Real Seafood Company | @maditaylorphoto
Satisfy Your
Cravings on
Cool Waters

Get a taste of summer's freshest flavors — served up with spectacular riverfront views — when you dine at any of these restaurants on the water.

Bay City

Offering arguably the most impressive views of any local eatery, Real Seafood Company's fresh-catch selections are served with a side of sparkling waters — and best enjoyed out on the wraparound decks. Order sea bass or scallops, salmon or swordfish — but not before some shucked-to-order oysters from the raw bar!

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Frankenmuth

Michigan's oldest microbrewery, this spot boasts a welcoming patio overlooking Frankenmuth's picturesque Cass River. Tuck into a local Smoked Sausage Sampler or Smothered Smoked Chicken with your Little Bavaria Pilsener!

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Bay City

A beer-forward restaurant with beautiful vistas of waterfront Wenonah Park, Tavern 101 offers elevated pub fare with a twist — and 54 taps! Order signature flatbreads with your beer flight and enjoy the views.

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Bay City

The on-site eatery of Bay City's DoubleTree by Hilton, Riverfront Grille & Lounge has a seasonal patio with plush seating and a fire bar (where you might see a tall ship set sail while you dine on Shrimp & Grits)!

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Prost | @prostwinebar
Sample
New-Here +
Only-Here Tastes

From a European-patterned wine bar in Frankenmuth to an authentic Brazilian churrascaria in Bay City, these one-hundred-percent original spots are bursting with unique flavor.

Prost | @sisterhoodbloodymarys

Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie (Frankenmuth) An upscale-rustic wine bar — with artisanal meats & cheeses from Italy to the Netherlands, but wursts and pâté produced locally in Frankenmuth — Prost is the perfect blend of local and global. Build your own charcuterie board to enjoy with craft cocktails and wine on tap, and dine out under a sun umbrella, or cozy up by the fire bar under the stars.

MI Table (Bay City) Bay City's newest farm-to-table concept, MI Table crafts seasonal dishes that are deeply rooted in our State's rich culinary heritage. Taste Pure Michigan on the plate at this spot highlighting local produce, fish, and game, and finish with the Michigan Fudge Charcuterie Board for dessert!

ONe Eighteen (Midland) An American tavern at the H Hotel with gorgeous mid-century modern styling, ONe Eighteen features a seasonal menu, Chef's Premium Selections, and classic, handcrafted cocktails. Find your comfortable seat out on the lush, landscaped courtyard and enjoy!

Costela Brazilian Steak House (Bay City) An authentic Brazilian churrascaria situated in Bay City's Uptown neighborhood, Costela serves premium cuts of heritage beef, pork, poultry, and freshly-made sausages — cooked churrasco-style on wood-fired grills, then carved table-side.

Artisan Urban Bistro | @riverfrontsaginaw

Artisan Urban Bistro (Saginaw) Sit near the open kitchen of this cozy, European-inspired bistro to sample from a menu that shifts with the seasons. Try the traditional Naples-style pizza — on dough handcrafted daily using the whey from house-made mozzarella — or local, heritage bone-in pork chop, braised in lavender and honey.

Gratzi (Midland) Offering a dramatic, layered dining experience that'll tour you through the regions of Italy, Gratzi's elaborate menu and extensive wine list are sure to impress. Try the Alfredo da Tavola, tossed table-side in a hollowed-out wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano!

Molasses | @minnie.bites
Dive into Delicious
Summer Staples

Slow-smoked southern 'cue? Yes, please! Drive-in coney dogs and draft root beer? Mmhmm. Dig into these iconic summer classics and leave feeling fully satisfied!

Molasses | @minnie.bites

Molasses Smokehouse + Bar (Midland) Taste sauce-driven southern 'cue, served in a laid-back atmosphere at Molasses. Enjoy smokehouse meats (defined by one key ingredient this place is named for) and pair with craveable sides, refreshing sweet tea, or a Southern Peach Mule.

Bone Daddy's BBQ (Midland) Real-pit "Original Northern Style" barbecue, voted "Michigan's Best BBQ" (MLive, 2018). Sample ribs dry-rubbed and smoked five hours, glazed with homemade sauce, and cooked over hand-cut and cured woods by a seasoned pit-master.

Slo' Bones BBQ Smokehaus (Frankenmuth) Tuck into southern-style barbecue, served with a side of live blues music, at Slo' Bones. Don't leave without an order of Burnt Ends, cut from the pit-master's specialty brisket!

Old Town Drive-In (Saginaw) A decades-long summer tradition, pull up to this 1950s-style car hop and order Saginaw's original Coney dog and an old-fashioned, original-recipe draft root beer... then grab a gallon to go!

Fresh Sushi + Poké

Maru Sushi & Grill (Midland) Modern Japanese-fusion restaurant with sushi that's almost too beautiful to eat, share plates, and craft cocktails.

Fusion 1 Café
(Bay City) See Chef Craig Fiebke hand-roll edible art before your eyes and try all-you-can-eat sushi on Thursday and Friday nights!

Sushi Remix
(Bay City) Healthy, fresh, fast-casual spot serving up poké bowls and bubble tea in Uptown Bay City.

Maru Sushi & Grill | @_simply_nourished_

Locally Sourced + Seasonally Inspired

Aster (Midland) The homegrown-gourmet dream of a Midland-native chef who spent years in some of Chicago's Michelin-star kitchens, Aster is local farm-to-table at its finest. Explore three sections of this delicately crafted, minimal menu: From the Farm, Lake, and Livestock.

The Maple Grille Restaurant and Microbrewery (Hemlock) A microbrewery and farm-to-table hideaway in one, The Maple Grille utilizes whole animals from area farms — and organic produce, grown mostly in the garden out back. You won't find a freezer or a microwave here (not even printed menus), so swing by the chalkboard to see the day's specials. Grab a seat outside at the barrel grills to see your food scratch-cooked over fire — and enjoy a pint of wood-fired craft brew with it!

WhichCraft Taproom (Midland) Serving only made-in-Michigan beer, cider, wine, and mead — but committed to local food vendors, too — WhichCraft Taproom serves specialties like shawarma made with Michigan organic lamb, alongside 80+ craft selections, 40 of them on tap.

Honey B's Eatery (Frankenmuth) Delivering sustainable food in scratch-made dishes like Honey's Hash (sweet potatoes and local sausage crumble, topped with fried egg and honey-spiced cream), Honey B's is a must-stop for breakfast or for brunch.

Michigan on Main Bar & Grill (Frankenmuth) Seasonality and local sourcing are the sweet sauce at this bar and grill tucked inside Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Dig into favorites like the Michigan Black Bean Burger, knowing the food on your plate hasn't traveled far.

Bavarian Inn Cluck Truck
Track Down
On-the-Go
Food Truck Flavors

When you're craving everything covered in bacon — or maybe some spicy Korean street tacos — order up at the windows of these mouthwatering mobile eateries!

The Cheese Trap | @jasonlambert47

Makin' Bacon Truck (Saginaw and on-the-move) Big-time bacon truck with favorites like the Pulled Pork Street Bowl (mac 'n cheese topped with pulled pork, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon crumbles).

Bavarian Inn Cluck Truck (Frankenmuth and on-the-move) World-famous Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn chicken, plus Hausmade Smoked Sausage, buttered noodles, Bavarian pretzels, and draft root beer to wash it down!

The Cheese Trap (Frankenmuth and on-the-move) Gourmet grilled cheese, made fresh-to-order, with Frankenmuth Cheese Haus cheeses on Bavarian Inn breads. These sammies pair perfectly with summery treats like their flavored iced tea or fresh-squeezed lemonade!

5-2-oh (Bay City and on-the-move) Delicious Asian-fusion street food, like Shrimp Tacos tossed in a sweet chili sauce, or pulled pork bulgogi Korean Tacos with house-made slaw!

Food Truck Festivals (Multiple Cities) Find these flavor-filled rides and more at festivals like Frankenmuth's Funtown Chowdown, or at other hotspots from Larkin Beer Garden to the Midland Area Farmers Market!

Zehnder's
Try These Two
World-Famous
Favorites

Is it the platters of premium, golden fried chicken? The luscious heaps of German buttered noodles, or the traditional Stollen bread it's served with? Whatever makes Frankenmuth's family-style chicken dinners so delicious, these two spots will fill you up on world-famous comforts.

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth (Frankenmuth) "A tradition of good taste" since 1856, Zehnder's serves its premium, golden fried chicken and traditional sides in world-famous, family-style chicken dinners. Come hungry!

Bavarian Inn Restaurant (Frankenmuth) With over 20 million guests served since 1888, Bavarian Inn Restaurant continues to please with its world-famous, all-you-care-to-eat, family-style chicken dinners and authentic, crave-worthy sides.

Author
Blair Cook

A Great Lakes Bay native, Blair is the Founder at Brandscape — a boutique creative company specializing in content. Her favorite part? Sharing stories about the Pure Michigan places she loves!