The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Fleetwood Diner Lansing via Facebook.

By Ellery Weil

May 17, 2024

Ready for a road trip? When spring and summer finally arrive after a long Michigan winter, nothing beats packing up the car and hitting the highway. Whether you’re off to the beach, camping, hiking, or a city visit, there’s something about seeing the Wolverine State fly by out your window that can’t be beat. Of course, you’ll also need a playlist of driving tunes, plenty of sunscreen, and a pack of snacks.

But don’t fill up — one of the best parts of a proper Michigan road trip is the food! Whether you’re headed North or South, in the mood for Great Lakes whitefish or giant cinnamon rolls, the Mitten is full of great roadside diners, cafes, and restaurants to break up your journey.

Next time you hit the road, try pulling into one of these spots — and be sure to bring your appetite!

Betty’s Restaurant

2539 US Hwy. 131 S., Boyne Falls

The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Betty’s Restaurant via Facebook.

Feel the chill in the air? In the far north of the Lower Peninsula, you’ll find woods, lakes, wildlife, and Betty’s Restaurant. A true roadside staple, this cozy restaurant serves up homey fare from plate-sized pancakes to a deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich. With a homey, narrow dining room, you may have to elbow your way in, but you’ll be glad if you get there before the cinnamon rolls run out!

Don’s Drive In

2030 US 31 N., Traverse City

The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Don’s Drive In via Facebook.

Heading up to the beach? In need of a burger with a side of retro nostalgia? Sounds like it’s time for Don’s Drive In. This Traverse City favorite isn’t just vintage-style — it’s been a Cherry City staple since 1958. Today, you can step back in time with a visit to Don’s as part of a northern beachside road trip and enjoy footlong Coney dogs, hand-dipped milkshakes, and hot fries served in their very own hot rod. Vroom, vroom!

Fleetwood Diner

300 S. Ashley Street, Ann Arbor; 2211 S. Cedar Street, Lansing

Not exactly a roadside diner, but a staple of a classic genre of road trip — the college road trip! Fleetwood has been a favorite with students and locals alike for decades. With a pair of locations in Ann Arbor and Lansing, Wolverine, and Spartans can finally agree on something and enjoy the classic metal-sided Fleetwood Diner’s all-day breakfast, seasonal pie, and famous hippie hash morning, noon, and night.

Hilltop Family Restaurant

18047 Hwy. 41, L’Anse Township

Got a sweet tooth? If a road trip has you raving some sugary sweetness, Hilltop Family Restaurant has you covered. Driving through the Upper Peninsula, this roadside haven makes a great stop for travelers of all ages. While their menu includes diner classics like fluffy omelets and hot roast beef sandwiches, the star of the show is the giant cinnamon rolls. These mountains of sticky-sweet goodness are perfect for sharing — or keeping to yourself. You’re on a road trip, so why not?

Northern Exposure Cafe

396 Michigan Ave., Baldwin

The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Northern Exposure Cafe via Facebook.

Tucked away off of US 10, this little cafe may seem unassuming at first glance. In fact, look quickly, and you could easily mistake Northern Exposure Cafe for someone’s house! However, once you step inside, you’ll find it’s not a home, but it is a great place for home cooking. Travelers can enjoy breakfast classics, burgers, and sandwiches — or, for something a little different, check out their “South of the Border” section on the menu for tacos, quesadillas, and an extra-saucy “wet burrito.”

Red Arrow Roadhouse

5710 Red Arrow Hwy., Union Pier

The 7 best roadside diners in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Red Arrow Roadhouse via Facebook.

Since 1988, this family-owned roadside restaurant has been serving Great Lakes locals and travelers alike. The owners may be called Jim and Jennifer Trout, but the house specialty is the seasonal whitefish, caught in nearby Lake Superior and served in a Parmesan cheese crust. Not in a seafood mood? Try the “broasted” chicken, or homemade meatloaf. And whatever you pick, save room for a slice of Red Arrow Roadhouse’s famous “Mudd pie”!

Roadside B and G

1727 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Township

Who says roadside restaurants can’t be elegant? The owners of Roadside B and G would certainly disagree. Try their cedar plank salmon or filet mignon for an upscale evening out, or keep it simple with baby-back ribs or a roadside burger. Prefer something quick? Happy hour is from 3-6 every day, with specials including cheeseburger sliders, smashed guacamole, drinks, and more. But be responsible when it comes to their well-stocked bar — you’ve got to get back on the road!

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.The 7 best roadside diners in MichiganThe 7 best roadside diners in Michigan




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