From tacos and tequila to lake perch and escargot, the palatable options within the regional foodscape have never been better.
Here are just a few of our many restaurants to choose from:
Reimagined European fare crosses white linen tablecloths at Hearthstone Bistro, a West Michigan institution since 1975. Understated sophistication echoes throughout via dark banquets and framed Italian prints. Hearthstone’s award-winning contemporary take on French, Italian, and American cuisine pulls from premium purveyors. When ordering, keep things traditional with burgundy snails in garlic and parsley butter or opt for the crispy almond and butter brioche crumbed lake perch. There’s even Wiener schnitzel! Save room for soups, too: The Wisconsin cheddar with popcorn is a signature dish.
The Deck BBQ & Beer
The Deck BBQ & Beer sits steps from The Ovals on Pere Marquette beach, making for striking sunsets over succulent meals. Deck’s menu is known for its indulgent “Meats & Threes” entrees featuring one meat — which can include smoked chicken or wings, brisket, ham, ribs or pork — three sides, a Hawaiian roll, coleslaw, pickles and watermelon. They’ve even got a vegan option. Got room for dessert? Wobble home after a strawberry pie or funnel fingers.
Thrasher’s Bear Lake Tavern
Nicknamed “The BLT,” Thrasher’s Bear Lake Tavern is lauded for its steak fries and yellow belly perch. The tavern lures patrons with its “modern stone cooking” where guests self-cook their meats (options include tuna, pork tenderloin and filet mignon) on 700-degree lava stones. Established in 1929 and the oldest eatery in Muskegon County, in 2015 the tavern gained a new owner in Hoby Thrasher, who renovated its ceiling, floors and patio without undoing its intimate, historic charms. Thrasher, a lifelong Muskegon County resident, has owned and operated over a dozen local restaurants.
Rad Dads’ Tacos & Tequila Bar
Since debuting in 2018, Rad Dads’ Tacos & Tequila Bar’s killer grub, punch of personality and fun fatherly image have drawn a loyal following. Packing 100 tequila types, regionally nodded tacos — think Hawaiian, Cuban and Creole-inspired bites — and multiple pinball machines under one neon-painted, graffiti-laden roof, has made Rad Dads’ tremendously popular. Building on Rad’s momentum, co-founder, Matt Gongalski will reportedly open a sushi and noodle bar downtown soon.
Dubbed “Muskegon County’s Hometown Burger,” Hamburger Mikey feels like the type of spot that deserves a chain, but it’s all local love here. Their freezer-free patties turn into perfectly charred, stackable and customizable “Mikeys.” Guests can add banana peppers, green olives, or jalapenos to make them their own. While the Mikey burger is king, orders seem incomplete without a serving of crisp, hand-cut fries and the house Mikey dip on the side.
Come for the food, stay for lakeside sunset views: Se4sons Gastropub calls itself Muskegon County’s first gastropub. The name implies its intention — to plate seasonal fare in a casual but elegant environment. Start with a wild mushroom puff pastry before excelling to the SE4SONS Pasta (Mafaldine, shaved asparagus, cherry tomato, mushroom, toasted pine nuts, creamy chicken broth and scallion oil) or house-made zucchini noodles, roasted cauliflower, squash, carrot, shaved asparagus, peas, blistered cherry tomato, and a light lemon cream sauce.
Additional Must-Try Favorites:
Take a seat at 18th Amendment (the name is a nod to Prohibition) for craft cocktails, unusual spirits, and elevated bar food.
Pigeon Hill Brewing Company has five years of crafting dozens of brews under its belt and a new facility under construction.
Unruly Brewing’s historic building houses a rebellious attitude, live music, pizza and a rotating tap menu.
Fetch Brewing shows as much love to bands as it does for beers: Come in for vinyl or open mic night and sip a limited-edition porter.
Local oenophiles visit Oceana Winery & Vineyard for tours and sampling sips of sweet, dry, semi-sweet and semi-dry wines.
Locally Made Food Products
Taste Michigan’s traditions with The Fish Monger’s Wife’s smoked whitefish, made with saltwater brine and in a wood-fired smokehouse.
Meander to Morat’s for their famous English Muffin Bread: Toast a loaf for an experience 70 years in the making.
Whitehall’s Ice Box Brand ice cream bars pack nostalgia and indulgence into one creamy, creative bite.
LaColombe Coffee Roasters globally sources its coffee beans, but their regionally canned milk is from West Michigan.
McDonald’s Candies have been satisfying those with a sweet tooth since 1941: Its founding practices and recipes hold strong today.
“Michigan born, Michigan bread” Coles’ garlic bread went from small-town production to an American freezer staple.
From a table at Muskegon Farmers Market to a statewide franchise, The Cheese Lady’s success is in its founder’s discerning hand, Kathleen Fagan Riegler.