What is a Northern Michigan fall color tour without great restaurants and food finds along the way? Food writer Tim Tebeau offers must-stop Northern Michigan dining options no matter what Northern Michigan fall color tour vista you seek, from Frankfort to Traverse City, Cadillac to Charlevoix and beyond. This article ran originally in the October 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
212 Bridge Street, Charlevoix, 231.437.6037
That French Place has rapidly embedded itself as one of the North’s hottest new gastro-destinations serving sublime French pastries, crêpes and handmade, artisanal ice creams crafted by owners Brian Freund and Emily Anderson. Locally sourced produce from farms like Friske’s and Providence populate the rotating chalkboard menu divided between sweet and savory crêpe preparations filled with local fruit preserves or Plath’s bacon with farm eggs and cheese.
4349 M22, Frankfort, 231.882.4761
Bask in the red gold beauty of Benzie’s hillsides en route to The Manitou—ensconced on a tree-shrouded bend of M22 within the National Lakeshore—to feast on pecan-crusted rainbow trout, thick-cut rib-eyes or crispy duck with local cherry sauce.
6425 North Lake Shore Drive, Cross Village, 231.526.2281
The serpentine turns along M119’s brightly colored Tunnel of Trees lead to Legs Inn where soul-warming borscht, smoked kielbasa and piles of pierogies wait among a fantasia of woodcarvings.
106 South Mitchell, Cadillac, 231.775.6150
Brick-fired sausage and goat cheese pizzas, salty fried pretzel bites and legit two-handed burgers complement 40 craft tap handles to cap off a color tour in the Manistee National Forest.
13512 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, 231.223.4333
Get an eyeful of blazing hardwoods with a hike at Old Mission Peninsula’s tip, then drive the rolling hectares of Old Mission orchards and vineyards before re-fortifying with a pint of Bam Noire and a crock of cassoulet at Jolly Pumpkin.
149 East Harbor Highway, Maple City, 231.228.2560
Pillowy Yorkshire puddings, housemade haggis and artfully ale-battered fish and chips pair brilliantly with the cask-drawn brews at this picturesque gastro-pub in the leafy heart of Leelanau County.