After the economic downturn in the late 2000s, Flint went through a lot of fantastic changes. The presence of arts and culture grew throughout the city, downtown was revitalized, and the culinary scene flourished.
As a result, there are many local Flint restaurants to try while experiencing the best things to do in Flint Michigan, and we’ve put together a list of a few favorites…
Best Places in Flint MI for a Quick Bite
Dale’s Natural Foods
When you first pull up to Dale’s Natural Foods on Miller Road, you might think that it’s just a small grocery store. However, the shop is home to a deli and juice bar. It has been serving the area since 1947, providing fresh fast meals.
Everything on the vegetarian deli menu is made from scratch, just like the pure fruit smoothies. You can order sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot entrees.
Hoffman’s Deco Deli & Cafe
Located in downtown Flint Michigan, Hoffman’s Deco Deli & Cafe on Saginaw St. serves healthy, quality sandwiches daily. The owner, Heath Hoffman, received the City’s Choice Award from My City Magazine in 2019.
Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite on the go or catering a corporate event, he strives to make your day fresher. Stop by for different featured sandwiches throughout the year.
Tee’s Plentiful Salads
Inside the Flint Farmers’ Market downtown, Tee’s Plentiful Salads prepares fresh salads every day under the management of former Culinary Arts Instructor Tamara Mathis. She started the business with a focus on bringing healthier fast food choices to Flint.
The menu features several daily specials, a list of traditional and unique salads, and the option to build your own.
Starlite Burger & Coney Shop
Since 1966, the Starlite Diner has been a family-owned tradition and a Flint staple. The Starlite Burger & Coney Shop is a second-generation restaurant in Burton on Court St.
It specializes in serving breakfast all day, grilling fresh ground hamburgers, and putting together Coney Island dogs with Flint flair. You’ll always receive quality food at this diner.
Best Casual Restaurants in Flint MI
What makes Dom’s Diner on Corunna Rd. one of the unique local Flint restaurants on this list is the Dom Da Bomb burger — two patties, bacon, white cheese, an onion ring, and barbecue sauce.
From breakfast to dinner, the ingredients are never frozen in Dom’s kitchen. The diner has become quite popular since it opened in 2018. Although fairly new, the staff has more than 20 years of food experience.
Serving brick oven pizza since 1955, Luigi’s Restaurant on Davison Rd. is a local tradition. In addition to pizza, you can order sandwiches, pastas, and other entrees from the menu.
This local Flint restaurant is a great place for large gatherings and events as well. It even offers party trays and catering services.
On Miller Rd., Pesto’s restaurant serves American-Italian fare. You can order a range of sandwiches, wraps, soups, and salads. Of course, the menu includes pizza and pasta.
The best part, though, is that the restaurant tries to accommodate all dietary restrictions. It has a healthy choice menu and several gluten-free alternatives, including a handful of desserts!
Torch Bar & Grill
Situated in the Entertainment District of downtown Flint Michigan, Torch Bar & Grill in Buckham Alley has been in business for more than 50 years.
Many of the locals consider the Torch Burger — a ½-pound fresh ground beef patty served with your choice of toppings — to be the most unbelievable burger in Genesee County.
This old-time pub makes awesome beer-battered fish and chips as well. Also on the menu are sandwiches, wedge-cut French fries, onion rings, and veggie burgers.
Best Flint Breweries, Brewpubs, & Wine Stops
Barley & Vine
A casual neighborhood hangout in Flint Township, Barley & Vine on Elms Rd. places an emphasis on providing quality products that are locally sourced.
The menu features charcuterie boards, craft beer, and wine from local vendors, as well as favorites from around the region and world.
On top of that, you can order unique cocktails, whole leaf tea, and small batch coffee. On the weekends, the restaurant hosts live entertainment.
Blondie’s Food & Spirits
One of the best local Flint restaurants for a meal and drink, Blondie’s Food & Spirits on Hill Rd. has a passion for people and delicious food.
The family owners strive to deliver a memorable dining experience, and their efforts are the reason they were awarded Restaurant of the Year in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The menu has more than the traditional food items that you usually see, including vegan and gluten-free options.
The Market Tap is located in one of the coolest places in downtown Flint Michigan — the roof of the Flint Farmers’ Market. Although you won’t find much of a food list here, you can enjoy beers, ciders, seltzers, wines, and cocktails before or after dinner.
It’s only open on certain days of the week, so check out the website before you go.
Redwood Steakhouse & Brewery
As the first microbrewery and restaurant in Flint and Genesee County, Redwood Steakhouse & Brewery on Gateway Center offers an upscale food experience in a casual atmosphere.
Redwood Brewing Co. has been making award-winning brews since 1996, and you can get a taste with your meal.
The food menu includes wild game, a raw bar, mesquite grill, wood-fired pizza, and fusion sushi. You can order cocktails and wine as well.
Located in an old fire station in downtown, Tenacity Brewing on Grand Traverse St. gives you the chance to taste creative beers. A variety is available on tap — lagers, stouts, ales, and more. The brewer makes hard ciders, root beer, and kombucha too.
Additionally, a small food menu is available, as is seasonal outdoor seating that overlooks the Flint River.
Best Fine Dining & Upscale Restaurants in Flint
501 Bar & Grill
For fine dining in downtown Flint Michigan, head to 501 Bar & Grill on Saginaw St. In the Entertainment District, this restaurant has a one-of-a-kind menu with a range of small plates and full-sized entrees.
The full-service bar features an array of fine wines, craft beers, and well-crafted cocktails.
Applewood at Second & Saginaw
Also in the Entertainment District, Applewood at Second & Saginaw is actually an upscale teaching restaurant at Mott Community College. The modern, sleek classroom is operated by talented students who make beautiful baked goods and a variety of dishes to suit every palate.
Since it gives students the opportunity to learn and gain real-world experience, it’s one of the most distinct local Flint restaurants where you can eat.
Cork on Saginaw
Calling a restored marble bank home in the Entertainment District, Cork on Saginaw is a bistro-like wine bar and restaurant. It has a full food menu featuring salads, soups, main dishes, cheese platters, snacks, and unique desserts.
The most attractive menu, though, is the list of more than 100 wines from across the globe. You can attend a wine tasting event (starring an automated wine dispensary with a rotation of eight red and white wines) or arrange a private tasting.
Sauce Italian American Kitchen
Another downtown Flint Michigan restaurant in the Entertainment District, Sauce Italian American Kitchen on Saginaw St. serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a historic bank building.
The kitchen takes inspiration for its dishes from experiences at friends’, families’, and farm restaurants’ tables across the state. Every dish has Italian roots but is infused with local ingredients and flavors.
However, there’s more to Sauce than the main dining room. The owners run The Federal Coffee House (in the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown) with the goal to brew the best coffee possible.
Best Local Flint Restaurants for International Cuisine
Established during the Great Depression in 1931, Italia Gardens on Miller Rd. was the first Italian restaurant to open in Flint.
Ever since, it has maintained its roots of authenticity and tradition, only using fresh ingredients in homemade recipes and preserving the same passion as founders Josephine and Albert Barone. The restaurant is simply a wonderful place to enjoy good food and good company.
Grill of India
Serving authentic Indian cuisine, Grill of India on Linden Rd. is worth the experience because you can expect recipes that have been perfected over centuries. Indian dishes are some of the most diverse in the world, and the chefs bring that to life in their cooking.
They use tandoori cooking techniques that originated in Northwest India, which is the birthplace of owner Mr. Manjit. The restaurant menu features a buffet and vegetarian dishes.
For the best tacos and tequila in downtown Flint Michigan, head to the Xolo Latin street food eatery and tequila bar on Saginaw St. The taco menu is absolutely delightful, and the bar features more than 75 tequilas.
You can sample the spirits in flights, and don’t forget to order a specialty margarita.
On the east side of Flint, you can find more authentic Mexican food at Cocina Mio on Davison Rd. Everything on the menu is freshly made, including the tortillas. You can order everything from breakfast tacos and enchiladas to menudo.
Best Coffee Shops & Cafes in Flint MI
Dorothy’s House of Coffee
When you’re looking for a real jolt of energy, Dorothy’s House of Coffee on East St. is one of the best local Flint restaurants. This quiet cafe has single-origin specialty coffees on rotation.
A favorite among locals is the Nicaraguan coffee, which is sourced from the Guadalupe Roastery in Ave Maria, Florida.
The coffee shop has partnered with Black Diesel Coffee in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in order to source its batch brew and espresso blends too. Plus, you can get two kinds of crepes and kombucha.
Foster Coffee Co
One of the many coffee shops in downtown Flint Michigan, Foster Coffee Co on Saginaw St. really stands out. It was founded in 2014 by two longtime friends (Nicholas Pidek and Jonathan Moore) and offers a craft coffee experience like no other with a focus on supporting the local community.
A third member (Jonathan Williams, Moore’s brother-in-law) joined in 2015. Together, they strive to have a positive impact on the community by giving back, so getting your next caffeinated brew at Foster contributes to that mission.
The Good Beans Cafe
A premier cafe in the Entertainment District, The Good Beans Cafe on Grand Traverse St. features imported coffee blends that tantalize your senses. The menu includes everything from espresso and Americano to fruit smoothies and lemonade.
You can even order a small bite to eat — bagels, muffins, scones, soup, protein bars, and more — to go with your beverage.
While you’re out and about in Flint, consider taking a break at Donna’s Donuts on Bristol Rd. The bakery has been a local favorite since 1962. It serves great coffee and tea and is home to the nutty doughnut.
Best Flint Ice Cream & Dessert Shops
Making a variety of pastry and bakery items, the Semi-Sweets shop on 1st St. is a one-stop destination for your sweet tooth.
The sweet treats change daily, but some of the items that owner Rachel Hougen displays on a typical day include:
- Coconut macaroons
- Dessert parfaits
- French macaroons
Banana Boat Ice Cream
Open seasonally, Banana Boat Ice Cream on Corunna Rd. has proudly served ice cream since 2014. The independent ice cream shop has partnerships with exceptional Michigan dairies and farms, bringing the best quality ice cream to you.
You can order hand-dipped or soft-serve ice cream in many ways — coolers, floats, flurries, malts, parfaits, shakes, sundaes, and more.
Over The Moon Ice Cream Saloon
With friendly service, the Over The Moon Ice Cream Saloon on Lennon Rd. is open on a seasonal basis. It serves Mooney’s and Stroh’s Ice Cream, and you can dig into your frozen treat on the outdoor patio with a relaxing garden view.
Flint Crepe Company
What started out as a food cart in 2008 developed into a brick-and-mortar shop in downtown in 2011. The Flint Crepe Company on Saginaw St. is one of the popular local Flint restaurants because of its locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
The inside decor is styled like the 1920s, and you can choose from a variety of sweet crepes.
Although we prefer the sweets, you might enjoy the savory crepe options that are on the menu also. The restaurant even serves dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian food items. Furthermore, you can order Flint-roasted coffee with your crepes.
Did we miss your favorite local Flint restaurant or eatery? We want to hear about it in the comments!