List of West Michigan eats every foodie must try

Credit: WOTV/Mike Buck

GRAND RAPIDS, MIch. (WOTV)- Food is a huge part of West Michigan’s culture, with restaurants becoming a big part of any vacation or weekend road trip. Wherever you go, you’ll find plenty of options, but which ones are worth the space on your foodie bucket list? Luckily for you, The West Michigan Tourist Association has rounded up a list of favorite places to tempt your tastebuds right here in West Michigan.

Tempt Your Taste Buds in Southern West Michigan

Lovers of savory beer, fantastic food, and top-notch entertainment won’t want to miss BontebOktoberfest at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek on October 14th. Named for the bontebok, a rare species of antelope living on the savanna in the zoo’s Wild Africa exhibit, this event features your favorite microbrews and food pairings from Taste of the Wild Catering. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy delicious food at the zoo while supporting their conservation efforts.

The 7th Annual Arts and Eats is October 21st and 22nd, and is a free self-driving or cycling tour of Allegan and Barry Counties and the surrounding rural region. Tour participants visit sumptuous local gems, open year-round with locally sourced, farm-to-table cuisine, specialty and artisan dishes, beverages, and products. Stops include Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant & Winery and Virtue Cider in Fennville, A.W. Overhiser Orchard and McIntosh Orchards & Winery in South Haven, Four Roses Café in Plainwell, and Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro in Hastings.

The Boulevard Inn & Bistro in St. Joseph is nestled atop the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, where you’ll be able to enjoy a delightful lunch, dinner or a signature cocktail. Their style takes advantage of local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients that are simply and elegantly prepared. The chef and his staff are here to provide you with a dynamic dining experience or a simple bite to eat.

The St. Joe Farmers Market is every Saturday from 9am to 2pm through October 14th. Going to the downtown Farmers Market used to be limited to selecting your own ripe, succulent fruits and vegetables. Now, Saturday mornings at the market include jams, honey, hearth-baked breads and fine pastries, perennials, cut flowers, organic vegetables, and so much more! Take the time to chat with vendors who will share recipes, planting recommendations, and cooking tips.

Whether it’s the beer, the food, or your experience, quality is the most important ingredient at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo. Their chefs always cook from scratch while focusing on sustainability and seasonality, using fresh and local ingredients. Add a touch of eccentricity and you have a recipe for inspired cooking. Menu options include Sunday brunch, snacks, plenty of options for kids, and so much more. Try their weekend BBQ specials out on the patio with grass-fed burgers, fresh salads, or charcuterie and artisan cheeses. The menu currently features ingredients from more than a dozen Michigan farms, local businesses, and bakeries.

The pub and kitchen at Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo takes their passion for BBQ to a whole new level with an all wood-fired Oyler BBQ smoker from Texas, burning pure hickory. Most of their meats are locally sourced, with many being a byproduct of whole animal and seam butchery. Additionally, their chefs also regularly feature unique vegetarian and gluten free options. Enjoy communal seating and deli-style food service, while their team of servers gets you a beer, wine, Michigan-made soft drink, and more!

Lemon Creek Winery in Berrien Springs takes pride in growing the highest quality fruits to enjoy year after year from their family to yours. Open daily, you can visit their winery and farm market in Berrien Springs for the freshest fruits. In August, peaches and nectarines are in season, with grapes and apples available in September and October. At Lemon Creek’s farm market, you’ll be bringing home only the best produce around.

The Livery in Benton Harbor has created a gathering place to inspire and enlighten people through beer, music, and food. Their menu features fan-favorites such as the Mac-n-Cheese, Loaded Hummus, Livery Club, Hand Tossed Spent Grain Pizzas, and more. Stop by to listen to live music, have a beer, and enjoy a meal.

Visit Michigan’s southernmost brewery, Constantine Brewing Company, in Constantine. Their menu features items that are made from scratch in their kitchen using locally-sourced, fresh ingredients whenever possible. Feast upon their spent beer grain pizza, smoked BBQ, pub burgers, and more, next time you find yourself in their neck of the woods.

Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro in Hastings is family owned and operated in one of America’s Top 100 Best Small Towns. Their menu includes classic American fare, craft beer, and wood-fired pizzas. They work hard to provide you with great food from their kitchen, in addition to the premium handcrafted ales that they’re known for.

Visit Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant in Buchanan for lunch or dinner and a wine pairing that you won’t soon forget. Specially crafted to match their wines, their menu features fresh and local ingredients that complement your choice of wine. Appetizers, main courses, and desserts are all served at their in-house restaurant. As one of the longest running and most popular wineries and restaurants in the area, Tabor Hill boasts a beautifully-crafted menu of unique and long-loved items that feature fresh, local ingredients as much as possible.

Round Barn Winery in Baroda is offering a whole new way to satisfy your senses with an Epicurean Wine Tasting. Perfectly paired wines and appetizers will change the way you taste wine with food! Their goal is to prove that all wines are welcome at the table when paired with the right dish. Schedule your Epicurean Tasting on their website.

Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo has recently introduced their H Prime Chop House. Always hand cut to order, Masterchef Moyet has personally selected several local farms and western ranches to source their prime beef, bringing together the best the U.S. has to offer. Henderson Castle offers both dry-aged beef and traditional wet-aged beef, with each steak being seared on cast iron and oven finished for a one-of-a-kind mouthwatering experience. Only the best cuts are selected to enter the dry aging locker, producing a prized steak like no other.

South Haven always provides an abundance of fresh produce, unique restaurants, and scrumptious bakeries to tempt you! Get fresh produce weekly with the South Haven Farm Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. Featured items include handmade artisanal cheese, meat hand pies, pestos, and many other natural and entirely fresh delights.

Coldwater Country is home to many locally-owned diners, restaurants, and pubs. Restaurants include steakhouses, classic American grill fare, authentic Mexican cuisine, and an old-fashioned drive-in root beer stand. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, a unique dining destination, or a gourmet dinner, visitors to Coldwater will find exactly what they’re looking for.

Feast on a memorable meal with a variety of delicious food right in downtown Marshall! Here, you’ll find Mediterranean pasta, lobster macaroni and cheese, paella, desserts, and more, all under one roof. The area is also the home of Dark Horse Brewing Company, Pastrami Joe’s, and Schuler’s Restaurant, giving your taste buds more reasons to stop by Marshall.

More Tempting Spots in Southern West Michigan

Tempt Your Taste Buds in Central West Michigan

The Muskegon area is ready to tempt your taste buds with food in many different shapes and sizes. The WLASA Fish Boil at the Montague Bandshell on Saturday, August 19th. For over 30 years, the WLASA club has perfected and served this Great Lakes tradition, with fresh salmon, vegetables, and a roll as part of your donation. There are events throughout Muskegon this month, giving you a chance to expand your palate at every meal.

At Amanda’s Bequest & Bygone Basics in Montague, a good night’s sleep and a homemade meal have always been on the menu. Recently, they’ve added five outdoor seating “rooms” where guests can enjoy their meal. Beginning in October, they host Murder Mystery Dinners, giving you the opportunity to solve a murder mystery while you’re eating your meal. Whether you’re staying at the bed and breakfast or coming to solve the crime, every meal at Amanda’s Bequest is sure to delight.

Summer in the Great Lakes state is in full swing, which means people are looking to savor the warm evenings outdoors during happy hour. AHC+Hospitality is home to two of the only restaurants located along the Grand River, with sweeping views of downtown Grand Rapids. The jdek at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids has hand-crafted cocktails, live music, and a panoramic view of downtown on their spacious patio. The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel pairs a made-from-scratch burger with signature cocktails like the Michigan Mule, all while sitting in this sleek bar curated by the world’s first celebrity chef.

The Mitten Brewing Company was founded by lifelong friends Chris Andrus and Max Trierweiler. Located in historic Engine House No. 9 in Grand Rapids, Mitten Brewing Company is a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery and pizzeria with a focus on community involvement and charitable giving.

The Grand Rapids Polish Festival is August 25th to 27th at Rosa Parks Circle. There will be cooking demonstrations and Polish food in addition to the live entertainment, non-stop music, and children’s activities. The festival is free and welcomes anybody looking to come out and experience the Polish culture!

Overlooking their classic brewhouse, the Founders Brewing Company taproom is a great testing ground for any foodie. In addition to craft beer, the taproom serves handcrafted sandwiches, beer cheese, french bread pizza, soups, salads, and more. Grab a bite to eat and pair it with one of the beers on tap next time you visit Founders.

Thornapple Brewing Company in Grand Rapids is Cascade Township’s very first brewpub. With nearly fifty years of brewing experience between the co-founders, they offer a robust list of beers and food that represent their favorite styles and recipes. Their menu includes pizzas, hummus, bar snacks, and desserts, giving you plenty of choices to pair with one of their craft beers. Stop by what the owners are trying to make into the Cascade community’s very own local ‘watering hole.’

Home to 21 indoor artisan food vendors and two full service restaurants, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market is a truly delicious destination! Their Market Hall hosts a culinary collective of butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and more. You’ll see that they’re huge fans of all things fresh, which is pretty much all you’ll find. Have a seat, kick back, and stay a while while you enjoy all 138,000 square feet of this food lover’s heaven.

Atwater Brewery & Spirits Grand Rapids has evolved far beyond a bowl of mystery munchies at the bar and offers a full food menu, crafted with their German heritage while embracing culinary creativity. Check out their Dirty Bird buttermilk chicken wiener, the My Bru nestled in a hot pretzel bun, and the Beany Weenie loaded with veggie garnish and wrapped in lettuce. Original pizzas and salads also grace the menu to bring customers meals as eclectic as their craft beers.

Reserve Food & Wine, located in Grand Rapids, offers the best dining options any time of year, and in summer, they focus squarely on local farms. Executive Chef Luke Verhulst and his team work with many West Michigan farms and have put together a new lunch menu highlights summer salads and sandwiches, with dinner adding Steak Panzanella and Chèvre Gnocchi, all highlighting the bounty of Michigan’s summer. Voted “Restaurant of the Year,” Reserve offers outdoor dining on the second floor terrace or sidewalk seating and over one hundred wines on tap in addition to a full bar.

Wheelhouse features a contemporary twist on classic American bistro fare with seasonal recipes inspired by Executive Chef Andrew Alcid. Situated in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the restaurant is as lively as its setting in the Arena Place district. The distinctive menu is complemented by a list of artisan cocktails, select wines and Michigan craft brews. Fan-favorite items include the Pan Fried Goat Cheese, Croque Madame classic ham & cheese, and Fish & Chips.

The Twisted Rooster Culinary Team combines the freshest local ingredients and bold flavors to serve guests a tasty twist on classic American fare in Grand Rapids. Some of their favorite dishes include Fish Tacos, Lobster Mac & Cheese, BBQ Chicken & Gouda Quesadilla, and Twisted House Salad.

The 6th Annual GRandJazzfest takes place in downtown Grand Rapids on August 19th and 20th. Grab a meal downtown before heading over the festival for a day filled with music. This free festival features 11 diverse jazz performances, an outdoor bar area at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and more across two days.

Visit Holland to try some of the area’s many baked goods. Here, you can get artisan breads, buttery pastries, and cookies, fresh from the source. These baked goods are perfect to bring home to use for a meal or as a nice snack during your day.

Dutch people like licorice. In the Netherlands, they consume over four pounds per person per year. Over 20% of all candy sold is drop (the Dutch Word for licorice). Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland sells 17 different kinds of drop. It comes in different shapes like coins, shoelaces, cats, cars, hearts, and more. There are sweet and salty varieties, so come in and test your taste buds with these fun treats.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs serves German influenced meal from their sustainably sourced kitchen. Enjoy a taste of Gemütlichkeit and remember meals like Oma used to make. Prost!

The Gallery Brewery, located in downtown Portland, has a menu that combines their hand-crafted beer with their food. The restaurant’s newest lunch menu addition, the Cuban sandwich, is created with James Brown Ale. Pork tenderloin is placed in a pressure cooker and James Brown Ale, onions, orange juice, herbs, and more are added. This succulent tenderloin is thinly sliced, and the sandwich is rounded out with ham, swiss cheese, pickles and sun-dried aioli on an Italian bread finished on a panini grill. The Cuban is not the only menu item made with a microbrew ale. The pulled pork sandwich is made with the Sergeant SMaSH IPA, the brisket is made with Paul Saison Ale, and made-from-scratch soups often include microbrews. Enjoy a menu that creates meals with the help of your favorite craft beers.

Mecosta County has restaurants offering a wide variety of flavors to satisfy any foodie. These include home-style cooking, bar food, barbecue, Mediterranean food, pizza, and more. In Mecosta County, you’re bound to find new flavors and foods that beckon you to return for another meal.

Visit the Mt. Pleasant area for a wide variety of delicious food. Restaurants in the area serve award-winning ribs, upscale sushi, and hundreds of sandwiches, making them some of the area’s most popular spots to enjoy a meal with friends and family.

More Tempting Spots in Central West Michigan

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