Where to Eat Brunch in Northern Michigan

Read on as Sunday morning hunger leads us to some of Northern Michigan’s best brunches.

THE LOCAL | Elk Rapids | 231.498.2190

Washed in a warm spring sun and lured by aromas of fresh coffee and the smoky sizzle of Ebel’s bacon, hungry patrons queue beside The Local’s outdoor patio to claim a breakfast seat. Inside, corrugated steel panels accent the diner’s black leather booths and old-fashioned bar stools, which are packed full with a weekend crowd swooning over housemade signatures like banana bread French toast, stuffed hash browns and fresh biscuits with black pepper sausage gravy. In the kitchen, chef and proprietress Jamie Wentworth and her team flip giant vanilla buttermilk pancakes and pull toasty trays of housemade granola from the oven. Working with local meats and farm-fresh veggies, The Local’s breakfast menu is anchored by airy omelets, hearty southern-inspired breakfast favorites like the chicken biscuit sandwich and lighter on-trend offerings like avocado toast with egg whites and fresh fruit.

THE CRYSTAL CAFÉ | Benzonia | 231.882.9565

Benzie’s hungry masses flock to caramel-slathered bananas Foster waffles and breakfast burgers stacked with ham, egg and cheese.

THE FRANKLIN | Traverse City | 231.943.2727

Power up with beef brisket hash or salmon Benedict washed down with signature morning cocktails like the Salzburger Spritz.

RED SPIRE BRUNCH HOUSE | Traverse City | 231.252.4686

Morning in the Mercato means asparagus and Gruyère omelets or decadent red velvet pancakes with cream-cheese topping.

CAFE SANTÉ | Boyne City | 231.582.8800

Make it a bon matin with quiche Lorraine, savory frittatas, house-cured bacon and mix-your-own mimosa cart.

SMALL BATCH AT THE CUPOLA | Harbor Springs | 231.242.4686

This decadent Harbor Springs dining room serves up carrot cake waffles, lemon ricotta pancakes and avocado toast on grilled focaccia.


where to eat brunchFoodie File: Chef/Owner Jamie Wentworth of The Local

Chef Jamie Wentworth opened The Local in 2015 to establish a community gathering place built around honest scratch-made cooking and local ingredients. Jamie’s menu pulls from a comfort-food playbook informed by her childhood in the South and inspired by years in the restaurant industry. We sit down with her to talk vintage delights and learn the secret behind her banana bread French toast.

What goes into The Local’s scratch-made staples?
My philosophy is that to make good food, everything has to be fresh. We make all of our granola in-house, and Southern-style sausage gravy and biscuits get made every morning.

Map out the ideal brunch spread for us.
It has to begin with really good coffee. As far as food goes, I think brunch is best with a balance of sweet and savory. We offer all our sweet housemade items à la carte so you can get just one piece of banana bread French toast beside your omelet or stuffed hash browns.

Can you please declassify the secrets of banana bread French toast?
This is something that wins everyone over. It starts with a moist loaf of banana bread, homemade is best but store bought works if you’re short on time. Cut into one-inch slices, dip them in egg wash, and coat the slices in crushed cornflakes. Then put them on a buttered griddle at medium heat until they turn golden brown. We like to serve it with maple syrup and cinnamon butter.

Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. [email protected] Dave Weidner is a freelance photographer based in Traverse City. [email protected]


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