prime location to experience said sticky situation since 1976, though it feels like it’s been much, much longer. Tall people, beware of the basement restaurant’s low ceilings, and don’t forget to order up an icy Zywiec (zhe-vitz) to wash down all the lard you’re about to gorge yourself on.

Zingerman's Delicatessen

Zingerman's Delicatessen

Ann Arbor

The absolute, no-holds-barred, king of the Fancy Deli Sandwich, Zingerman’s changed the game when it comes to comfort food fresh from the farm with its house-baked breads and gourmet, yet accessible, cheese and meat selection from the heavens. It would really be impossible to be disappointed by the quality of your food at Zingerman’s. Just be prepared that here exists the creature that seems to be becoming less and less elusive as each investment comes into Southeast Michigan: the $15 sandwich.

Bavarian Inn


Lederhosen: check. Large quantities of chicken: check. Chalet-style vibe in a restaurant that’s existed since 1888: check. The Bavarian Inn is one of those places you should go to as a kid in Michigan. It’s fun, a bit cheesy, and the food is good enough that the chaperones will be content... and if they aren't, at least there’s beer. This German-themed restaurant is in the heart of Frankenmuth’s historic (and touristic) center. It’s a fun place to trek to for a day, and it’s always heartwarming to see how little the place has changed over the years.

Sleder's Family Tavern

Traverse City

A local’s hangout that opened in 1882, Sleder's is a collection of oddities (which includes the locals), serving shots of lord-knows-what with bacon garnish, along with bar grub that goes the extra mile, all while you relax under the watchful eye of taxidermied buffalo and moose. Charming, for sure.

Flickr/Jenni Konrad

Joe's Pasty Shop


If there’s anything more Michigan than the Coney Dog, it’s the pasty. The meat pies are native to Northern Michigan, having made a hearty meal for miners and lumberjacks in the thick of the cold north woods. But if you want to find a truly authentic and delicious pasty, look no further than Joe’s, which has occupied its space in Ironwood since 1946. Curried chicken, local grass-fed beef, locally raised ham, etc. It’s all damn good.

Dalla's Diner


Little Dalla’s Diner is right off Highway 2, close to the Wisconsin border, and far away from the bustle of everyday life. The spot serves up traditional homemade Northern breakfast fare -- which means heavy portions, pancakes, bacon, etc. But it’s all done with a lot of love. It even has gluten-free bread, which any picky (or allergic) eater in the middle of the Upper Peninsula will tell you is not the easiest thing to come by.

The Chuckwagon

Mackinac Island

This unpretentious gem offers quality food for diners on a budget in the middle of tourist central, and as such, attracts a number of locals. Holding steady for more than 60 years in its little (and we mean little) location in the middle of it all, The Chuckwagon is a good place to head if you’ve spent all your wads of cash already tipping the beer cart girl at one of the island’s golf courses.




OK, OK, OK -- ONE more German place. Michigan was a major settlement for German immigrants over the years, dontcha know? Hence our appreciation for sausages and beer, which by the way, are two excellent offerings at Steinhaus, which strives to ensure that its ingredients come from local farmers whenever possible.

Angelo's Coney Island


The dogs here are ungodly good -- made at the Koegel's factory in town, using real cuts of meat -- and are served Flint-style, which means the chili is dry and full of secrets (hearts, kidneys… ground-up hot dogs). It's the experience of this diner -- smack in the middle of Downtown Vehicle City, open 24 hours, and serving dogs with fries & gravy at any time -- that makes it so magical. In Flint's heyday, it was where auto workers gathered for lunch (even if lunch was at 3am). At the height of the economic collapse, it was a cheap reprieve from the despair. Now, as the city faces yet another crippling crisis, Angelo's remains. Each bite reminds you that, despite all the hardship, there's still an unshakable pride and perseverance in Flint. At the end of the day, the lights will always be on, and the dogs will always be waiting. --Andy Kryza, Senior Editor

American Coney Island

The battle between Lafayette and American is like the Cain and Abel of the processed meat world. Legend has it, two Greek immigrant brothers opened the first Coney-style restaurant in Detroit and, due to a business disagreement, decided to part ways, continuing to operate their competing businesses side-by-side -- back in 1917. Today, American and Lafayette sit next door to one another, and each has its own dedicated following.

Sidetrack Bar & Grill


Ypsi, as it’s called in terms of endearment or loathing, is an overlooked haven for good food on a budget for people who can’t afford Ann Arbor. It’s a little bit more laid-back, noticeably grungier, and for those reasons we love it dearly. One can’t simply go to Ypsi without stopping at Sidetrack for a drink and a bite to eat. The beer selection at this not-too-college-y college bar is impressive, and the burger is one of the best you’ll find in the 734.

Al Ameer Restaurant


Making us hummus and tabbouli addicts since 1989, Al Ameer is one of the most beloved Middle Eastern restaurants in Dearborn, which is saying a lot, as Dearborn is the unofficial shawarma capital of the United States. You should go here to stuff your face on grape leaves, baba ghanoush, and any form of grilled meat. Note: if on a date, we recommend you go easy on the mysterious and supernaturally delicious garlic sauce. You’ve been warned.

Flickr/Phil Dokas

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

Ann Arbor

A place with a name like Krazy Jim’s that’s been in a town like Ann Arbor since 1953 (albeit with a temporary interruption when it moved from Division to Ashley St) has got some stories to tell. It’s diner food bordering on fast food, but it’s got its charms, and it's strict system of ordering, strictly enforced. Follow the steady flow of longtime customers and the directions on the wall -- the folks flipping the burgers don't like lollygagging, but the deliciously greasy burgers and fries make the stress worth it.

Sign of the Beefcarver

Royal Oak

We at Thrillist can’t really attest to what the hell actually goes on at this diner or what you should eat, but we assume it involves some sort of red meat ritual in which a hallowed butcher makes meat origami in the shape of Dream Cruise cars and throws them to a crowd of hungry, well-dressed people from Birmingham. Either way, the restaurant’s sign has been drawing strange looks along Woodward Ave since 1957, and if there’s two things we love, it’s creepy dudes with knives and animal byproducts.

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1. Gandy Dancer 401 Depot St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Situated in the former Michigan Central Railroad Depot, this historic spot serves upscale seafood in an elegant, Belle Epoque-inspired space. The menu is predominantly New American, featuring classic dishes like lobster bisque with sherry creme fraiche and cedar planked salmon with tarragon-mustard glaze. It's a popular destination for group events and romantic dinners alike, but the white linen brunch buffet draws the masses every Sunday as well.

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2. Legs Inn 6245 N. Lake Shore Dr., Cross Village, MI 49723

Cozily nestled on Lake Michigan, Legs Inn offers a glimpse of regional history and delicious Polish comfort food. Opened in 1925 by a Polish immigrant named Stanley Smolak, the stone cabin thrives today as a seasonal dining destination with live music and community picnics. Locals and visitors alike trek here for the merry tavern (who can say no a shot of buffalo grass vodka?), homemade pierogies, and kielbasa.

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3. The Whitney 4421 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Situated within the mansion of David Whitney, a lumber scion during the late 19th century and one of Detroit's wealthiest citizens, the Whitney is an elegant fine dining restaurant inspired by the city's golden age of industry. The plates, refined takes on American classics (house specialities include the Beef Wellington and shrimp cocktail), are right at home in the glorious domestic setting, while a second-floor dessert parlor with larger, more elaborate items, like flaming desserts and $3 mini-desserts for nibbling, adds even more to the opulence.

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4. Highland House 2630 E Highland Rd, Highland, MI 48356

Highland House is a Michigan staple, beloved by everyone from local to the Detroit Tigers and presidential candidates. Situated in a humble wooden cabin, the family-owned eatery serves classic American comfort food -- light bites like barbecue ribs and calamari to wholesome entrees like chicken piccata and maple-planked whitefish, a house specialty. Just be sure to save room for dessert: the "cheesecake of the week" is certainly not to miss.

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5. Ashley's Restaurant & Pub 338 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Few college bars boast the kind of beer cred this clubby Ann Arbor joint does, whose menu includes German and Belgian ales, Pacific Northwest representation, and, of course, hometown favorites like Founders and New Holland on its 70+ local and international taps. The appetizers and entree-size bites equally impress, with picks like bacon, cheddar, and chive fries, poutine, and a popular Build-Your-Own-Burger option.

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6. Rocky's of Northville 41122 7 Mile Rd, Northville, MI 48167

Rocky's is a go-to for quality seafood and New American fare in the Metro Detroit area. Helmed by chef Chuck "Rocky" Rachwitz -- whose tenure with the C.A. Muer dining empire is a testament to his culinary chops -- the menu focuses on elegantly presented regional staples such as Great Lakes perch and broiled whitefish. With a raw bar that is as fresh as it is variegated and solid steak offerings, the cavernous, cabin-chic spot is a Northville destination for upscale yet relaxed business dinners and date nights.

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7. Genitti's Hole In The Wall 108 E Main St, Northville, MI 48167

Since its founding in 1971, Genitti's has mastered the art of bringing people together. The brick-walled Northville outpost is a popular locale for weddings, showers, and private parties, but the real draw here is the nightly dinner theatre. The menu consists of seven-course, family style Italian meal (consisting of soup, antipasto, pasta, steak, chicken with zucchini, to name a few -- and homemade cannolis for those who manage to make it to the finish line) and live entertainment ranging from children's plays and interactive comedy sets.

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8. The Dakota Inn Rathskeller 17324 John R St, Detroit, MI 48203

For over 80 years, The Dakota Inn has been Detroit's go-to for authentic German tastes: hearty schnitzels, Bavarian bratwurst, charcuterie boards, and the signature Rathskeller Reuben Soup. As if the extensive list of German brews (ranging from rotating drafts to a plethora of bottled options) wasn't enough to attract the masses already, live music on the 80 year-old piano, nightly sing-alongs lead by a brave soul willing to step up and belt out drinking songs about the schnitzelbank while standing upon it, and regular community events (themed cookouts, Oktoberfest rituals) combine to make the cavernous beer hall a consistently lively outpost.

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9. Buddy's Pizza 17125 Conant St, Detroit, MI 48212

Lauded as one of the best pizza joints (and now, chain) in the nation, Buddy's Pizza is known for its iconic Detroit-style pies baked in cast iron pans. The celebrated joint has been perfecting its pizzas, salads, and soups since 1946, and now serves them alongside a beer and wine, and dessert menu. To help you make room for additional slices, the restaurant even offers a bocce court right next door.

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10. Baker's Keyboard Lounge 20510 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221

What began as a humble sandwich joint in 1933 turned into a piano bar in the early 40s, at which point it became a pivotal venue in the history of American jazz. A frequent haunt for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Art Tatum, and Miles Davis, Baker's is still thriving today, with touring musicians providing nightly jazz and weekly comedy shows in an authentic Art Deco space. Entertainment aside, the kitchen here is serious about soul food: succulent barbecue wings and ribs reign supreme, and regional tastes like grilled perch and whiting are equally as satisfying.

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11. LaCroix’s Riverside Pub 314 Clinton Ave, Saint Clair, MI 48079

This classic American dive is beloved by locals for its quality pub food (pro tip: the ribeye and the perch are not to miss), affordable draft beers, and welcoming, no-frills ambience. The pub's proximity to the Pine River makes it popular haunt for fishermen and those who generally prefer to commute by boat, and a regular lineup of music acts from Saint Clair and other neighboring towns attracts other blue collar land-lovers as well.

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12. Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern 6798 M-22, Northport, MI 49670

Despite being off the beaten path, this Northport spot is consistently busy. Traveling passersby and locals alike swing through this lodge-like joint for its lively ambience, delicious pub fare (pro tip: get the perch sandwich), and affordable beer offerings (pitchers, anyone?). Just be sure to save room for Fischer's legendary homemade berry pie -- it's a regular favorite, and besides, you can work it off with a spirited round of pool afterwards.

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13. Founders Brewing Co. 235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Founders is the suds-pumping heart of Grand Rapids, one of America’s truly great beer towns, offering both year-round (All Day IPA, Dirty Bastard) and seasonal varieties to try or buy. But it’s not just about the beer. The constantly buzzing (especially during Michigan’s preciously short patio season) taproom somehow manages to be cozy and intimate despite its airplane hangar-like dimensions, and the unreasonably giant sandwiches are frequently named for Founders brews (try the Dirty Bastard… also, pairing idea!).

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14. Bell’s Eccentric Café 355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Bell's is a Michigan staple, having started as a homegrown brewing operation in Kalamazoo that achieved such national success that it became a household name among beer enthusiasts. So while it comes as no surprise that beers are the central focus here, the food at the Eccentric Café is just as solid. The sustainably-conscious menu features elevated takes on traditional American pub fare, ranging from house-made charcuterie, inventive sandwiches (pro tip: try the chimichurri steak baguette, and consider pairing it with Bell's Two-Hearted Ale), flatbreads, and salads. The airy space marries exposed brick with stained glass, and regular live music attracts quite a crowd on the weekends.

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15. Morning Star Cafe 711 Washington Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417

This colorful, homey cafe is a breakfast destination for the Grand Haven area. While weekend brunch attracts the masses, the spot is just as lively during the week thanks to market-driven daily specials. Signature dishes remain the clear standouts: homemade chorizo hash ties with huevos rancheros for the savory favorite, whereas the whole wheat French toast topped with blueberries and vanilla creme proves entirely satisfying. Add a made-to-order smoothie bar and gourmet coffee menu, and it's a morning meal worth waiting for (and heads up: the lack of a reservations policy means a wait is likely during peak times).

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16. 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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17. Polish Village Café 2990 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Everything about this Hamtramck restaurant is authentically Polish: the interior feels like a real Eastern European pub with an emphasis on dark mahogany fixtures and stained glass, while white Christmas lights hang overhead, intersecting strings of faux ivy. Whether stuffed with potato, cabbage, cheese, or beef, the pierogies here are absolutely amazing -- and the rest of the menu is just as solid, boasting traditional fare like kielbasa, golabki (stuffed cabbage), and the ever popular dill pickle soup. The family-owned eatery has a huge following, and even the most dedicated of regulars often have to wait for a table at this walk-ins and cash-only spot.

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18. Zingerman's Roadhouse 2501 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Another outpost of Zingerman's growing culinary empire in Ann Arbor, The Roadhouse serves quality American comfort food crafted by James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Young. There's a clear Southern lean to the menu, with standouts including sweet potato fries (twice cooked, hand-cut, and entirely addictive when accompanied by spicy mayo), mac n' cheese, and a 5 slider sampler for those truly torn between the full-size burger options, which include barbecue pulled chicken or pork, pit-smoked barbecue beef, the house cheeseburger, and the gouda- and bacon-obsessed Kentucky burger. The sleek wood interior is contemporary and sprawling, making it great for groups.

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19. Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth 1 Covered Bridge Ln, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

The Bavarian Inn Lodge is probably the closest you can get to Bavaria without actually going to Bavaria itself. The Chalet-style campus is sprawling, boasting authentic Bavarian architecture (intricate hand-painted murals, tile roofs, and an actual glockenspiel, to name a few), and not only will your server be decked out in traditional German attire -- there's a good chance you'll be serenaded by a merry accordion player while dining. While you don't want to miss out on standout light fare like buttered spaetzle and Hofbräu beer cheese dip, make sure to save room for the legendary, massive family-style platter of fried chicken. Just don't forget your lederhosen. The star attraction of a town whose entire aesthetic replicates a German Village, Bavarian Inn takes its German influences very, very seriously, from the constant presence of lederhosen to the buxom servers in frilly blouses delivering gigantic platters of fried chicken.

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20. Sleder's 717 Randolph St, Traverse City, MI 49684

This Traverse City mainstay got its start back in 1882, and is still alive and kicking today. Beyond its history, the popular neighborhood haunt is beloved for its quality pub fare, with bites ranging from jalapeño poppers to baked brie and larger entrées like burgers, burritos, and grilled regional seafood. The historic saloon is great for people watching, with a crowd of regulars equally as quirky as the drink offerings (whiskey shot with a bacon chaser, anyone?) and décor -- don't be alarmed by the array of taxidermy moose and buffalo mounted throughout.

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21. Joes Pasty Shop 116 W. Aurora St., , 49938

Joe's Pasty Shop has been baking Michigan's indigenous meat pies since 1946, so you know they're authentic. "The pasty that made pasties famous," as they call them, comes in flavors like chicken pot pie, cheeseburger, and curried chicken, but with a recipe that's proven delicious for over 50 years, every option is guaranteed tasty.

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22. Dalla's Diner W7720 S US Highway 2, Quinnesec, MI 49876

Though remotely located, this burgers and shakes joint serves a surprisingly extensive list of freshly baked, griddled, and fried diner dishes, like blueberry pancakes, gravy-smothered biscuits, and perfectly salty sausage links. The cozy hometown spot is immaculately maintained, with metallic red booths and chairs and retro Coca Cola paraphernalia throughout.

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23. Chuckwagon on Mackinac 7400 Main St., Mackinac Island, MI 49757

This small counter-sized shop griddles more than a dozen kinds of burgers and sandwiches, as well as a popular breakfast menu prepared at lightning speed before your eyes. The seats most always require a wait, but the novelty of sitting at a fun-sized restaurant, as well as the specialty, pillow-soft pretzel buns make for satisfied crowds.

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24. Steinhaus 102 W Washington St, Ste 115, Marquette, MI 49855

It's got all the makings of a German beer hall -- including various wurst combinations and a slew of domestic and imported beers served in heavy mugs, but Steinhaus classes up the dingy experience with less communal tables, and more four-tops, lime-colored walls, and a narrow space that encourages intimate, lower-decibel conversation. The modern German inclinations continue with their food menu, which presents choices like sea scallops, quail, and even vegetarian options.

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25. Angelo's Coney Island 1816 Davison Rd, Flint, MI 48506

This Michigan diner has been around since the Roaring '20s, serving classic dogs (using local meat) with dollops of their decades-old secret sauce. The famous dogs are ungodly good, but the experience of this diner -- located smackdab in the middle of downtown Vehicle City, open 24 hours, and serving dogs with fries & gravy at any time -- is what makes it so magical.

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26. Lafayette Coney Island 118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

While no one knows for sure where the Detroit coney dog originated, what's clear is that Lafayette is one of two establishments serving the premier version. Grab your own plate with a side of chili cheese fries, and ignore the sassy cooks and the dinginess of the space. You're here for the coney.

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27. American Coney Island 114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

Located besides archrival Lafayette Coney Island, American Coney Island has been serving paper platefuls of the crispy fries-and-chili covered hot dog meal since 1917. The spot continues to be family-owned and -operated, and the only way you can get your hands on their secret Detroit chili sauce is by ordering your own dog, or a Coney Kit, which comes complete with 12 Dearborn Sausage brand special recipe hot dogs, buns, a sweet onion, American's famous family-owned Detroit chili sauce, instructions, and a hat.

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28. 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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29. Al-Ameer Restaurant 12710 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

The first restaurant in Michigan to receive the james Beard Award (an award honoring distinguished restaurants), this Lebanese spot doles out timeless middle eastern classics, including reputable Lamb and beef shawerma with housemade hummus, stuffed lamb with rice, and falafel platters. You can recognize the mom-and-pop ownership by the plush booths and window decor, which bear a domestic touch in their comfort and homeyness.

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30. Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger 304 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger is reputable for grinding its own Western church beef and for its billion plus number of possible Blimpy combinations, which includes variations on toppings like fried eggs, mild hot peppers, and grilled onions. The interior design is surprisingly tame and clean-cut, but the playfully illustrated menu and messy spillage of burger guts on various tables prove the restaurant's moniker.

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31. Sign of the Beefcarver 27400 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067

This hometown buffet-style restaurant serves generous cuts of roast beef, brisket, and other marinated meats alongside hearty sides like mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The lighting is dim, and the carpeted floors reverberate a homey ambiance, making Sign of the Beefcarver a comfortable destination for a night of family bonding.