Classic resort dining in Northern Michigan is the savory aromas of herb-crusted prime rib, fried chicken and freshly baked bread framed by tall plate glass windows, warmly polished wood and big tables set with starched white linen.
This is comfortable culinary escapism, old school inns and supper clubs unfazed by molecular gastronomy and food-trend fervor, where the charms, and menus, have endured for decades. Generations of resorters and locals frame their summers eating perch beside Leland’s river, getting served cherry pie by waitresses in candy-striped aprons or laying into a hand-cut ribeye a stone’s throw from Portage Lake. Read on as we dig into vintage dining rooms around the North where memories are as abundant as the portions.
To kick off the summer season we explore classy old-school eateries where comfort food is still king.
4604 Main Street, Onekama, 231.889.3734
This century-old inn by Portage Lake in Onekama specializes in fresh fish specials and hand-cut steaks like the signature blue cheese filet.
The Cherry Hut
211 North Michigan Avenue, Beulah, 231.822.4431
Beulah’s tasty time warp has served up great cherry pie and roast turkey to millions.
102 River Street, Leland, 231.256.9081
Watch Leland’s lazy river, sip local riesling and dine on classic perch and whitefish dishes.
Argonne Supper Club
11929 Boyne City Road, Charlevoix, 231.547.9331
Family-owned for 50 years, this Charlevoix landmark stakes its reputation on platters of steamed shrimp and king crab legs.
Cross Village, 231.526.2281
A tunnel of trees (M-119) landmark. Authentic Polish dishes, like Kabanosy and Babcia’s Potato Pancakes, often served by Polish summer wait staff. Lovely sunsets off the deck.
Dam Site Inn
6705 Woodland Road, Pellston, 231.539.8851
People from all points north make the summer pilgrimage to Pellston for ‘the best chicken in the world,’ served in loving abundance with homemade egg noodles. Check out the groovy retro bar!
Foodie File: Donna Ervin
Owner, The Glenwood, Onekama
In 1994, Donna Ervin and partner Chris Short bought and renovated a hundred-year-old resort on Onekama’s Portage Lake and gave new life to The Glenwood. With unbroken growth since the doors opened 17 years ago, the Glenwood draws summer diners from three counties. We sit with Donna to talk about the delicious legacy of resort dining.
How do you balance change and tradition with the Glenwood’s menu?
We have developed a core of classics like our almond-battered shrimp with cherry mustard sauce and blue cheese filet that never leave the menu, and use our specials board for fresh fish and new recipes. Our guests appreciate being able to revisit their favorites and try something new.
What is The Glenwood experience?
We are focused on great service and a relaxed pace of dining. Many of our guests pull in from Chicago or Detroit with their cars still unpacked, and we offer them the chance to unwind with a great meal. Our servers make sure everything is prepared to your liking and then give you the space to enjoy it. On average our diners sit for one and a half to two hours and almost nobody gets away without dessert.