Part of the excitement of travel is not only visiting popular destinations but experiencing their unique cuisine, too! So when you are driving through the Upper Peninsula, don’t just stop off for dinner at a chain restaurant you can dine at back home. Try our local eateries. We promise, even though we could eat fudge and pasties all day any day, that there is much more to our menu than that. Follow this ultimate Upper Peninsula food tour and see how many stops you can cross off.
Eastern Upper Peninsula food stops
Esther’s Authentic Mexican Cuisine, Drummond Island
This authentic Mexican restaurant uses fresh ingredients to make its amazing salsa and an extensive selection of traditional Mexican dishes and Americanized favorites.
Bayside Dining, Drummond Island
This fine dining experience is Drummond Island’s only waterfront restaurant! Located at the Drummond Island Resort & Conference Center, enjoy the chef’s delicious small plates and a full bar while overlooking beautiful Potagannissing Bay on a wrap-around deck. Make sure to ask about the daily specials.
Clyde’s Drive-In, St. Ignace & Sault Ste. Marie
Swing by Clyde’s Drive-In to eat a ¾-pound Big C burger, grab a malt and stretch out your legs before continuing on your trip. Don’t worry, they also have several smaller sandwiches to choose from for those of you with smaller appetites! To get a headstart, call in your order when you’re about 20 minutes out from their Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace locations. Be sure to check their individual Facebook pages because this joint is always featuring fun fried foods, slushies and different desserts. Although there is limited seating inside, you can always drive a few minutes to the shores of Lakes Huron or Superior. This business accepts cash only.
West Pier Drive-In, Sault Ste. Marie
West Pier Drive-In has awesome burgers, and no-frills American fare like sandwiches, hot dogs and sides. Pair the meal with their waterfront views and it’s a hit!
The Wicked Sister, Sault Ste. Marie
The Wicked Sister is a family-friendly bar and grill that ownership likes to compare to a mullet: party in the front, business in the back. Their mission is to be playful and fun, but they’re serious about making you delicious, creative food from scratch using fresh ingredients. Do yourself a favor and order the Drunken Cow Burger — homemade beer cheese, beer caramelized onions and bacon combine forces in this irresistibly juicy burger that will have you wiping your chin on your shirt!
If you aren’t a burger person, no worries. Try the Roasted and Stuffed ‘Shrooms or Hot Honey Pork Tenderloin. The menu also includes gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. Save room for dessert! The Cookie Dough Egg Rolls are to die for.
Tahquamenon Falls Brewery, Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Earn yourself some bragging points by dining at Michigan’s only brewery within a state park.
Enjoy the warmth and genuine ambiance of the lumber camp and fire while indulging in fine hearty dining and the refreshing taste of hand crafted beer and root beer. Take home a fine native gift or souvenir from the Camp 33 Gift Shop next door.
Central Upper Peninsula food stops
Clyde’s Drive-In, Manistique
This classic drive-in has three, cash-only locations throughout the U.P., one of which is in Manistique. Although they are known for their ¾-pound Big C burger, there are smaller treats, too! Pick from malts, small burgers and specialty fried foods. We suggest calling your order in when you are 20 minutes out to reduce your wait time. Then, take a drive to the Lake Michigan shoreline for a picnic. Be sure to check the Facebook page because this joint is always featuring fun treats!
Dunes Saloon & Lake Superior Brewing Company, Grand Marais
Dunes Saloon/Lake Superior Brewing Company has a full menu of home-cooked goods like burgers and ribs paired with a nice craft beer. For your younger ones, they also have root beer! Enjoy these while overlooking the Lake Superior shoreline and rock and mineral displays. When you head out, get some homemade beer and pop to go. If you like to watch behind the scenes, ask about the brewery’s tours.
Tracey’s at Roam Inn, Munising
Come for the top-notch presentation of Tracey’s eclectic fare. Pick from a variety of small plates, steak, salmon, chicken and surf n’ turf options. Choose from either Creme Brulee or “Good Ol’ Chocolate Cake” for dessert.
Elizabeth’s Chop House, Marquette
Arguably some of the finest dining in the Upper Peninsula, the Chop House has blended historical old with fashionable new. They say many guests have commented on the atmosphere's likeness to that of a fine New York City restaurant. Start with a glass of one of their 100 wines or a Cosmo at the bar. Then, choose from one of the finest cuts of prime beef or fresh seafood like lobster, Alaskan King Crab, soft shell crab, fresh-shucked oysters or escolar. Cap off the meal with a freshly created gourmet dessert.
Lagniappe A Cajun Creole Eatery & Voodoo Bar, Marquette
No need to travel to New Orleans, stepping into Lagniappe is like stepping out of Marquette and into Louisiana! Every menu item and ingredient is made from scratch in house — with the exception of ice cream. We will give them a pass because it’s that good, though.
If you’re afraid of spice, fear not. Lagniappe cooks with spice as a flavor and not to pack heat! The menu has over 100 items on it, and only a handful of those are the authentic Louisiana culinary classics that may have you sipping your drink a little faster. Give their cajun foods a try — legend has it that even visitors from Louisiana and the south have been wowed!
Tino’s Bar & Pizza, Negaunee
You’ve been traveling around long enough; enter the Cudighi. It’s hard to say, but fun to eat! Tino's Bar & Pizza is famous for their pizza and family sauce recipe, but especially for their signature cudighi (could-dig-hee) made with fresh, quality ingredients. Word of mouth and praises for this U.P. plate even made their way to the Travel Channel! Think of the cudighi as a sandwich with an italian sausage patty on a bun with pizza sauce, onion and mozzarella cheese. Now add in Tino’s secret family recipe that’s been a local favorite for decades. Is your mouth watering yet?
Freshwater Tavern, Gladstone
Overlooking Lake Michigan, you’ll enjoy this comfort food with a twist. With an Asian culinary influence, the chef makes his own sauces, batters, most dressings and pickles. Popular dishes include Korean BBQ ribs, seared ahi tuna and Thai curry shrimp and scallops. We also recommend the shrimp, scallop and fried shallot risotto, the Nashville hot chicken sandwich or amazing 14-oz. ribeye with fiery blue cheese butter. But it doesn’t stop there! Freshwater Tavern has handcrafted 10 signature, pre-prohibition classic cocktails featuring spirits from Michigan distilleries. The diverse, flavorful menu is changed seasonally to offer the freshest possible ingredients. Get a big-city experience without ever leaving Gladstone!
Trenary Toast, Trenary
This twice-baked Swedish coffee bread known as Trenary Toast has been a U.P. favorite since 1928. Choose from a variety of flavors from plain to cinnamon to cardamon to vanilla or get a sampler pack. Dip it in a hot beverage or slather with a creamy topping such as butter or your favorite nut butter. All Trenary Toast comes in a brown bag and will keep for a year! Buy it right off the shelves at the Trenary Bakery or one of hundreds of locations in the U.P. and beyond.
The Stonehouse, Escanaba
Dinner features include steaks, seafood, prime rib, chops and more. Many of the entrees are cooked on their wood-fired grill. If you’re stopping by The Stonehouse for lunch, choose from a variety of sandwiches, salads and entrees. Or, just swing by to relax with a cocktail or glass of wine in the Carport Lounge. Reservations are encouraged!
Elk & Hound, Ironwood
Enjoy lunch or dinner on the golf course at Elk & Hound with a large variety across the menu! The tasty food and portion sizes will leave you satisfied and returning again and again. If you're looking to relax and unwind, they’re the perfect place to stop for a bite. If you aren’t too hungry but want to relax in a peaceful setting, stop by their full service bar for a drink and appetizer.
Joe’s Pasty Shop, Ironwood
Okay, okay. We had to include one pasty stop just in case you have yet to try one of our U.P. staple foods! Joe's Pasty Shop has been family owned since 1946, so you know they must be doing something right. Choose from the traditional beef, potato and onion, chicken, cornish, Finnish, veggie and breakfast pasty. While we can all go for a pasty, we are relatively divided on what the best dipping sauce is. Ketchup or gravy? At Joe’s, it’s a ketchup only world and you gravy guys and gals are just living in it. Give it a try!
Spiro's Downtown Restaurant, Iron Mountain
Spiro's serves up both local and artisan mouthwatering cuisine. The process starts with fresh ingredients and high standards, and the result is a mix of modern-creative and traditional cooking prepared fresh daily. They also pride themselves on having one of the area’s best wine selections, too. There’s a seat for you beer lovers as well. From tasty imports to regional favorites, there’s a terrific selection awaiting. And a full bar for you cocktail drinkers!
Western Upper Peninsula food stops
The Cozy Inn Bar & Grill, Nestoria
The Cozy Inn features the Cozy Burger, famous for its Cozy Olive Spread. Each patty is hand-shaped fresh and served with homemade hand-cut french fries. If burgers aren’t for you, that’s okay, because they also serve their world-famous fresh lake trout and whitefish baskets. Homemade is the theme here, but the only finger you have to lift is to pick it up and eat it!
Skipper’s Bar & Grill, L’Anse
Choose from Mexican, Chinese, American fare and fish on a menu of fun food, then eat it overlooking the beautiful Keweenaw Bay at Skipper’s.
The Ambassador, Houghton
Earn more bragging rights by eating at this historic setting! The Ambassador was the first place to sell pizza in the town, home of Michigan Tech University. Not only is the original pizza recipe tasty enough to make it into the Pizza Magazine Pizza Hall of Fame, but the atmosphere deserves a nod, too. The dining room overlooks the dazzling Portage Lake, but the real stars are the murals on canvas that are displayed from the turn of the 20th century. They were installed by the brewery predating the pizzeria just after Prohibition ended.
From the hand-rolled thin-crust to the award-winning, taco-on-a-pizza Tostada, the Ambassador doesn’t offer discounts or promotions because they say their best advertisement is on your plate. Stop by to see what they are talking about!
Fitzgerald’s Restaurant, Eagle River
It’s simple at Fitzgerald's Restaurant. Amazing smokehouse barbeque, fine whisky and craft beer on the shores of Lake Superior. Need we say more?
The Jampot, Eagle Harbor
This is one of the best places to get thimbleberry jam. These small, delicate berries grow wild in the U.P. and are widely sought after by locals and visitors. Their unique tart flavor, similar to raspberries and currants, makes the perfect jam and jelly to spread on muffins and toast. Pick up a jar of thimbleberry jam at The Jampot.
Curious Pig, Crystal Falls
While we think all of these are necessary stops, we have to admit, the Curious Pig is a MUST TRY. Their epic barbeque comes from over 20 years of food service experience. It’s the product of a BBQ smoker and a passion for flavor’s collision. Try the BBQ pizza!
Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing Company, Calumet
When you first walk into this cafe and brewpub, you’ll immediately make note of the large ceiling murals painted by the Milwaukee Artist’s Association depicting a happy brew-filled picnic, dated 1906. If that sounds old, the building itself has been around since 1895!
Enjoy soup, sandwiches, burgers, fish, salad, entrees, appetizers and coffee brewed by Keweenaw Coffee Works. But make sure to try some of their popular handcrafted beer. Choose from Oatmeal Espress Stout, Brown Ale and the Smooth Trail Pale Ale. Their website has great suggestions for pairing your drink with menu items!
The Konteka, White Pine
It’s not every day that you see a bear, and it’s certainly not every day that you can be close enough to watch them safely either. You can do both at The Konteka. Their excellent dining atmosphere has great views of wild bears in the summer and deer in the winter. Peruse their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus while watching wildlife out the window, or bowl on one of their eight alley lanes. Ask about the weekend specials, too!
If you’re journeying across the U.P., especially the Eastern region, you are likely to find yourself at Mackinac Island. It’s famous for the history, lack of cars, built-in bike workout and of course, fudge. As a tourist yourself, you are fondly referred to as a fudgie. So why not own up to the name and enjoy some food while you’re there, too?
Take a Fudge Crawl
One of the first things you’ll notice when you step onto the main drag of Mackinac Island is the growing number of fudge shops down the stretch. As you pass by each one, you’ll catch the delightful, wafting scent of a variety of fresh treats being made on marble table tops. You can usually stop in to watch the process, too! Friendly employees will sometimes even give a warm fudge sample to the wide-eyed, watching children.
What is unique about the fudge on Mackinac Island is that this tradition and the many storefronts are all intertwined while being owned by separate people. Some of the fudge makers learned from each other, then opened their own storefronts. Many recipes and shops have been passed down through several generations, too. Check out the fudge shops listed on Mackinac Island’s website to explore the variety of flavors. Some places play it safe with traditional ones like chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla, while others throw in dark chocolate and cherry chip, butterfinger, lilac and espresso — talk about a pick me up!
You’ll also find several of these shops make chocolate turtles, ice cream, caramel corn, sugar-free fudge, salt water taffy and so much more. Samples are free, so we suggest a fudge crawl before you buy. This just means stopping in each place to grab a sample, then going back to purchase your favorites. Don’t forget to ask about ongoing deals, too!
You can store your fudge on the counter for about a week once it is opened or freeze it for up to a year. You never want to put it in the fridge though because it will dry out. Once you’ve finished your stash, it’s time to come back or purchase some online!
The Pink Pony is hard to miss. You’ll likely hear live music overflowing onto Main Street from the small stage inside. The lively environment pairs well with appetizers like pretzels and beer cheese, honey apple brie flatbread and smoked whitefish dip. Select a meal from a variety of American fare varying in price. It isn’t a visit to the Pony though without one of their signature cocktails! Enjoy them at your table, or sit out back at the bar overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. Night or day, this view is gorgeous as the water glimmers and ferries come floating into the dock.
Plan your food tour now!
Now you have the list, it’s time to look at menus and make a plan. Map out the ultimate food tour and update us on social by tagging #uptravel. We want to know your favorites and any we may have missed! Book your stay on our website, and pack your bibs — it’s munch time.