You’ll never be bored—or hungry—anywhere in Northern Michigan. This season, sift through a boatload of brand new Northern Michigan restaurants. Remember to pace yourself; you won’t want to miss a bite of these exciting new hot spots.

Whether you’re hungry for smoked brisket, bao buns, sashimi or ceviche, this year the North has a bumper crop of new eateries to explore. Read on as we eat our way through 10 new Northern Michigan restaurants.

Small Batch

117 West Main Street | Harbor Springs | 231.242.4655

Cross the street-side threshold of Lauretta Reiss’s Small Batch Bakery and Café in Harbor Springs and enter an olfactory dreamscape of caramelized sugar, heady baking spices and fresh herbs. A vintage rotary-style dessert case spins moist multi-tiered carrot cake and a mounded dish of chicken salad folded with almonds, grapes and fresh tarragon. Behind an eye-level wall of red shutters, shiny glass cake stands house tall stacks of raspberry bars, lemon butterfly cakes and sea salt-studded chocolate chip cookies. Not solely a sweet tooth emporium, Small Batch showcases a seasonally revolving dine-in or take-out breakfast and lunch menu of glass jar parfaits with strata of fruit, yogurt, honey and granola, airy quiches, housemade soups and fusionistic lunch offerings like the Diggity: an L.A.-style bacon-wrapped dog with tomato, avocado and scallions on a salty pretzel roll.

This summer Small Batch expanded with satellite sit-down dining service for breakfast, and lunch a few blocks away in the elegantly appointed Cupola Room.

Small Batch slide show:

Sparks BBQ

439 East Front Street | Traverse City | 231.633.7800

Giving a brick and mortar home to his beloved mobile barbecue pit, Dean Sparks is now slingin’ hardwood smoked meats on East Front Street.

White on Rice

510 West Fourteenth Street | Traverse City | 231.633.7423

A bona fide sushi addition to the North. Mow on red tuna nigiri or signatures like the mango-laced sweet and spicy tiger roll.

West End Tavern

12719 South West Bayshore Drive | Traverse City | 231.943.2922

Sip craft cocktails and devour succulent wood-roasted chicken with lemon rosemary jus amid panoramic views of West Bay at Apache Trout Grill’s hip, rustic sister restaurant.


144 Hall Street #107 | Traverse City | 231.642.5545

An alliance between Pete Peterson of Tapawingo and Chef James Bloomfield, this chic shared-plate concept serves creative modern cuisine like braised collard greens with coconut milk or beef tartare with egg yolk and kimchi.


136 East Front Street | Traverse City

Harvest chef/proprietor Simon Joseph brings umami to the people with his new Front Street Japanese eatery serving legit ramen, bao buns and craft sakés.

Mama Lu’s

149 East Front Street | Traverse City | 231.943.2793

Warm housemade tortillas are piled with slow-roasted meats and served with fresh guac and zippy margaritas at TC’s new downtown taqueria.

Tap Room 32

141 North Court Avenue | Gaylord | 989.748.8552

Hit up Gaylord’s Tap Room 32 for 20 handles of Michigan craft beers and a menu of modern brew-friendly vittles like truffle fries and Korean beef tacos.

7 Monks Taproom

202 Lake Street | Boyne City | 231.421.8410

7 Monks launches a second location in Boyne City serving up rustic charcuterie boards, fried Brussels sprouts, Monk ’n’ Cheese and a universe of artisan brews to wash it all down.

The Fillmore

318 River Street | Manistee | 231.887.4121

Following a mantra of “inspiring local love.” Discover fresh local ingredients inventively prepared.

More Northern Michigan Food & Drink

Cooking Up Four Famous Northern Michigan Fishes

Secret Garden at Brys Estate Enchants Visitors

Harwood Gold Cafe Carries on Charlevoix Family Tradition


This article was published in the July 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner