What’s a road trip without good food? Traverse Magazine Food Editor Tim Tebeau shares six must-visit restaurants for your Northern Michigan fall color tour in CadillacFrankfort, Traverse CityCharlevoix and beyond.

That French Place | 212 Bridge St., Charlevoix, 231.437.6037

That French Place is one of the North’s hottest gastro-destinations serving sublime French pastries, crêpes and handmade, artisanal ice creams crafted by owners Brian Freund and Emily Anderson (also check out Brian’s Ice Cream Experience). 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.

The Manitou
 | 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 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore—to feast on pecan-crusted rainbow trout, thick-cut rib-eyes or crispy duck with local cherry sauce.

Legs Inn
 | 6425 North Lake Shore Dr., 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. (Read this Traverse Magazine feature about the iconic Cross Village restaurant.)

Clam Lake Beer Company
 | 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.

Jolly Pumpkin | 13512 Peninsula Dr., 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 the parmesan-crusted mac and cheese.

Little Traverse Inn | 149 East Harbor Hwy., 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.

More Fall Fun + Vacation Ideas

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski