Not all the adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are breathtaking wilderness trails, gorgeous Great Lakes or fascinating centuries upon centuries of backstory. Although eating may seem like a mundane part of vacation, our regional cuisine tasting adventures can be some of the best parts of your visit. Start down a path trying these unique Upper Peninsula foods, and you’ll be eating like a local in no time.
Pasties (pronounced pass-tees) are an iconic U.P. meal. These savory meat pies were the original fast-food of copper miners and lumberjacks. Brought here from the mining region of Cornwell, England, U.P. wives would fill the rolled-out dough with leftover beef, potato, onion and rutabaga, fold the pastry in half, seal the edges and bake. The miners would take these golden pastries into the mines and reheat them on a shovel over their lantern candles. Today, you can buy them steamy hot with a variety of fillings from these local shops. Don’t go back home without eating at least one!
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 any of these UP stores:
The Jam Lady, Eagle River: A five-generation, family-run business creating handmade wild berry products.
The Jampot, Eagle Harbor: All these goods are sure to delight, and they’re made with the finest local, regional, natural and organic ingredients available. Purchasing from the Jampot supports the Holy Protection Monastery, a Byzantine Catholic monastery.
Thimbleberry Shoppe, Copper Harbor: Step back in time and discover a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, complete with tasty treats!
Some of the best tasting freshwater fish you will ever have is whitefish reeled in from the deep, cold waters of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior. With a firmer flesh and more delicate flavor than fish caught from warmer waters, you will enjoy every tasty morsel baked, broiled or pan-fried at these locations. Also, check out the Fish Fries (typically on Fridays) — they are a U.P. tradition!
Chamberlin’s Ole Forest Inn Restaurant, Curtis: Enjoy fresh whitefish.
Freshwater Tavern, Gladstone: Choose from smoked whitefish dip and pita chips, whitefish sandwich on a pretzel bun and yellow Thai curry shrimp and whitefish. Your choice comes with a view of the Little Bay de Noc, too.
The Vierling Restaurant, Marquette: Features Lake Superior whitefish.
This spicy Italian sausage originated in northern Italy, but many claim it’s an Ishpeming original. Check out these spots for the best cudighi.
Congress Pizza, Ishpeming: Truly unique thin crispy crust, fresh homemade sauce & 100% mozzarella cheese — all brick-oven baked.
Tino’s Bar & Pizza, Negaunee: Home of the world-famous Italian sausage cudighi made from a secret family recipe. A local favorite for generations!
Ralph's Italian Deli, Ishpeming: Award-winning cudighi!
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 one of hundreds of locations in the U.P. and beyond.
You can’t talk U.P. food without mentioning craft beer. After all, Michigan is becoming one of the hottest brewery tour destinations in America and you’ll find that beer tastes better UP here!
Start planning now!
Which of these U.P. foods are you most curious about trying? Customize a “Taste of the U.P.” itinerary and have fun discovering deliciousness along the way. Book your hotel in advance, too. Several of our lodging options have restaurants inside with their own unique meals to eat. Be sure to ask them what they’d recommend for you to try next!