Not all the adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are breathtaking wilderness trails, gorgeous Great Lakes or its fascinating centuries upon centuries of backstory. Our regional cuisine tasting adventures can be some of the best parts of your visit. Try these U.P.-centric 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. Legend says the miners would take these golden pastries into the mines and re-heat 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
The Jampot, Eagle Harbor
Northwoods General Store & Coffeehouse, Wakefield
Thimbleberry Shoppe, Copper Harbor
The Wood’n Spoon, Mohawk
Great Lakes Whitefish
Some of the best tasting freshwater fish you will ever have is whitefish reeled in from the deep, cold waters of Lakes Michigan and Superior. With a firmer flesh and a 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!
Brown Fisheries Fish House, Paradise
The Buck Inn, Escanaba
The Dock Grill and Bar, Garden
The Fish Basket, Munising
Fitzgerald’s, Eagle River
Freshwater Inn, Gladstone
Gunslingers Saloon, Sault Ste. Marie
Hudson’s Classic Grill, Marquette
Joey’s Seafood & Grill, Houghton
Log Cabin on the Bay, Gladstone
Nahma Inn, Nahma
Peterson’s Fish Market/4-Suns Fish & Chips Outdoor Cafe, Hancock
Quincy’s, Dollar Bay
Swallow Inn, Rapid River
Thills Fish House, Marquette
Up North Lodge, Gwinn
Wildwood Truckstop & Restaurant, Hermansville
This spicy Italian sausage originated in northern Italy, but many claim it’s an Ishpeming original. Check out Congress Pizza, Lawry’s Pasty Shop, Paisanos Pizza & Cudighi or Ralph’s Italian Deli, to find the best.
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 Tenary Bakery (in Tenary) or one of the 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! Pick your U.P. brewpub stops.
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.