Best Kept Jackson Restaurant Secrets Exposed

Best Kept Jackson Restaurant Secrets Exposed
Hinkley's Bakery - Get in line early! The secret is out!
Hinkley’s Bakery – Get in line early! The secret is out! Courtesy of Experience Jackson

For a medium-sized town, Jackson has a lot of restaurants. In fact, it’s been said that Jackson has a very high restaurant per capita ratio. We Jacksonians love to go out to eat! It’s always a hot topic when a new restaurant comes to town.  The new restaurants often remain Jackson’s best kept secrets, rarely shared with fellow Michiganders or beyond. Recently Mlive’s Michigan’s Best Contests shed some light on our hidden gems. Jackson restaurants consistently place or even win Michigan’s Best and for good reason. So don’t blame me for the long lines at Hinkley’s Bakery, it’s time we share our donuts with the world.

Chilango's Mexican Grill at How Bazaar Jackson
Chilango’s Mexican Grill at How Bazaar Jackson –  Courtesy of Experience Jackson

 

 

The Taste of Jackson also shed some light on the best restaurants in town. This year the event was part of the inaugural How Bazaar Jackson. Last year the Taste of Jackson sold out at the Michigan Theatre of Jackson, so this year event organizers decided to take it to the streets of downtown and combine it with beer and wine tasting, a juried art fair, kids’ activities, and live entertainment. Many of the participating restaurants have opened within the last year, bringing vibrancy and diversity of choices to Jackson Foodies. Fifteen restaurants participated in the Taste of Jackson this year including:

  • Steve’s Ranch
  • Bella Notte Ristorante
  • One Five One
  • Walt’s Health Foods
  • Cuppa
  • The Chase Sports Bar
  • Lazeez Flavors of India
  • Sub Rosa Tea
  • The Pickle Barrel Deli
  • Chilango’s Mexican Grill
  • Chilango’s Burrito Bar
  • Chilango’s Chop House
  • Night Light
  • Grand River Marketplace
  • Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse

Many of our local restaurants have been winning and placing in local and statewide competitions. 

Mlive Michigan’s Best

Jackson Coney Island  Est. 1914  (Thta's right we invented the Coney. Detroit's First Coney Island didn't open until 1917)
Virginia Coney Island
Est. 1914
(That’s right we invented the Coney!
Detroit’s first Coney Island didn’t open until 1917.) – Courtesy of Rebecca Calkins
  • Donuts – Hinkley’s Bakery, 1st Place
  • Barbeque – West Texas Barbeque, 1st Place
  • Breakfast – Grass Lake Diner, 3rd Place
  • Tacos – Chilango’s Mexican Grill, 4th Place
  • Coney’s –Virginia Coney Island, 5th Place
  • Burgers – Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop, 7th Place
  • Pizza – Klavon’s Pizza and Pub, 9th Place

 

Jackson Magazine Reader’s Choice for Jackson’s Best

Roxy's Cafe - Peanut Butter French Toast
Roxy’s Cafe – Peanut Butter French Toast – Courtesy of Rebecca Calkins
  • Breakfast– Roxy’s Café
  • Coffee Shop – Jackson Coffee Company
  • Pizza & Best Place to Watch a Sporting Event – Klavon’s Pizza and Pub
  • Winery – Sandhill Crane Vineyards
  • Cheeseburger – Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop
  • Outdoor Deck Seating Restaurant – Beach Bar
  • New Restaurant of 2013 – Ichiban Japanese Seakhouse & Sushi Bar
  • New Restaurant of 2012 – Laughlin’s Slice of Spice
Laughlin's Slice of Spice - Little People Pie - Mac and Cheese over Alfredo sauce with Bacon, Provolone
Laughlin’s Slice of Spice – Little People Pie – Mac and Cheese over Alfredo sauce with Bacon, Provolone – Courtesy of Rebecca Calkins

 

As a foodie myself, I am always looking to try the newest restaurants and the newest dishes. Yes, I am one of those people whose Instagram feed is consistently full of shots of my food. I can personally vouch for much of these lists. If Jackson wasn’t on your foodie destination list before, it’s time to add it.

Jackson is a taste destination. We are at the center of the Pioneer Wine Trail that stretches from Adrian in the South to Haslett in the North. We are on the craft beer map with Grand River Brewery, Bifferhaus Brewing Company, and 127 Brewing Company. Now we are on your foodie radar, and with so many restaurants to try I would get started today. Just be prepared for the line at Hinkley’s Bakery, Michigan’s Best Donuts are worth the wait!

 

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I am the Communications Director for Experience Jackson. I manage the social media @ExperienceJxn, email newsletters, blogging and website content. I grew up in Jackson, Mich. and returned after attending college at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. When not working, I enjoy cooking and traveling, always looking for the next culinary or cultural adventure.