Mario Batali, nationally-recognized restauranteur based in New York, turns his eye to the Northern Michigan food scene he loves in Leelanau County and Traverse City. Here are his top eight best food finds from Northern Michigan restaurants, groceries and specialty shops. Find all 41 best food finds from all four judges in our Best Eats of 2013.

Here are Mario’s eight picks of the pack:


Hansen Foods // 91 West Fourth Street, Suttons Bay // 231.271.4280

Flash the secret handshake at Hansen’s back deli counter and you might score a few of Miguel’s famous lunch enchiladas. Braised chicken or pork. Sassy enchilada sauce. Muy bueno.

Lake Effect

Village Cheese Shanty // 199 River Street, Leland // 231.256.9141

Sliced chicken breast, fresh goat cheese, lettuce, tomato and pesto mayonnaise. Mario likes it on the Cheese Shanty’s salty and proprietary pretzel bread.


Frenchies Famous // 619 Randolph Street, Traverse City // 231.944.1228

Two of the world’s great proteins, pastrami and eggs, harmonize in an airy French omelet infused with New York attitude.

Pulled Pork Sliders

The Garage // 108 Waukazoo Street, Northport  // 231.386.5511

House-smoked pork butt, sauce and crunchy slaw piled on mini-buns and washed down with cold beer. As if eating in a garage weren’t cool enough already.

photo-by-todd-zawistowski-_-traverse-magazine-_-march-2013Chubby Mary

The Cove (Rick’s Cafe) // 111 East River Street, Leland // 231.256.9834

It’s an omega-3 laden smoked chub vertically oriented in spicy homemade bloody mary mix with appropriately healthy vegetable garnishes. Every day should begin this way.

Glazed Cake Doughnut

Barb’s Bakery // 112 North Mill Street, Northport // 231.386.5851

Basic human happiness can always be found in a good doughnut, and Barb’s is as good as anybody’s. Moist, cakey batter with a crisp exterior and sweet sugar glaze.

Smackintosh Cider

Tandem Ciders // 2055 North Setterbo Road, Suttons Bay // 231.271.0050

Tandem’s hard apple alchemy commingles McIntosh, Rhode Island Greening and Northern Spy apples into a sweet, tart equilibrium. Pair with pickled eggs.

Kurobota Pork Belly Appetizer

Riverside Inn // 302 River Street, Leland // 231.256.9971

Highly prized acorn-fed Kurobota hog belly is braised tender, seared crispy and served with pear jam, apple cider gastrique and sourdough croutons; a sweet and salty delight.

Hungry yet?

We were. And being conveniently located in downtown Traverse City, the MyNorth staff stepped out for a day of eating. Check out our video tour of 6 stops featured in Traverse Magazine‘s Best Eats 2013.

Have more!

Don’t miss the other 36 picks from local Northern Michigan foodies:

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These 41 food finds are featured in the March 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Pick up your copy today at

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