18 Michigan restaurants worth a road trip from Detroit

Despite the bourgeoning and bustling restaurant scene in and around Detroit, all of us need to get out of town sometime. If you're in the mood to get a change of scenery and try something new, why not taste some new flavors as well?

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  The Toasted Pickle   112 Washington Ave., Grand Haven; 616-414-7990; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
While small in size, the Toasted Pickle’s expansive menu makes it worth the fight for a table. Only two blocks from the water, the Toasted Pickle is a refuge for beachgoers and families — though its locally sourced ingredients and fresh takes on classic items make it a worthy stop for any sandwich lover. Stay safe with a classic sandwich, soup, or salad, or take a risk with one of the Toasted Pickle’s reimagined masterpieces like the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese (which you may have seen on the Cooking Channel) or the Italian Bomber. Also, make sure to opt for the truffle fries, one of the shop’s specialities (really, though, the whole menu is a specialty).  
Photo via The Toasted Pickle / Facebook
The Toasted Pickle
112 Washington Ave., Grand Haven; 616-414-7990; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
While small in size, the Toasted Pickle’s expansive menu makes it worth the fight for a table. Only two blocks from the water, the Toasted Pickle is a refuge for beachgoers and families — though its locally sourced ingredients and fresh takes on classic items make it a worthy stop for any sandwich lover. Stay safe with a classic sandwich, soup, or salad, or take a risk with one of the Toasted Pickle’s reimagined masterpieces like the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese (which you may have seen on the Cooking Channel) or the Italian Bomber. Also, make sure to opt for the truffle fries, one of the shop’s specialities (really, though, the whole menu is a specialty).
Photo via The Toasted Pickle / Facebook
  The Root Restaurant & Bar  
340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake Charter Township; 786-769-9646; Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Just outside of metro Detroit is the Root, one of the restaurants that embraced seasonality and the local food movement early on. It still stands strong, offering dishes like Baked Michigan Brie (Reny Picot Triple Crème Brie in a puff pastry with Grass Farms arugula, radish, dried cherry, fresh apple, and Michigan maple and black pepper balsamic vinaigrette) and the Michigan Pork Chop (whole grain mustard spaetzle, mushroom and roasted leek jus, fig mostarda, and mustard greens). The Root also has a killer fried bologna sandwich, made with Michigan's C-Roy bologna. 
Photo via The Root Restaurant & Bar / Facebook
The Root Restaurant & Bar
340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake Charter Township; 786-769-9646; Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Just outside of metro Detroit is the Root, one of the restaurants that embraced seasonality and the local food movement early on. It still stands strong, offering dishes like Baked Michigan Brie (Reny Picot Triple Crème Brie in a puff pastry with Grass Farms arugula, radish, dried cherry, fresh apple, and Michigan maple and black pepper balsamic vinaigrette) and the Michigan Pork Chop (whole grain mustard spaetzle, mushroom and roasted leek jus, fig mostarda, and mustard greens). The Root also has a killer fried bologna sandwich, made with Michigan's C-Roy bologna.
Photo via The Root Restaurant & Bar / Facebook
  The Green Well  
924 Cherry St., Grand Rapids; 616-808-3566; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
The Green Well bills itself as an American gastropub serving "honest fayre" with a local flair. That translates into excellent, seasonally driven cuisine built with ingredients from awesome local producers. Its building is LEED-certified, and it offers a fine selection of beer, wine, and craft cocktails. Check out the Michigan Turkey (all-natural local turkey, sweet potatoes, creamy coleslaw, smoked bacon, white cheddar, tomato vinaigrette, grilled Field and Fire sourdough) or the Seafood escabeche tacos (Lake Superior whitefish, tiger shrimp, and blue crab escabeche with pickled radish and onion, spicy sour cream, citrus slaw, cilantro, guacamole, Green Well fire-roasted salsa and Champion Chips).
Photo via The Green Well / Facebook
The Green Well
924 Cherry St., Grand Rapids; 616-808-3566; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
The Green Well bills itself as an American gastropub serving "honest fayre" with a local flair. That translates into excellent, seasonally driven cuisine built with ingredients from awesome local producers. Its building is LEED-certified, and it offers a fine selection of beer, wine, and craft cocktails. Check out the Michigan Turkey (all-natural local turkey, sweet potatoes, creamy coleslaw, smoked bacon, white cheddar, tomato vinaigrette, grilled Field and Fire sourdough) or the Seafood escabeche tacos (Lake Superior whitefish, tiger shrimp, and blue crab escabeche with pickled radish and onion, spicy sour cream, citrus slaw, cilantro, guacamole, Green Well fire-roasted salsa and Champion Chips).
Photo via The Green Well / Facebook
  the cottage   472 Munson Ave., Traverse City; 231-947-9261; Daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m. 
Come to tour the coastal city, then unwind in a laidback cafe. The cottage is so lowkey its name does not have capitalized letters. Start out with mozzarella sticks or onion rings, then enjoy an entree from their eclectic selection, sandwich, or all-day breakfast menu. This mom-and-pop-style cafe has all the comforts of home, without the nagging parents. 
Photo via the cottage / Facebook
the cottage
472 Munson Ave., Traverse City; 231-947-9261; Daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Come to tour the coastal city, then unwind in a laidback cafe. The cottage is so lowkey its name does not have capitalized letters. Start out with mozzarella sticks or onion rings, then enjoy an entree from their eclectic selection, sandwich, or all-day breakfast menu. This mom-and-pop-style cafe has all the comforts of home, without the nagging parents.
Photo via the cottage / Facebook
  The B.O.B.   20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids; 616-356-2000; Monday-Friday 4 p.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
No matter what entertainment or food is desired, it can be nearly guaranteed the B.O.B. (short for the Big Old Building) has it. The reimagined grocery warehouse is home to a beer garden, brewery, pizzeria, comedy club, night club, smokehouse, live music venue, and a steakhouse. With its prime location in the heart of Grand Rapids, there is no reason to go anywhere else. 
Photo via The B.O.B. / Facebook
The B.O.B.
20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids; 616-356-2000; Monday-Friday 4 p.m.-2 a.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
No matter what entertainment or food is desired, it can be nearly guaranteed the B.O.B. (short for the Big Old Building) has it. The reimagined grocery warehouse is home to a beer garden, brewery, pizzeria, comedy club, night club, smokehouse, live music venue, and a steakhouse. With its prime location in the heart of Grand Rapids, there is no reason to go anywhere else.
Photo via The B.O.B. / Facebook
  Palms Krystal Bar and Grill   1535 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron; 810-985-9838; Monday-Tuesday, Sunday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Good fried chicken is a rarity this far north of the Mason-Dixon, and sometimes you've got to drive to get it. Port Huron's Palms Krystal Bar and Grill offers Grandma Fay's Chicken and Waffles (two pieces of chicken in a rough, homemade Belgian waffle, butter, maple syrup, and creamy coleslaw) and, if you aren't in the market for bird, the Ultimate Bacon Burger (ground Angus beef, Smith's Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, jumbo onion ring, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, toasted brioche bun, and a side of BBQ sauce). Get it to go and take it for a picnic at any of Port Huron's awesome waterfront state parks.
Photo via Palms Krystal Bar and Grill / Facebook
Palms Krystal Bar and Grill
1535 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron; 810-985-9838; Monday-Tuesday, Sunday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
Good fried chicken is a rarity this far north of the Mason-Dixon, and sometimes you've got to drive to get it. Port Huron's Palms Krystal Bar and Grill offers Grandma Fay's Chicken and Waffles (two pieces of chicken in a rough, homemade Belgian waffle, butter, maple syrup, and creamy coleslaw) and, if you aren't in the market for bird, the Ultimate Bacon Burger (ground Angus beef, Smith's Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, jumbo onion ring, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, toasted brioche bun, and a side of BBQ sauce). Get it to go and take it for a picnic at any of Port Huron's awesome waterfront state parks.
Photo via Palms Krystal Bar and Grill / Facebook
  Mountain Town Station   506 W. Broadway St., Mount Pleasant; 989-775-2337; Monday-Thursday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Mountain Town Station Restaurant & Brew Pub is a retired Mount Pleasant train depot given a new life and facelift. Though officially branded a steakhouse, daily specials like create-your-own pasta on Mondays and tacos and tequila on Tuesdays, paired with expansive vegetarian and gluten-free menus, allow Mountain Town to cater to a wide audience. Anything with “brisket” in the name (mac and cheese or nachos, to name a few) is a solid choice, in addition to its Wednesday sushi menu or broad meat selection any day of the week. After the meal, peek into the attached winery or brewery. 
Photo via Mountain Town Station / Facebook
Mountain Town Station
506 W. Broadway St., Mount Pleasant; 989-775-2337; Monday-Thursday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Mountain Town Station Restaurant & Brew Pub is a retired Mount Pleasant train depot given a new life and facelift. Though officially branded a steakhouse, daily specials like create-your-own pasta on Mondays and tacos and tequila on Tuesdays, paired with expansive vegetarian and gluten-free menus, allow Mountain Town to cater to a wide audience. Anything with “brisket” in the name (mac and cheese or nachos, to name a few) is a solid choice, in addition to its Wednesday sushi menu or broad meat selection any day of the week. After the meal, peek into the attached winery or brewery.
Photo via Mountain Town Station / Facebook
  Marine City Fish Company   240 S. Water St., Marine City; 810-765-5477; Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.
With memorabilia-lined walls and an eclectic menu, Marine City’s namesake fish company mirrors its city’s charm and character. Located near the banks of the St. Clair River, lunch or dinner at Marine City Fish Company should be the last stop on an exploration through the city. The menu has (obviously) a wide selection of fish, in addition to meats, pastas, and sandwiches, with simplified options for children. Make sure to try the homemade chips and check out the patio if its warm, or try the dessert menu inside and enjoy the home-like aesthetic on colder days. 
Photo via Marine City Fish Company / Facebook
Marine City Fish Company
240 S. Water St., Marine City; 810-765-5477; Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.
With memorabilia-lined walls and an eclectic menu, Marine City’s namesake fish company mirrors its city’s charm and character. Located near the banks of the St. Clair River, lunch or dinner at Marine City Fish Company should be the last stop on an exploration through the city. The menu has (obviously) a wide selection of fish, in addition to meats, pastas, and sandwiches, with simplified options for children. Make sure to try the homemade chips and check out the patio if its warm, or try the dessert menu inside and enjoy the home-like aesthetic on colder days.
Photo via Marine City Fish Company / Facebook
  MaMang  
300 E. First St., Flint; 810-394-8492; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Billed as Flint's only southeast Asian eatery serving "Vietnamese cuisine and Taiwanese treats inside the Flint Farmer's Market," MaMang is the product of chef Tony Vu, a master at fusing traditional and contemporary approaches from around the world. His offerings include dishes like the crispy Peking duck tacos with a sweet and sour pineapple salsa, or bun thit nuong with grilled lemongrass, caramel pork, spring rolls, cucumber, cilantro, shiso, Asian mint over vermicelli rice noodles, and a Vietnamese vinaigrette. But he's best known for his Texas Smoked Brisket Pho — a 20-hour post oak smoked brisket to match a 20-hour bone broth. Vu's professional cooking career launched with a food truck in 2014 following extensive trips to Vietnam and Peru. He now holds down a permanent spot at the Flint Farmers Market, from which he sources around 75 percent of the ingredients he uses during the summer months. Look for his recently opened spot in Traverse City.
Photo via MaMang / Facebook
MaMang
300 E. First St., Flint; 810-394-8492; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Billed as Flint's only southeast Asian eatery serving "Vietnamese cuisine and Taiwanese treats inside the Flint Farmer's Market," MaMang is the product of chef Tony Vu, a master at fusing traditional and contemporary approaches from around the world. His offerings include dishes like the crispy Peking duck tacos with a sweet and sour pineapple salsa, or bun thit nuong with grilled lemongrass, caramel pork, spring rolls, cucumber, cilantro, shiso, Asian mint over vermicelli rice noodles, and a Vietnamese vinaigrette. But he's best known for his Texas Smoked Brisket Pho — a 20-hour post oak smoked brisket to match a 20-hour bone broth. Vu's professional cooking career launched with a food truck in 2014 following extensive trips to Vietnam and Peru. He now holds down a permanent spot at the Flint Farmers Market, from which he sources around 75 percent of the ingredients he uses during the summer months. Look for his recently opened spot in Traverse City.
Photo via MaMang / Facebook
  Grand River Brewery   117 W. Louis Glick Hwy., Jackson; 517-962-2427; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Grand River Brewery is Jackson’s gathering spot: a completely renovated 85-year-old building with a comprehensive menu and daily specials. The brewery is rooted in social justice, and was originally created to be a focal point of urban rebirth for the embattled city. Grand River’s appetizer list makes the first course hard to skip, and its main courses range from Heart Attack Mac to Veggie Tacos. It also features an expansive menu of pizza and handhelds, not to mention the substantial dessert and brunch menus or taplist. 
Photo via Courtesy of Grand River Brewery / Twitter
Grand River Brewery
117 W. Louis Glick Hwy., Jackson; 517-962-2427; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Grand River Brewery is Jackson’s gathering spot: a completely renovated 85-year-old building with a comprehensive menu and daily specials. The brewery is rooted in social justice, and was originally created to be a focal point of urban rebirth for the embattled city. Grand River’s appetizer list makes the first course hard to skip, and its main courses range from Heart Attack Mac to Veggie Tacos. It also features an expansive menu of pizza and handhelds, not to mention the substantial dessert and brunch menus or taplist.
Photo via Courtesy of Grand River Brewery / Twitter