Don’t wait for the weather to bring the heat this year. Instead, head to one of these Northern Michigan restaurants.
The Roadhouse, 1058 Michigan Avenue, Benzonia, 231.882.9631 The essential fresh tomato, green chile, onion, lime juice, cilantro and spices harmonize in a hot, sweet, salty, tangy, south-of-the-border superlative. Tortilla chips beware.
Little Traverse Inn, 149 East Harbor Highway, Maple City, 231.228.2560 Watch the wind whirl on the south shore of Little Traverse Lake while chowing Chef Judy’s savory housemade ragouts and sharing a glass of Chianti Classico.
House of Doggs, 120 Union Street, Traverse City, 231.922.1348 The Jazz Dogg is dressed up with chili, Chicago fire mustard, Cholula hot sauce, jalapeños, banana peppers, onions and celery salt. It’s like Charlie Parker’s playing a flaming saxophone in your mouth. Order two.
Brady’s Bar, 401 South Union Street, Traverse City, 231.946.8153
Brady’s does this hallowed American bar staple proud. Deep-fried chicken wings are tossed with hot sauce and served with bleu cheese dressing and cold celery. Add cold beer. Be happy.
Red Mesa Grill, 117 Water Street, Boyne City, 231.582.0049 A spicy enchilada triumvirate of roasted chicken with tomato chipotle sauce, carnitas with chili verde, and grilled sirloin with guajillo pepper sauce. Add smoky refried pintos, Panama red rice and a mango margarita.
Thai Orchid, 433 East Mitchell Street, Petoskey 231.487.9900 Rich roast duck, sweet bell peppers, onions and Thai basil amplify a fiery red curry and coconut milk broth that delivers an umami slam dunk. Order it as hot as you dare.