Can’t-Miss Culinary Spots
Lakeside beach towns are mostly known for their stunning scenery and relaxed vibes and seldom for their cuisine. But here in the Art Coast of Michigan, where agricultural abundance is part of our literal landscape, our first-rate food scene plays an integral role in what makes this destination so special. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some notable callouts that our local restaurants have recently received.
Enjoy incredibly fresh and flavorful farm-to-table cuisine at Pennyroyal Café & Provisions. This local gem has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler, not just once but three times as a travel-worthy restaurant destination. Pennyroyal’s executive chef, Melissa Corey, has worked for three James Beard award-winning chefs, was named one of Chicago’s top female chefs in 2015 byThrillist, and competed and won the Food Network show, Chopped. The restaurant’s seasonal menu selections capitalize on what’s available locally, making September the ideal time to take advantage of the last of the summer harvest and the first of fall’s bounty.
For delicious southern fare served along with some gracious southern hospitality, The Southerner is another must-visit restaurant for both serious foodies and those who just appreciate good food. Chicago Eater heralds it as “the spot to check out when in the area.” Chef Matt Millar is a two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist who has elevated the art of down-home cooking in this charming venue nestled along the banks of the Kalamazoo River. Opened as an homage to Appalachian cooking, the restaurant sources only seasonal, local produce, meats, and dairy from nearby Michigan farms.
Honored by Wine Spectator with a 2021 Award of Excellence, Coast 236 Restaurant & Bar features an extensive wine list along with its approachable, coastal-inspired fare. Chef and sommelier Mindy Trafman brings decades of culinary experience and passion to her cuisine, offering unexpected details and sourcing meaningful ingredients from both the water and land. Also recognized as a 2021 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice recipient, Coast 236 aims to prove that great food doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious.
Also recognized by Chicago Eater, The Farmhouse Deli & Pantry is a favorite take-out destination for locals and travelers. Chef Christine Ferris, who brings extensive experience as both a chef and caterer, has a simple philosophy for her deli: always use fresh ingredients, use local options whenever possible, and be sure to serve your food with a smile. Offering an assortment of freshly made culinary creations, such as gourmet sandwiches, salads, and baked goods, along with fresh-squeezed juices from their juice bar, this spot makes an excellent stop for lunch or when you’re looking for something healthy on the go.
Salt of the Earth is a rustic American Eatery and Bakery located in historic downtown Fennville that was recently called out by TimeOut Chicago as a must-visit. Fully leveraging their prime location within southwest Michigan’s farm and orchard country, this restaurant creates sumptuous entrees, wood oven-fired pizzas, and legendary artisan bread that highlight the bounty of local farms.
Also recognized in TimeOut Chicago, Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant is an iconic Fennville favorite housed in a 150-year-old barn located on the family’s fruit farm. Specializing in Michigan fruit pies and desserts, Crane’s bakery also features cinnamon rolls, cookies, and apple cider donuts that are impossible to resist.