The Little Traverse Inn
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9 Best Places to Eat a Meal in Leelanau County

Leelanau County is well-known in our state for its beautiful landscape, sugar-sand beaches, and unlimited wineries. However, Leelanau County can also be known for high-end restaurants and expensive establishments.

Fortunately, you’ve got a local here who loves a good meal at an affordable price. Read on to find out which Leelanau restaurants are my favorites to eat and drink in each Leelanau town.

The Cedar Tavern – Cedar

The Cedar Tavern is located on Kasson Street and has almost no windows. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any natural light inside this establishment. What I have seen at the Cedar Tavern, though, is their amazing list of daily specials:

  • Taco Tuesdays
  • Ribs on Wednesday
  • Pizza & Pints on Thursday
  • Fish Fry Fridays
  • Wings on Sundays
The Best Places To Score A Deal In Leelanau County - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of The Little Traverse Inn

Little Traverse Inn Gastro Pub – Maple City

The Little Traverse Inn not only has amazing food and beverages but also multiple rooms upstairs in case you have too many drinks. Located on M22, the Little Traverse Inn has a secret specialty of Indian food.

They also serve up great traditional bar food such as burgers, chili, and Scottish eggs. The Little Traverse Inn plays host to the statewide Civil Beer Wars.

Empire Village Inn – Empire

The Empire Village Inn is known for its amazing pizza, or as they like to call it “Za.” 13 different specialty pizzas make up this portion of their menu. The rest of the menu is huge and delicious.

And if you’re a beer fan, this is the establishment for you. Nothing is better after a day on Lake Michigan than a craft Michigan beer and a chicken curry “Za.”

Dick’s Pour House – Lake Leelanau

Dick’s Pour House in Lake Leelanau is another great, local establishment with very little natural light. They have a great beer menu and serve a ton of Leelanau County wine.

Not only do they have great pizza, but they also have homemade bread bowls and some of the best nachos around.

The Best Places To Score A Deal In Leelanau County - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Art’s Tavern

Art’s Tavern – Glen Arbor

This cash-only tavern has a beautiful selection of craft beer cans. Art’s Tavern is famous for its extensive burger list. Even the chicken sandwich gets the name of “blonde burger.”

Their summer patio is a treat and perfect for people watching. Art’s Tavern is located just a short walk from Lake Michigan and the beach down the road is beautiful to visit during all four seasons.

The VI Grill – Suttons Bay

The VI Grill has amazing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their daily special is posted outside on a chalkboard and their Sunday buffet is the best around.

They are also known for their 22 beers on tap, which perfectly represents their M22 location. Their outdoor patio is perfect even on cool nights, as their cozy, outdoor fireplace is usually rolling.

The Bluebird – Leland

The Bluebird sits on the river and has a beautiful patio overlooking the scenery. This establishment has both a more formal dining room dining and an upbeat tavern.

Knot Just a Bar – Omena

Knot Just a Bar is one of the most beautiful places to eat in Leelanau County. They are attached to Leelanau Cellars, so after you’re done wine tasting, come next door and get one of their famous ‘kones.’ These are beer-battered, fried seafood cones accompanied with fries.

Their wings are also amazing and have three different sauces to choose from. My favorite part? The free, serve-yourself popcorn.

The Best Places To Score A Deal In Leelanau County - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of The Mitten Brewing Company

Mitten Brewing – Northport

Northport Brewing became The Mitten Brewing Company in 2016. They serve the same beers as the Grand Rapids location, but this wonderful brewery also has some of the best popcorn around (also free and serve-yourself).

The outdoor fireplace is the best place to sip a brew on a chilly night. The best part, however, is The Big Show. This baked, soft pretzel is larger than most pizzas and comes with three delicious dipping sauces of your choice.

These are some of the best restaurants in Leelanau County to eat a delicious meal. What places do you think we should add to this list?