It’s officially restaurant week on Mackinac Island from September 22 – 28, 2013. Unofficially, every week is restaurant week . If you aren’t eating on Mackinac Island, you’re in search of some hard liquor. Either way you’re still in a restaurant.
Mackinac Island’s lack of options for vegans, lactose and gluten intolerant customers hasn’t gotten any better since the last post on the subject. If you’re food sensitive, bring some of your own emergency snacks and start a savings account to fund the pricey salads you’ll be eating. If your options becomes obnoxiously low, order a huge glass of milk and let your intestine producing the nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, methane, and hydrogen sulphide gas concoction do the talking. Your frustration will be smelt. (And then overwhelmed by the horse excrement outside which is probably made up of the same lettuce and shaved carrot concoction you’re eating). If you are blessed with a non irritable digestive system, welcome to Mackinac Island Restaurant Week!
Restaurant Week consists of multi course meals designed by participating restaurants to showcase the best of the restaurant and Mackinac Island. Some participating restaurants will have offer deals such The Yankee Rebel Tavern, who is hosting a Bell’s Beer Dinner at 7:30pm on Thursday, September 27th for $50 per person. (Call 906 847-6249) The 1852 Grill Room at The Island House has a 3 course meal for $45 per person during restaurant week.
However, since I get asked about food all the time, here is a run down of the answers to your questions to food on Mackinac Island over the summer and fall.
The Best of the Best
Diner Style: Chuck’s Wagon
Chuck’s gets rave reviews for their breakfast and their lunch time burgers.
Buffet: Murray Hotel
If a buffet is more your thing, head to The Murray who offer a full breakfast buffet for $7.95.
Sweet: Pancake House
A range of pancakes from the traditional to strawberry shortcake type varieties. A “special” will set you back around $10.
Best Lunch With a View:
Fort Mackinac Tea Room or Pink Pony’s back porch
Chuck’s Wagon. Only open breakfast and lunch. No dinner. Burgers get rave reviews.
Best Wings and Street Seating.
Goodfellow’s. If your dad or boyfriend goes missing on the island, look here. There are two eating areas, street side and a sports bar. The buffalo wings and pizzas are island favourites. Plays all the big games and is the place for all major sports games
The Health Conscious:
Twist n Sprout. Unfortunately, as a whole this is one of the healthier places but it is mostly salads and wraps. They offer smoothies and a frozen yogurt bar.
Cheap Meals for Families
If you see a reuben on the special board, head into Millie’s on Main. Decent American style meals for a reasonable price. Avoid peak lunch time times as the wait for a table can get tedious.
The Grand Hotel has high tea around 2pm. It is $25 per person. If you are not staying at the hotel, an admission fee of $10 applies.
A Pastie for Lunch
Millie’s on Main
Planked Whitefish: Try Cawthorne’s Village Inn.
Filet Mignon: Yankee Rebel
Italian: Chiantis at Mission Point
Buffet: The Murray has a pizza all you can eat buffet as a dinner option
Bavarian Inspired Food: The Woods
Lobster: Lobster Tail at The Jockey Club is $64 or Surf and Turf; Maine Lobster Tail and a Petite Filet Mignon $64 at Hotel Iroquois.
Best Fries: Dinner service only: the Jockey Club serves hand-made truffle fries with Parmesan and Rosemary.
My Dinner Recommendation:
The Woods Restaurant (906) 847-3699
The Woods is owned and operated by the Grand Hotel but has its own unique Bavarian inspired decor and menu. It’s been a treasured as a local favourite for years by island resident, island employees and tourists alike. Unlike Main Street, it’s far enough away from the crowds in a quiet, leafy place about 20 minutes by horse carriage from downtown. The employees at The Woods have returned for years which means they know the food and the place intimately. It is not the dearest place on the island but it is expensive. (Dinner menu)
Tip: The Woods has America’s oldest operating duckpin bowling alley and old school popcorn machine.
Best Fine Dining
The Carriage House at Hotel Iroquois (906) 847-3321
The Hotel Iroquois is the best fine dining restaurant on the Island and it’s where many Grand Hotel worker employees go for their end of season farewell dinners. It serves lobster as well as one of the most expensive menus on the island. The beautiful location and great food make it an experience.
The “It” Place
Pink Pony Bar & Grill (906) 847-3341
Pink Pony is the “it” place for tourists, residents and workers alike. To me, it’s more of a lunch venue to eat out on the deck overlooking Lake Huron. By mid afternoon, it’s packed and not somewhere to take your partner for a quiet conversation. Unless you don’t particularly want to talk to them and they love to chat. It’s always bustling with girls wanting a honey with a yacht and the sailors looking for someone to take to their yacht. The back patio is where it’s at with its jacuzzi, overlooking the lake and a 2 level patio. Try the Rum Runners, late night fajita and the Pink Pony burger.
Best Dining Experience
Grand Hotel Dining Room (906) 847-3331
The five course dinner in a Carlton Varney designed room, being waited on by men in tail coats is an experience in itself. An added bonus is you can walk around the hotel afterwards and visit the Cupola Bar – the best bar in the Grand Hotel which offers great views of the Mackinac and a piano player at 8pm. Formal attire required. The 5 course meal appears fairly expensive at $75pp but it is almost what you would pay for a entrée, cocktail and main somewhere else like Mary’s Bistro.
Cheap Mexican Food and Nightly Entertainment
Horn’s Gaslight Bar (906) 847-6154
Every person I know is obsessed with this place but it’s not my island favourite. It’s family friendly and the portions are good. The place comes alive on Wednesday nights for “Booty Night” and live bands almost nightly. It’s often crowded and filled with island employees by the late afternoon/night. Traditional American & Southwestern cuisine.
Island Slice (906) 847-8100
A late night stop after a hard night drinking. Try the bread sticks. Pizza is good but I prefer Goodfellow’s. A pizza here will set you back around $24 a pizza. Dough is made fresh daily.
Gate House (906) 847-3772
Popular meeting place on the island and party place on Monday and Thursday nights. The Gate House is a Grand Hotel Restaurant and serves mainly American food. They have several party nights a week including international night where employees from all over the island gather.
Seabiscuit Cafe (906) 847-3611
You’d find it hard to swing a cat in Seabiscuit, (It’s against regulations anyway but still..) the lack of room doesn’t take away from some good menu choices. Order ahead and take the food for a quick bite by the lake or in the park, away from the noise and small seating area. Tandoori chicken, green curry and one of my favourites – Mussels.
Their pizzas and wings are popular for take out, but their whitefish is pretty good as well.
There are other many other places to eat on the island including Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlour at The Grand Hotel. What are your favourite restaurants this season?