Now that its finally warming up in Michigan, it’s time to get excited about Northern Michigan summers! One thing that always gets me anxious to head up north to the Traverse City area is the many unique restaurants. I’m talking about the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are small, inconspicuous, and the ones you can’t quite find anywhere else. If you are heading up to Northern Michigan this summer and the Traverse City area, here are some of my favorite “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants to dine at.
Village Cheese Shanty
If you are visiting Fishtown in Leland and are craving a delicious sandwich, you must stop into Village Cheese Shanty. By the name alone, you would think they just sell cheese, but their made to order sandwiches are one of a kind. They are known for their famous pretzel bread, which is fresh and to die for. The restaurant is very tiny with only a few seating options, but many people don’t dine in. Instead, they will take their sandwiches to eat outside that offer’s beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Also, don’t be surprised if there is a long line. People wait all year for the opening day since the restaurant is normally closed from November-May. The line is totally worth it and your taste buds will thank you.
If you are looking for the best burgers in Traverse City, look no further than Slabtown Burgers. This burger joint is located in an old historic house in Traverse City’s Slabtown. It is right outside the main downtown area, so it’s not necessarily a restaurant that everyone passes when they are in the area. Not only are the burgers fantastic, but they also have the best homemade fresh-cut fries and sweet potato fries. End your meal with one of their delicious shakes – you won’t regret the extra calories. TripAdvisor also rated Slabtown Burgers #5 for the Top 10 Burger Restaurants in America, so don’t miss out on this burger joint next time you are in Traverse City.
Frenchies Famous is a delicious breakfast and lunch joint that is also located on Traverse City’s west side, a few blocks down from Slabtown Burgers. The little red brick restaurant is so tiny, that you honestly might not even see it without stopping and looking around. They are famous for their pastrami hash, but all the food is very unique and homemade. The coffee is delicious, and the best part is that before you leave, they’ll top you off with a to-go cup to take with you. The inside dining is very limited, but once the warm weather rolls in they open their backyard garden patio. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee with one of their delectable cookies.
Martha’s Leelanau Table
This charming European style café restaurant is located in Suttons Bay, Michigan and offers scratch-made regional specialties. Martha’s Leelanau Table is actually a red small house in Suttons Bay, providing a farmhouse feel with a beautiful outdoor patio for dining. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served here, plus a full espresso bar and pastries. It also has an extensive wine and cocktail list. It really is the perfect place to eat at any time of the day.
MOOmers Homemade Ice Cream
I can’t quite include this as a “hole-in-the-wall restaurant” since there are now a few locations throughout the Traverse City area. But the original location is very unique, so I have to include it in this list. if you are looking for the best ice cream in Northern Michigan, you have to visit Moomers. The original ice cream shop is located in the Long Lake area of Traverse City and is located on the dairy farm where the ice cream is made. After you get your ice cream, you can sit outside and look over their beautiful farm. Moomers makes over 160 different flavors of ice cream, and 20 are offered daily. In 2008, Good Morning America actually named Moomers as the nation’s best ice cream spot, and since then, it has continued to receive numerous awards and recognition. There is typically always a long line to wait in, especially in the summer months, but it is always worth it.