Let’s be honest. Brunch is the best. And these Northern Michigan brunch spots know what they’re doing. Chase the brunch buzz from Traverse City to Harbor Springs in some of the North’s primo eateries with Traverse food and wine editor Tim Tebeau.

Mustang Wendy’s

129 East Bay Street | Harbor Springs | 231.242.4810

Comfortable on cowhide upholstered high-backs and leather banquettes, the weekend brunch crowd at Mustang Wendy’s in Harbor Springs chows on short-rib hash and Benedict breakfast nachos. Decorated with barn wood, poured concrete and arty photographs of horses and hotrods, this Tex-Mex–inspired Western chic bistro could just as easily be in Aspen or Big Sky, where chef/owner Wendy Wagner worked for Boyne Resorts before unleashing her cowgirl concept in Northern Michigan.

Serving morning, noon and night, Mustang Wendy’s is driven by fusing Southwestern American and Latin flavors in dishes like the Eggs Hemingway, with house-smoked trout, roasted tomatoes and Yukon gold hash slathered in savory chipotle hollandaise. The signature Wild West Burger is a compound grind of elk, bison and beef with pickled Serrano chiles, and the dinner menu offers dynamic black bean cakes with chili butter or blackened pheasant breast with savory bread pudding. The bar is well-stocked with small batch bourbon, Wendy’s favorite, and serves up a boozy titillation with proprietary cocktails like the PPD (pink panty dropper) or pints of custom-brewed Reverse Cowgirl Imperial Pilsner. Check out this Traverse Magazine interview with Wendy Wagner to find out how she makes her perfect potatoes!

The Crystal Café

11681 Benzie Highway | Benzonia | 231.882.9565

Get your late-morning binge on with signature breakfast confections like bananas Foster waffles and blueberry cream French toast or savory plates like the Porky’s Paddle: eggs, taters, cheese and pulled pork.

The Franklin

160 East Front Street | Traverse City | 231.943.2727

Vanquish Saturday night with a Sunday morning feed at The Franklin on savory frittata, housemade biscuits and gravy and a host of top-shelf cocktails like the Ferndale 75, with Old Tom gin, orange bitters and M.Lawrence bubbly.

Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen

617 Ames Street | Elk Rapids | 231.264.0530

Chicory coffee and Mason jar bloody Marys help to wash down fiery bayou brunch creations like crawfish or Tasso Benedict at Elk Rapids’ beloved Big Easy eatery.

Twisted Olive

319 Bay Street | Petoskey | 231.487.1230

Enjoy Eggs Monaco with saffron hollandaise or a decadent Croque Madame while taking in the glittering blue expanse of Little Traverse Bay.

Brutus Camp Deli

4086 US 31 North | Brutus | 231.529.2222

The camo-clad grill crew at Brutus Camp Deli slings lumberjack portions of hash, pancakes and Plath’s breakfast meats for your morning delectation.

May cover


These Northern Michigan brunch spots were originally published in the May 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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Photo(s) by Dave Weidner