We have talked about some of the very oldest restaurants in Michigan. We’ve talked about the spots that are known for their pizza, chicken wings, burgers, Mexican food, and more. But there are also some spots that have been satisfying hungry Michiganders and visitors for generations that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
They give us a sense of nostalgia, but also some really tasty food. Here are some such spots that are true Michigan gems.
1. American/Lafayette Coney Island
Photo By Serena Maria Daniels
First came American Coney Island in 1917, opened by Gus Keros, and then later Lafayette Coney Island in 1924, opened by Gus' brother. The two iconic coneys have enjoyed an intense rivalry ever since.
2. Angelo's Coney Island, Flint
Flint has its own unique variety of Coney dog, with a sauce that's thicker and dryer in consistency. If Flint-style is what you're after, Angelo's has been where it's at since 1949.
3. Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Frankenmunth
What started as Fischer's Hotel in 1950 has grown into the German-themed resort and restaurant empire that it is today, with tasty, all-you-can-eat fried chicken at its core.
4. Cottage Bar & Restaurant, Grand Rapids
The oldest operating bar and restaurant in Grand Rapids, this staple has been churning out sandwiches and brews to the working folk of downtown since 1927.
5. Jackson Coney Island
Another one of the "original" coneys of Michigan, this spot (founded in 1914) serves up a style similar to the Flint version.
6. Lehto’s Pasties, St. Ignace
This spot has been around since 1947, and stands out for its UP original: the pasty. With moist, flaky crust, well-seasoned filling, and a homemade feel, locals and travelers alike revel in this establishment.
7. Polish Village Cafe, Hamtramck
What started out as an inn in 1925 has since become a traditional Polish-themed restaurant, where one can find a variety of pierogi, city chicken, kielbasa, and more.
8. Ralph's Italian Deli, Ishpeming
If you're looking for another UP tradition, come here, where you'll find Cudighi. It's made up of homemade Italian sausage that's flattened into a patty, then grilled, and served with melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce on French bread. Where you'll want to find this delicacy is Ralph's Italian Deli, a family-owned spot that's been making 'em since the 1960s.
9. Roxy's Diner, Jackson
This old school diner has been around in one fashion or another since 1936, standing the test of time and proving that what's new and shiny isn't always what the people want.
10. Telway Hamburger System, Detroit
This no-muss joint, known for its cheap sliders and coffee, has been feeding metro Detroiters for generations.
11. Vince's Italian Restaurant, Detroit
Founded in 1960 by Roman immigrants Vincenzo and Maria Perfili, this Detroit establishment has a certain swagger to it. The waiters treat you like an old friend, the dishes are prepared with delicious sauces, and the atmosphere is one that makes you think Frank Sinatra may enter the dining room at any moment.
12. Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger, Ann Arbor
For more than 60 years, hungry U of M students have been statisfying their burger cravings at Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger. It's the kind of place that attracts long lines and the occasional TV film crew, adding to its legendary status.
What a tasty history lesson, huh? Tell us though, since we haven’t named them all, which are your favorite Michigan classic eateries?
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