History or food? Which do you like more? A new local business, Michigan Food Tours, is serving up generous helpings of both on its walking food tours of downtown Petoskey, Charlevoix and, coming soon, Traverse City.

Michigan Food Tours opened in June and is offering tours Thursday through Sunday from now until the end of August. In the fall, tours will be Friday through Sunday. Tours are three hours long and local guides share stories about downtown buildings and parks in between stops at six local eateries and shops where guests sample favorite menu items. 

“I heard about food tours in other towns,” says founder and owner Mary Grace Otis, “and I thought, ‘Why don’t we have something like that?’ It seemed like the perfect opportunity to start a business that would showcase our great restaurants and downtown areas for all of the visitors who come to this area looking for things to do.”  

But the tour is not only for tourists, Otis explains. “Even locals will learn something new and most likely sample something they haven’t tasted before. It would be a great outing for a business team, a wedding party, a date or a group of friends looking for something fun to do together.”

Tour guide Sally McCoy helped research and write much of the history for the Petoskey tour. “It is fascinating to learn more about the old hotels, railroads and restaurants,” she says. “There’s so much history in Petoskey.” 

Tour guests can expect to walk about 1.4 miles during the course of the three-hour tour, with frequent stops along the way. 

Taylor Huntman, a Petoskey tour guide, says her love for both the town and food is what drew her to get involved. “I moved here two years ago because I absolutely love this town,” she says. “I’ve gotten very involved in the food scene and felt that the food tours would be a great way to connect with people and introduce them to all that I enjoy here.”

Michigan Food Tours plans to open a Happy Hour Tour in Petoskey in the next few weeks and is currently finalizing the stops. In addition, they are actively seeking Traverse City restaurants and tour guides with a plan to open tours there in August (interested parties can submit applications online). 

Depending on the town, you may sample street tacos, chilled cherry soup, Aussie meat pies, brisket sliders, paella and more. For a full listing of restaurant partners and more details about each tour, visit MichiganFoodTours.com. Book your tour online, or call 231-487-2369 for more information or to set up a private tour. Tours can accommodate up to 14 guests.

Photo(s) by Vanessa Brooke Photography