There’s something incredibly charming about a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. While opulent surroundings and gourmet menus certainly have their perks, stepping into a welcoming, low-key eatery is absolutely delightful. Here are ten such restaurants in the Great Lakes State that you simply must visit.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Whitehouse Restaurant (13 N McEwan St, Clare)
This lovely eatery in Clare is tiny, but don’t let that fool you — it serves up some of the most delicious burgers imaginable. Whitehouse is open 24 hours per day, so you can stop by for a bite to eat whenever hunger strikes. As if that weren’t enough, this family-owned eatery has been around since 1935, so you can rest assured that its food and service are top-notch.
2. The Antlers (804 E Portage Ave, Sault Ste. Marie)
No visit to Sault Ste. Marie is complete without a stop at The Antlers, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that prominently features a wide variety of taxidermy animals. Deer, fish, lions, and more surround diners as they enjoy the eatery’s vast and delicious menu. Munch on fried pickles, indulge in a bison burger, or satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of apple pie. What’s not to love?
3. Karas Family Restaurant (27414 Harper Ave, St. Clair Shores)
When you’re craving Greek food, there’s no better spot to visit than Karas Restaurant in St. Clair Shores. With fantastic service, incredibly tasty gyros, and wonderful flavors, there’s something at Karas for everyone. Don’t let its modest decor fool you — this is one of Michigan’s true hidden gems.
4. Frank’s Restaurant (334 Maynard St, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor)
Frank’s offers up a classic diner experience for visitors young and old. With a menu full of breakfast favorites like French toast, delectable omelets, and hash browns, you’re sure to enjoy your meal. If you’re craving lunch instead of breakfast, opt for a sandwich or salad and settle in to appreciate the atmosphere.
5. Logan's Alley (916 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids)
From the outside, Logan’s Alley might look like your typical dive bar — but don’t let its appearance fool you. This fantastic pub in Grand Rapids serves up soup, sandwiches, and other tasty American fare, in addition to a large drink menu. You’ll quickly feel at home among the laid-back surroundings.
6. Johnny Dogs (106 Lynn St, Munising)
Venture to the Upper Peninsula for a visit to Johnny Dogs, which offers a delicious array of hot dogs, sandwiches, and some of the most amazing fries you’ve ever experienced. During warmer months, enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio before heading out to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
7. Margarita’s (495 W 17th St, Holland)
When you arrive at this Mexican eatery in the charming town of Holland, you might be fooled by its modest exterior — but once you set foot inside, you’ll undoubtedly be impressed. The service is friendly, the portions are generous, and the flavors are out-of-this-world good. Whether you order the chimichangas or opt for a wet burrito, you’re sure to be back for seconds.
8. Ray Ray’s Italian Beef & Sausage (1715 Miller Rd, Kalamazoo)
If you’re a fan of Chicago sports, you’ll feel right at home at Ray Ray’s, a Kalamazoo restaurant that serves up barbecue, hot dogs, and more — all among seemingly endless Chicago athletics decor. The no-frills interior of the restaurant makes it welcoming to locals and newcomers alike, and its fantastic flavors will amaze you.
9. Walt’s Restaurant (6618 Main St, Caseville)
If you find yourself in Caseville, be sure to stop in at Walt’s Restaurant, which serves up classic favorites in a friendly, modestly decorated atmosphere. Dine on burgers, breakfast classics, or delicious fish as you chat with loved ones, mingle with locals, and bask in the charm of small-town Michigan.
Did we leave any of your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants off our list? We’re always eager to hear your suggestions. Share your thoughts in the comment section below!