Chain restaurants and familiar favorites? We've got ‘em, and they're lovely. But when you're here-be here, like a local. Sink your teeth into the soul of the region, told through our flavorful food stories.
Follow this insider route to hand-selected ingredients, entrees that taste as inspired as the chefs who create them and the places where every bite is a memory in the making. Indulge in the flavors found only in our Great Lakes Bay neighborhoods, like a local.
For farm-to-fork at its most decadent, find your way into Bradley's Bistro in Downtown Saginaw for fresh, colorful, exquisite-lunch or dinner here is simply delicious. The menu, with vegetarian, vegan, and omnivorous offerings, is never the same, but consider the Curried Tempeh Salad and Farmer's Market Fritters as musts if you see them, along with any of the many Mac-N-Cheese variations (think Smoked Gouda Mac) and the Chicken and Grits, with black pepper and parmesan grit cakes. This place is all kinds of yes; you'll see.
The scenic drive into the country is part of the charm of The Maple Grille in Hemlock; every mouthwatering experience thereafter seals the deal. This place doesn't take reservations, and when the farm-to-fork dishes are gone-the last of the Smoked Trout Dip, Beef Tenderloin or Raspberry Cream Cup of the day has been ordered-they're gone, wiped from the chalkboard menu. (Wood Fired Pizza then? Sure! And, wash it down with one of 10 tap selections, brewed on-site.)
Walking into 3rd & Johnson Market and Eatery in the historic Johnson Street Business District of Bay City is, at first, a tantalizing eye-candy experience of fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, meat selections and more. But, it's upon eating the unique, seasonal dishes and time-tested classics that 3rd & Johnson serves up that you'll fall in foodie-love with this extraordinary eatery. The menu changes weekly based on local availability, and may include fresh, grass-fed, organic lamb chops (raised in neighboring Kawkawlin's Goss Farms) or a vegetarian-friendly Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burger. A soup and salad selection will always be available, and may you get lucky enough to order the Mediterranean soup, White Fish Salad or Steak Pretzel Pocket, you'll thank us upon each return trip to 3rd & Johnson Market and Eatery!
Comfortably sophisticated, regal and real, Uptown Grill in Bay City has married the hometown diner with the debonair, resulting in pure palette-pleasure for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy pancakes, but Sweet Potato Cakes topped with brown sugar and pecans, or Not Your Everyday Grilled Cheese (Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone and American - you choose the bread). For dinner or lunch in Uptown Bay City, The Real Seafood Co. offers two levels of casual upscale dining, indoor and out, all overlooking the scenic Saginaw River. Sipping cocktails as the Appledore IV tall ship sails in? Sign us up!
Locals look to The Real Seafood Co. for a creative blend of market-fresh catches with locally-sourced ingredients, resulting in Parmesan Encrusted George's Bank Lemon Sole and Petite Filet and Lobster. (Psst. The Real Seafood Co. does take reservations; and they're recommended!)
A Table to Remember
As you peruse the extensive wine list while sitting amidst modern elegance at Table Restaurant, located at the H Hotel in Downtown Midland, a French-trained pastry chef has prepared European-style breads for your evening. Upscale and downright delicious, might we suggest the 9oz. Certified Angus Prime Filet Mignon, Michigan Raised Natural Half Boneless Chicken or Wild Line Caught Swordfish? And might we also suggest... experiencing Table Restaurant straight away? Enjoy.
Since Frankenmuth is a tourist hotspot, and chicken dinners at Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder's of Frankenmuth are world-famous, foodies may consider the scene too mainstream to be miraculous-wrong! The flavor experience includes heaping platters of golden brown chicken (worth the trip alone), Stollen fruit bread, Wienerschnitzel and handmade sausages with kraut, and hot German buttered noodles to create a time-honored tasting. And there's something endearing about meals served family-style-passing bowls of mashed potatoes with gravy, dressing, and locally-grown vegetables amongst friends and family-that slows time to the basics of pure enjoyment.
Farm-to-fork. Locally-sourced. Upscale, Downtown, and even backwoods! Take this tasty trip along the insider route to discover our truly tasteful region, experienced like a local!