Whether your Traverse City Film Festival film-watching is at the State Theatre, the City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, Lars Hockstad Auditorium or the Milliken Auditorium at Dennos Museum, we’ve scoped out the sweetest and swankiest Traverse City restaurants and good food spots within a short walk of your venue. NOTE: Several Traverse City Film Festival venues are in or near downtown Traverse City, so be sure to check out the restaurant suggestions in every venue!
Whet your appetite for blockbuster restaurant choices at the east end of Front Street. Snag coffee and light breakfasts at Crema (E. FRONT AND PARK, 231-421-5282) or Stonehouse Bakery (202 E. STATE ST., 231-421-8282), or go for a booth
and bacon and eggs at the Omelette Shoppe (124 CASS, 231-946-0912).
Lunch and dinner, appease your appetite along the hip, haute bistros on Front between Cass and Park. Amical (229 E. FRONT, 231-941-8888), Red Ginger (237 E. FRONT, 231-944-1733), Phil’s on Front (236 E. FRONT, 231-929-1710) and Cooks’ House (439 E. FRONT, 231-946-8700).
Maybe Catherine Deneuve never ate at Pâtisserie Amie (237 LAKE, 231-922-9645,), but the breakfast and lunch establishment does speak fluent French with dishes like crepes, omelets, steak frites and pastries to die for. Fill up on lighter fare—stoned baked pizza, hot “swiches”, robust salad bar—kitty-corner to the Playhouse at the brand new Swiches Deli (8TH AND CASS, 231-947-9424). Also, find a nice wine selection to take with.
For lunch or dinner, find Firefly (310 CASS, 231-932-1310,) a block north of the Playhouse—a riverside bistro where the cuisine journeys from sushi-to-tapas. Or, head a block west for hip home cooking and over 50 varieties of Michigan microbrews at the Blue Tractor Cookshop (423 S. UNION, 231-922-9515).
Find several wonderful eateries serving this queen of the Cass to Union block of Front Street. Morsels (CASS AND FRONT,
231-421-1353) sports a spacious patio to sip java-licious Intelligentsia coffee, nibble bite-sized pastries or bite into more substantial lunch and breakfast fare. The Dish (108 S. UNION, 231-932-2233) does the order-at-the-counter wrap and quesadilla up right, or sit down for your fill-up at the Green House Café (115 EAST FRONT, 231-929-SOUP).
With its eclectic lunch and dinner menu and boutique-vibe, Poppycocks (128 E. FRONT, 231-941-7632) has been entertaining Traverse City palates for two decades. Over at Hanna Bistro (118 CASS, 231-946-8207), Chef Carrie Trogan plates up fresh inventive cuisine that pairs perfectly with the establishment’s fine and nicely priced wine list. For a change of food scenery (catfish, St. Louis-style ribs, etouffée, po boys) check out Traverse City’s new kid on the block, Soul Hole (408 S. UNION, 231-929-7238).
Breakfast on this side of the city is always at the Omelette Shoppe (CAMPUS PLAZA, 1209 E, FRONT, 231-946-0590)—picture that clattery 1980’s atmosphere à la Katz’ Deli where Sally faked, you know, for Harry in When Harry Met Sally. Then go order up a plump omelet and a slice of the signature, sweet and sticky glazed raisin toast.
Tiny with bright mango-colored walls, the Thai Café (1219 E. FRONT, 231-929-1303), also in Campus Plaza, is making its name with dishes like two-person pots of tom yum shrimp soup, extra hot curry dishes, pad Thai and other Thai and Chinese fare. Après-cinema seek out a banana boat at the marigold-colored Traverse City institution Bardon’s Wonder
Freeze (GARFIELD AND GRANDVIEW, 231-941-4326).
Take a counter seat or a table on the sidewalk at Traverse City’s Depression Era diner, J & S Hamburg (302 W. FRONT,
231-947-6409), where you’ll find big helpings of country-fried steak, double-decker burgers, hand-dipped shakes and the like at family-friendly prices. At Lars Hockstad you’re also within scent distance of Grand Traverse Pie Company (525 W. FRONT, 231-922-7437), an establishment where the sandwiches are as scrumptious as the pies.
Your dinner (or lunch) ticket in this neighborhood is—North Peak Brewing Company (400 W. FRONT, 231-941-7325).
Housed in a 19th-century brick warehouse, North Peak serves up the inventive fare you’d expect in an industrial chic ambiance, then pairs it all with housecrafted microbrews.