These Northern Michigan restaurants leverage summer’s bounty of produce to craft fresh, inspired cuisine from garden to plate. Celebrate the taste of summer with the North’s best garden-to-table menus.
303 N. Saint St., Suttons Bay | 231.271.1175
Wren’s weekly menu rises from a fusillade of Monday morning text messages sent by Chef Adam McMarlin’s network of farmers and foragers at Loma Farm, Lakeview Hills and 9 Bean Rows. Fennel bulbs. Green zebra tomatoes. Wild watercress. Cattail shoots. Peaches. Shortly thereafter Adam is at the kitchen door to receive them: buckets of wild greens flecked with earth and bushels of bright striated tomatoes warmed by the morning sun. Then the work begins in this bustling kitchen of two as McMarlin and his longtime culinary accomplice, Dustin Scheppe, shave ears of sweet corn to be simmered with shallots, thyme and cream. Day picked vegetables and herbs submerge in brine to provide a tangy acid foil to rich chicken liver mousse. Tender ribbons of fresh fettuccine, one of Wren’s power centers, are rolled out to receive a sauté of summer mushrooms. Bitter greens, bright acids and earthy umami coalesce into the precise and temporal beauty that has marked McMarlin’s food since he hit the Up North food scene in 2010 with his first project, The Bay Leaf.
Photo by Dave Weidner
BIRCH & MAPLE
727 Main St., Frankfort | 231.399.0399
Thick cut tomatoes from Cold Creek Farm anchor a tasty threesome with lavender thyme balsamic and airy fresh burrata.
HEARTH & VINE CAFÉ
10844 E. Revold Rd., Suttons Bay | 231.944.1297
See your lunch plucked from the gardens and orchards surrounding Black Star’s bucolic farmstead café.
THE COOKS’ HOUSE
115 Wellington St., Traverse City | 231.946.8700
Expect sublime seasonal meditations like butter roasted walleye with summer mushrooms, foie gras cream and sunflower sprouts.
TORCH LAKE CAFE
4990 US 31, Central Lake | 231.599.1111
Chef Catalin Munteanu puts a made-in-the-Mitten spin on fettuccine with Otto’s chicken, King Orchards asparagus, and local mushrooms.
13512 Peninsula Dr., Traverse City | 231.223.4222
Glimpse the sliver ripples on Bowers Harbor between bites of salt-roasted beets with Werp Farms greens, maple yogurt and red wine vin.
12853 US-31 North, Charlevoix | 231.237.9300
Day caught almond panko crusted lake trout bedded in fresh vegetables from Providence Farm.
422 Mitchell St., Petoskey | 231.881.9800
Local flora and fauna fondly commingle in Pour’s Rabbit Fricassee with fava beans, sweet peas and earthy oyster mushrooms.
POND HILL FARM
5699 South Lake Shore Dr., Harbor Springs | 231.526.3276
The tzatziki salad’s juicy cukes and sweet sungold cherry tomatoes make a hundred foot journey from earth to plate at Pond Hill Farm’s Garden Café.