Savor some of the best seafood the Great Lakes have to offer at these Up North spots.
You might think that having the world’s longest freshwater coastline means every restaurant in Michigan can serve fresh, local fish. Particularly in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula (aka Michigan’s “pinky”), where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron flow into one another via the Straits of Mackinac, and inland lakes and rivers seem to be everywhere.
But Northern Michigan has a history with keeping things local—and we found nine restaurants and businesses serving Great Lakes fish to put on your local culinary bucket list. After you’ve worked up an appetite collecting the state’s unique rocks or visiting our beaches, make your next stop one that supports local folks by visiting one of these businesses serving up Great Lakes fish.
3400 West Bay Shore Dr., Peshawbestown, 49682
This tribal and family owned business has been serving up fresh and smoked lake trout caught in the West Bay since 1989.
Along with selling fish at the Arthur Duhamel Marina in Peshawbestown, you can buy the family’s catches at the Sara Hardy Farm Market in Traverse City on weekends from summer through October.
205 River St., Leland, 49654
A family tradition for more than a century, the Carlsons were instrumental in the creation of Leland’s historic Fishtown district. Here you can find locally caught lake trout, lake whitefish, salmon, walleye, and yellow perch.
209 Belvedere Ave, Charlevoix, 49720
This third generation fish market has been serving lake-caught fish since 1945. John Cross catches more than 10,000 pounds of fresh fish daily and is a major supplier to Northern Michigan restaurants. But you can stop into their shop in downtown Charlevoix to pick up your local catch of fish like salmon, walleye, whitefish, trout, perch, and other seasonal varieties.
407 S Union St Traverse City, 49684
This specialty meat market in Traverse City stocks loads of local farm-sourced meat items, including beef, pork, and poultry. But a huge draw is their wild lake-caught whitefish, walleye, and perch. Maxbauer sells its seafood items frozen, which allows the fish to remain fresher longer, and to be sold cheaper than at some other shops.
5705 South Lake St., Glen Arbor, 49636
Locally sourced ingredients are at the heart of Chef Randy Chamberlain’s constantly evolving menu at Blu. Enjoy panoramic views of Sleeping Bear Dunes as you dine on exquisite Lake Superior Walleye Pecandine, perfectly paired with a wine selected by Sommelier Mari Chamberlain.
12719 S West Bay Shore Dr., Traverse City, 49684
Located right on Grand Traverse Bay, dig into pub menu selections including lake perch fish and chips, a walleye sandwich, or their weekly market fish.
13671 S. West Bay Shore Drive, Traverse City, 49684
Take in the beautiful view of West Bay while enjoying amazing seafood dishes like Lake Superior walleye, locally farmed rainbow trout, or their whitefish dip. Apache Trout was founded in 1994 and was heavily inspired by owner Mike Connors’ love for the outdoors and fly fishing. You’ll feel that love through the ambiance created in this restaurant, which features wood paneling and nautical-themed decor.
101 Antrim St, Charlevoix, 49720
Get ready for a new experience at Terry’s. This restaurant participates in Michigan’s Catch & Cook program, meaning they will cook and serve your fish caught with a participating charter fishing business. Or just stop in and enjoy their rotating selection of Great Lakes fish entrees, including Lake Michigan whitefish and walleye.
111 River St, Leland, 49654
Enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands at The Cove, which has been called Michigan’s Best Waterfront Restaurant by MLive. Given its location at the head of Leland’s Historic Fishtown, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Cove specializes in serving fresh Lake Michigan whitefish. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their famous Chubby Mary, which is like a traditional Bloody Mary…with the twist of an included smoked fish.
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