Take Your Taste Buds On A Tour Of The Best Food In Michigan With This Road Trip

If there's one motivating factor behind travel that we can all get behind, it's probably food. Trying regional specialties, discovering hidden gem hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop shops, or seeking out Michelin-star eateries in all crevices of the world is always a fun feat. Why limit the gastronomic conquests to just one stop when you could visit several on an exciting road trip?

Foodies will particularly thrive in Michigan. The Midwestern state might not appear as one of the top culinary destinations in the U.S. as often as New York and California do, but its humble homestyle foodie options are what makes it all the more appealing. From underrated urban metropolises to unexpected wine destinations to a major hub for cereal, Michigan is a surprising destination for culinary delights. If you are interested in planning a road trip solely centered around eating, let us be your guide in planning a foodie Michigan getaway.


It might seem obvious to put Detroit on this list, but it's here for good reason. Detroit is not only one of the best dining destinations in the Midwest, but we'd argue it's one of the most underrated food destinations in the USA entirely. Detroit is home to several regional specialties, with two of the most popular being the Coney Island hotdog and Detroit-style pizza. A Coney Island hotdog is simply a beef hotdog topped with meat chili, onions, and mustard. The best places in town to grab one of these staple dogs are at American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island — which are side by side, making it easy to sample from both.

Detroit-style pizza is a square pie with a base of a soft yet slightly sturdy dough, topped with melted Wisconsin brick cheese before the sauce is applied. Because of this, the pizza gets a super crispy caramelized cheese crust, creating levels of umami that are hard to beat. There are plenty of places to grab Detroit-style pizza in the city, but some of the best are Green Lantern Pizza, Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant, and Uncle Andy's Pizza.

Far beyond regional specialties, Detroit is a prominent migrant city, which is largely reflected in the diverse food options. Go for some Senegalese fare at Maty's African Cuisine. Taqueria Lupita's is a great hole-in-the-wall for Mexican food. South Asian cuisine is notably unmatched here, with some great options including NeeHee's Indian Vegetarian Street Food, The Himalayan Flames, and Ashoka Indian Cuisine.

Ann Arbor

Jump in the car and head about 45 miles west to Ann Arbor for the second stop of your Michigan foodie road trip. Ann Arbor is ideal for no-frills fare. One of the top bites in town is the burger from Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, made with beef that's ground in-house daily, and a steal in today's economy at under $4 for a double. For a more refined beefy meal, head to Knight's Steakhouse, where you can opt for the flank steak with bourbon mustard sauce. 

Another iconic eatery in Ann Arbor that further emphasizes the city's approach to humble eats is Zingerman's Deli. They're best known for their Reuben, made with corned beef, Swiss, and sauerkraut, but they have other options like pastrami, chicken, tuna, pork, and even vegetarian fillings. For something different, and especially ideal for dining with a group, head to the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant.

Battle Creek

If you're hungry for a sugary breakfast, you'll be especially grateful for the next stop on your Michigan culinary adventure. Located approximately 80 miles west of Ann Arbor is Battle Creek, home to many major cereal brands. So much so that Battle Creek is deemed the birthplace of the cereal industry, and is sometimes referred to as Cereal City. To this day, the Kellogg's World Headquarters is located in Battle Creek.

The city has evolved far beyond just being a destination for all things cereal, but some of its top culinary feasts are more lenient on the sweet side. True North Ice Cream has a great scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and even offers boozy scoops like honey bourbon. For a little French flair, head to JJ's Sweet Treats offers colorful macarons, and for Italian inspiration, head on over to Ciao Bella Chocolat, where they have a stellar mesh of sweet and savory with their chocolate, pear, and basil panini.

Grand Rapids

We've been doing a lot of eating so far, but it's time to break it up with a little something different, so next, we're headed about 65 miles north up to Grand Rapids. Known as Beer City, USA, the city is home to 40 craft breweries within 30 minutes of driving. Plenty of the top breweries also offer top-notch cuisine. Take Harmony Brewing Company, for example. This woman-owned brewery has fun flavors like the Black Squirrel Smoked Porter, which is like a "campfire in a glass," and the Lovely Day IPA with lavender, orange, and chamomile notes. But beyond the beer, Harmony offers a wide array of wood-fired pizzas, with simple offerings like a Margherita to more complex flavors like "Friend of the Devil" with Calabrian chili and local Michigan honey. 

For a brew sipped in a unique setting, head to Brewery Vivant, which is located in an old funeral home. Sip on a Strawbarb, a fruited sour ale, which is naturally best paired with their beer cheese. For a recognizable name, visit Founders Brewing Company, well known across the country for its All Day IPA. To learn about one of the top craft breweries in the country, take a brewery tour to get a behind-the-scenes look.

Traverse City

Last but certainly not least, we're taking our longest jaunt yet, 142 miles north, to one of the most underrated cities in the Midwest: Traverse City. If you're more of a wine person, you're really going to love it here. Traverse City is one of the best wine destinations in the U.S., with about 50 wineries in town. And just like the breweries of Grand Rapids, most of Traverse City's wineries have ample food options. For one of the best in town, head to Chateau Chantal, where, to feel like real royalty, you can sleep right on the property. Frosé all day at the family-run Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery. Mari Vineyards is yet another fantastic option, which feels more like a Tuscan retreat than a Midwestern town.

Wine aside, Traverse City is regarded as the cherry capital of the world, so prepare to eat a lot of the tart fruit in both sweet and savory form. For a one-stop shop, visit Cherry Republic, a specialty store where you can buy anything from cherry hot sauce to cherry almond butter. On a hot day, a scoop of Moomers Homemade Ice Cream's "cherries moobilee" is simply required when in town. 

To end your epic journey on a historical note, head to one of the state's oldest taverns located right in Traverse City: Sleder's Family Tavern. Grab some moose chips and a Sleder burger before waving goodbye to your Michigan foodie road trip.