Anytime that you travel, the culinary scene has a big impact on your opinion of the vacation destination. You don’t want to eat at the same mainstream franchises that you visit at home. Fortunately, Mackinaw City restaurants will meet your expectations and leave you eager to explore more. We’ve compiled a list of nearly two dozen restaurants where the locals eat in Mackinaw City. From breakfast and dessert to casual and fine dining, these are the best places to grab a bite.
Best Mackinaw City Restaurants for Casual Dining
Since 1964, Pancake Chef has been serving a variety of pancakes and French toast, but those aren’t the only foods on its large menu. The restaurant makes traditional pasties, specialty salads, and a range of homemade dinner entrees. On top of the full-service menu, Pancake Chef has breakfast and dinner buffets with some of the highest-quality dishes in Michigan.
Readers of the Northern Express newspaper have voted Audie’s Restaurant the “Best All-Around Restaurant.” The food is delicious, and the Family Room offers a comfortable family dining experience. Your family can order home-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner — fresh whitefish, burgers, hot sandwiches, and signature dishes. There’s also a Welcome Lounge where adults can drink fine wine, single malt scotch, and local craft beer during romantic dinners or outings with friends.
Awarded Best Desserts and Best Service by the readers of the Cheboygan Daily Tribune newspaper, Darrow’s Restaurant has been serving homemade all-American breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes since 1957. Open seasonally, it has been family-operated for four generations. You can find omelets, freshly baked bread and brewed coffee, buttermilk pancakes, and brioche French toast on the breakfast menu. Soups made from scratch, hamburgers, whitefish dinners, and more are on the lunch and dinner menus. For dessert, check out the wide selection of homemade pies, cheesecake, and ice cream sundaes.
Hunt’s Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Co.
Since taking over in 1983, the Hunt family has been serving delectable pasties of all kinds at Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Co. You’ll get a real taste of the full-bodied flavor that originated in Cornwall, England. From traditional beef to Italiano, these pasties will satisfy your taste buds. The restaurant makes fresh gourmet cookies every day as well.
Keyhole Bar & Grill
Among the restaurants in Mackinaw City, Keyhole Bar & Grill is the most uniquely decorated with a collection of 25,000 keys and locks covering the bars, tables, and walls. Its motto is “good food & good times,” which is reflected in its ambiance and one of the largest menus in the village. You can order burgers, barbecue ribs, whitefish, chicken, and steak dishes. Keyhole even has Mexican food, sandwiches, and wraps. The bar serves a variety of beer depending on the season and a selection of wine.
Best Mackinaw City Restaurants for Pizza
If you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, Nonna Lisa’s is the place to go. It serves traditional dishes, specializing in pastas and wood-fired pizzas, which are some of the most outstanding in Mackinaw City. The restaurant only uses fresh ingredients for everything on its menu, including the soups and salads. Additionally, it makes classic entrees like rosemary salmon and Tuscan chicken. The wine list is full of great pairings for every meal too.
B.C. Pizza of Mackinaw City
Since 1988, B.C. Pizza of Mackinaw City has been making top-quality pizzas that customers return for again and again. The family-owned and -operated Michigan chain has friendly staff, and the taste is consistent. While Michiganders may be familiar with this pizzeria, visitors from out of state will enjoy the new experience. Also, the restaurant menu includes pastas, sub sandwiches, and specialty items.
The Pizza Palace
Tossing first-rate pizza in Northern Michigan, The Pizza Palace makes its doughs and sauces fresh every day. Alongside pizza, it makes burgers, unique sandwiches, pasties, pastas, and salads. Some of the menu items are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. You can order local microbrews and wines from the bar to complement your meal.
Mama Mia’s Pizza
Open April through November, Mama Mia’s Pizza has a full menu of pizza, breadsticks, salads, and pastas. You can get burritos and fresh cookies as well. What makes Mama Mia’s different from other pizzerias is that its building offers more than just dining. There are crane games and video games to play and antiques on display. Above the restaurant, the Mackinaw Bridge Museum is open to explore for free.
Best Fine Dining in Mackinaw City
The Chippewa Room at Audie’s
To celebrate a special occasion, consider going to The Chippewa Room at Audie’s. This part of the restaurant offers a fine-dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s one of the top-rated Mackinaw City restaurants for attentive service and exquisite dishes, which are different from what the restaurant serves in the Family Room. The chef makes specialties such as elk, hand-cut steaks, rack of lamb, and fresh seafood. As a winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, The Chippewa Room has a huge selection of wine.
The Lighthouse Restaurant
Using only fresh ingredients, The Lighthouse Restaurant offers traditional American cuisine. It handpicks fresh whitefish and other seafood every day from local fisheries. The restaurant is known for its lobster, which is chosen fresh from the tank. The menu features salads, steaks and prime rib, eggplant parmigiana, and other entrees too.
The Hook Lakeside Grill
Located in a two-story building, The Hook Lakeside Grill allows for balcony dining. Weather permitting, the restaurant dining room opens to let in fresh air from Mackinaw City Harbor and Lake Huron. In fact, the dining room was designed specifically to take advantage of the outdoor environment. On the menu, you’ll find fresh whitefish, walleye, prime rib, brisket and beef burgers, sandwiches, baskets, and specialties. The bars have 34 microbrews and beers on tap and can make some awesome cocktails.
Best Pet-Friendly Restaurants in Mackinaw City
Blue Water Mexican Cantina
From May to October, Blue Water Mexican Cantina serves a mix of American and Mexican cuisine. Among the American dishes are surf & turf, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Among the Mexican dishes are burritos, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, and more. The friendly atmosphere is wonderful for families, and the outdoor seating allows you to bring your dog.
Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
Serving an array of seafood, Scalawags Whitefish & Chips is open from May to October. The nautical atmosphere is fun for families, and the service is convenient for grabbing a quick bite to eat. You can order baskets of fresh fish or chicken tenders, or order a variety of sandwiches with chicken, fish, or turkey. The entire menu is affordable. If you take your dog, you can eat at the tables outside.
Situated downtown, Bridgeview Diner is one of the Mackinaw City restaurants that serves a diverse assortment of foods — burgers, fries, fish and chicken strips baskets, and more. The full menu is cooked fresh each day, and the burgers are made with fresh ground beef. When the weather is nice, it’s a fantastic place to go with your pet.
Historic Depot Restaurant and Caboose
The Historic Depot Restaurant and Caboose is a place where you can have fun with your family or friends. It’s located in the Mackinaw Crossings shopping center and has been serving locals and visitors since 1881. You can order soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, seafood and chicken baskets, and wraps. Flatbread pizzas and Mexican fare are on the menu as well. Outdoor seating is available for eating with your dog.
C.J’s Grub Stop
Behind the Mackinaw City post office, C.J’s Grub Stop welcomes the opportunity to satisfy your cravings. The kitchen staff only makes food that they would eat themselves — burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries, and nachos. Exclusive from the other restaurants in Mackinaw City, it has deep-fried desserts, such as cookies, Milky Ways, Oreos, Kit Kats, and Snickers. At an outdoor table, your furry friend can join.
Best Mackinaw City Breweries & Pubs
Rusted Spoke Brewing Co.
As a casual brewpub, Rusted Spoke Brewing Co. serves a range of drinks and food. It has 20 beers on tap, and the food menu includes chowder, chili, salads, pizza, sandwiches, tacos, and entrees with fish and steak. The outdoor tables are pet-friendly.
Biere De Mac Brew Works
Serving upscale comfort food, Biere De Mac Brew Works is a gastro-bistro pub. It has 14 fresh crafted beer and hard cider on tap at all times. However, its goal is to serve all 152 styles of beer that the Brewers Association classified as of 2016. The food menu is light but includes soups, salads, burgers, and sandwiches.
O’Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
With American and Irish pub grub, O’Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant is a relaxed warehouse tavern located next to the Dixie Saloon and across from Shepler’s Ferry service in Mackinaw City. It has the biggest copper bar in the region with a 16-foot sports screen. Alongside draft beers, karaoke, and live music, the restaurant serves Angus steaks, seafood baskets, rotisserie chicken and fish entrees, pasties, burgers, and sandwiches.
Best Cafes and Shops for Coffee & Dessert in Mackinaw City
For decades, the Mackinaw Bakery has been making the best baked goods among the Mackinaw City restaurants. It bakes the finest doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cakes, and breads. Some of the doughnuts are as big as your head! The bakery is the ideal place to stop for a sweet breakfast or afternoon treat with a cup of coffee.
Murdick’s Famous Fudge
Less like a restaurant and more like a store, Murdick’s Famous Fudge gives you the opportunity to grab some of the famous fudge pioneered by the Murdick family more than 130 years ago. The fudge is free of gluten and trans fats, and it’s made with all-natural ingredients. You can taste the difference compared to other fudge makers. There are more than a dozen flavors to try as well as seasonal flavors.
Rather than having your dessert in one of the restaurants in Mackinaw City, check out Sweet Spot. This ice cream and candy shop probably has anything that you could want — saltwater taffy, gourmet popcorn, Mackinac Island fudge, and the largest variety of ice cream flavors in Northern Michigan. Just looking into the store will trigger your sweet tooth.
More to Discover in Mackinaw City
There’s more to this historic village than just Mackinaw City restaurants. There are plenty of things to do and see in Mackinaw City and numerous places to stay in Mackinaw City. In fact, the village is an excellent place to stay if you want to visit Mackinac Island, which has its own host of things to do and see on Mackinac Island.