Historic Venues

Waterfront Restaurant Guide
Evening Photo of the Riverside Inn
Photography courtesy Riverside Inn

(Lake Michigan east to I-69; Oceana County, south)

BEAR LAKE TAVERN — For more than 80 years, families have made gathering here a summer tradition. Order up a hand-pattied burger or basket of perch and watch boats navigate the channel between Bear and Muskegon lakes. 360 Ruddiman Rd., North Muskegon; (231) 744-1161; thebearlaketavern.com. B, L, D, $

MICHILLINDA LODGE — Savor home-cooked meals and scenic views of Lake Michigan at this turn-of-the-century country estate resort. Open seven days a week during the summer. 5207 Scenic Dr., Whitehall; (231) 893-1895; michillindalodge.com. B, L, D, $$


(Lake Michigan east to I-75; Mason County, north)

BETSIE BAY INN — Enjoy casual elegance and everything from burgers to haute cuisine in this Victorian-era “Painted Lady,” just blocks from Lake Michigan’s shore. Check out the Hotspur Pub’s salty motif, the Tantelle Dining Room and Spiral Wine Cellar. 231 Main St., Frankfort; (231) 352-8090; betsiebayinn.com. B, L, D, $$

BLUEBIRD RESTAURANT — What started as a soda shop in 1927 has become one of northern Michigan’s most talked-about venues, serving fine whitefish along the Leland River between Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan. 102 E. River St., Leland; (231) 256-9081; bluebirdleland.com. B, L, D, $$

LEGS INN — Family-owned for nearly 90 years, this State of Michigan Historic Landmark renowned for authentic Polish cuisine is a highlight of the M-119 “Tunnel of Trees” scenic route. Outside revel in patio and gardens overlooking Lake Michigan inside marvel at carved wood sculptures, gnarled wood furniture, totem poles and more than 100 beers. 6425 N. Lake Shore Dr., Cross Village; (231) 526-2281; legsinn.com. L, D, $-$$

PORTAGE POINT INN & LAKEFRONT RESORT — Steeped in history, this classic 1903 resort is nestled between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan. Sit by the fire and dive into house specialties like prime rib, cashew-crusted walleye and smoked whitefish pate. 8513 Portage Point Dr., Onekama; (800) 878-7248; portagepointinn.com. B, L, D, $$

RIVERSIDE INN — Regional specialties including whitefish, morels, asparagus and cherries inspire a menu that makes the most of northern Michigan’s bounty at this 1907 venue along the banks of the Leland River. 302 River St., Leland; (888) 257-0102; theriverside-inn.com. D, $$

STAFFORD’S BAY VIEW INN — Savor the timelessness of this 1886 inn, where wine and spirits are served with blue views of Little Traverse Bay. Sunday Brunch here is a revered northern Michigan tradition. 2011 Woodland Ave., Bay View; (800) 258-1886; staffords.com. B, L, D, $$

STAFFORD’S PERRY HOTEL — Two of the three restaurants within this historic 1899 hotel offer views of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay: Visit the H.O. Rose Dining Room for northern Michigan classics, or the tranquil Rose Garden Veranda for casual, seasonal fare. 100 Lewis St., Petoskey; (231) 347-4000; staffords.com. B, L, D, $$-$$$

Horseback Riders at Hack-Ma-Tack InnSTAFFORD’S PIER RESTAURANT — Built on original harbor pilings in 1935, the venue’s Pointer Room serves fine cuisine. The Chart Room offers more traditional fare, while cocktails and a complete menu draw patrons to The Wheelhouse Lounge and Dudley’s Deck is a top spot for nightlife.102 Bay St., Harbor Springs; (231) 526-6201; staffords.com. L, D, $$-$$

WALLOON LAKE INN — Regarded as one of Michigan’s “best kept secrets,” this knotty-pine-paneled haven is a century-old landmark at Walloon Lake offering creative gourmet special-ties with subtle French flair and rustic elegance in the heart of Hemingway country. 4178 West St., Walloon Lake; (231) 535-2999; walloonlakeinn.com. D, $$

Upper Peninsula

THE ANTLERS — Order up cedar-planked salmon or legendary “Paul Bunyan” burger with a Faygo float at this much-adorned, century-old U.P. eatery, and watch the freighters navigate the St. Marys River and Soo Locks: Just be prepped for all the bells and whistles when they pass by. 804 E. Portage Ave., Sault Ste Marie; (906) 253-1728; sooantlers.com. L, D, $$

THE LANDMARK INN — Restored to its original grandeur, this historic hotel has welcomed visitors since the 1930s. Two walls of glass in the sixth-floor Northstar Lounge here offer majestic Lake Superior views while regional flavors including grass-fed beef, lamb and whitefish are served. 230 North Front St., Marquette; (906) 228-2580; thelandmarkinn.com. B, L, D, $-$$

THE VIERLING — This 1883 saloon operated for decades as various businesses until the mid-1980s, when it was refurbished into one of Michigan’s most popular brewpubs. A 100-year-old oak bar and grand harbor views pair well with hearty menu fare. 119 South Front, Marquette; (906) 228-3533; thevierling.com. L, D, $$


(I-75 east to Lake Huron; Bay County, north)

CARRIAGE HOUSE — Relax on the veranda, savor fine American cuisine with international flair, and gaze out at the Straits of Mackinac at this 1904 venue within Hotel Iroquois. Piano entertainment is offered nightly. 7485 Main St., Mackinac Island; (906) 847-3321, iroquoishotel.com. L, D, $$-$$$

CHURCHILL POINT INN — Feast on fresh whitefish, walleye and perch over white linen at this Gatsby-era country inn on a piney peninsula, 20 miles southwest of Alpena. 5700 Bennett Rd., Hubbard Lake; (800) 727-2078; churchillpointeinn.com. L, D, $$

CLIFFORD LAKE INN — Celebrating 130 years, this venue features a complete scratch kitchen, where chefs cut their own steaks, prepare their own vegetables and make their own soups and sauces daily. Pizzas, grinders and decadent desserts are served up, too. 561 Clifford Lake Dr., Stanton; (989) 831-5151; cliffordlakeinn.net. L, D, $-$$

FORT MACKINAC TEA ROOM — Dine within the walls of historic Fort Mackinac, where outdoor seating overlooks the Straits of Mackinac. Sandwiches and salads are served at lunch, with grill fare for dinner. 7127 Huron Rd., Mackinac Island; (800) 33-GRAND; mackinacparks.com. L, $

GRAND HOTEL — Turning 125 this year, Michigan’s most revered hotel is the place to indulge in a memorable five-course meal (jacket and tie required). Afterward, enjoy drinks from the Cupola Bar atop the hotel. 1 Grand Ave., Mackinac Island; (800) 33-GRAND; grandhotel.com. B, L, D, $$$

Hack-Ma-Tack Inn & Restaurant
Hack-Ma-Tack Inn & Restaurant – Photography courtesy Hack-Ma-Tack Lodge

HACK-MA-TACK INN & RESTAURANT — Motor your boat up the Cheboygan River to Mullett Lake and dock at this rustic yet refined, 1894 former fishing lodge featuring local whitefish, perch, jumbo fried shrimp, slow-roasted prime rib and South African lobster. 8131 Beebe Rd., Cheboygan; (231) 625-2919; hackmatackinn.com. D, $$

PINK PONY — Settle on the upper-level outdoor deck or lakeside marina patio and dine on whitefish, steaks or lighter fare at this venue within the circa 1902 Chippewa Hotel. 7221 103 Main St., Mackinac Island; (906) 847-3341; chippewahotel.com. B, L, D, $-$$


(I-69 east to Lake Huron; Tuscola County, south)

THE BEACH BAR — Known since 1946 for its array of homemade soups, hand-tossed pizzas, sandwiches and patio-grilled burgers, this historic eatery (almost named the Clark Bar) also features live entertainment Wednesdays and Sundays, all summer long. 3505 Ocean Beach, Clark Lake; (517) 529-4211; beachbarclarklake.com. B, L, D, $

JUNCTION BUOY — Established in 1937 as Club Seaway, this casual family favorite offers million-dollar views of the St. Clair River and serves up traditional burger/seafood/sandwich fare. 1415 River Rd., Marysville; (810) 364-5730; junctionbuoy.com. L, D, $

HISTORIC ST. CLAIR INN — The landmark River Lounge has offered old English hospitality since 1926. Four distinct dining areas overlook the St. Clair River and international shipping vessels along the St. Lawrence Seaway. 500 North Riverside, St. Clair; (800) 482-8327; stclairinn.com. B, L, D, $

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