One thing I've noticed since moving to Michigan is the fact that people who live here LOVE their state. And I'm not complaining. I find myself getting lost in the enthusiasm with which people describe their favorite places or towns. It happened the other day when a man told me about the tiny town of Chelsea, MI. He went on about how beautiful it is and more specifically a restaurant that he said was "world famous". He was talking about The Common Grill.

Now, while I didn't find anything about it being "world famous" the reviews did paint it as "outstanding" and "worth the wait". As someone who loves food, consider it added to my list of things to eventually experience. But, what about the rest of Michigan? What other restaurants are a "must try" for out of towners like me?

That's when I found the "Michigan's Top 20 Restaurants to visit in 2020" thanks to MLive.com. Of course, this was posted RIGHT at the beginning of 2020 before any of us knew what was in store. Regardless, let's look at the top 5 because I am always looking for new, delicious food.

5. The Mustang Lounge - Mackinac Island

Labeled as the "Michigan's most historic tavern" on their website, they offer a full bar, hand tossed pizza, and long hours for both night owls and early birds. Tripadvisor reviewer Rogie23 wrote,

What a great place! The staff was awesome and the food was great and the history is super cool! You need to visit this place if you’re in the island for sure! They took great care of the 6 kids as well! Well done!

If I'm driving to Mackinac Island it'll be for the fudge. But, this sounds nice too.

4. Chilango's Burrito Bar - Jackson

 

To be fully transparent, the original list had Chilango's Mexican Grill listed as number 4 but it turns out they closed. Unfortunately, that's becoming more common this year. Thankfully, it looks like they have a sister location right up the road called Chilango's Burrito Bar offering Tex-Mex and a food truck that can usually be found in downtown Jackson on the weekends. Their most recent review on their Facebook page by Zachary B says,

 Great food! Authentic hispanic food. great taste huge portions and a fair price. 10/10

I'm not even a big drinker but anytime there's a combo of burritos and a bar...I'm there.

3. Docker's Fish House - Muskegon

Sitting right on the Muskegon Lake, this has to be one of the best views on this list. And, you guessed it, they offer seafood! As well as private rentals and live music too. The only downside to this restaurant is that they're seasonal, something that wasn't a thing in Florida. On their Yelp reviews, Mary of Bloomfield Hills wrote,

Order the Feast with a group of people! Get a loaf of bread with it for dipping. The nachos were outstanding!  If you like a Bloody Mary, this one comes with a Coronita! The Lobster Man N Cheese was a good one too (skillet style). I've been here 5 times in 7 years, food is always good!

You had me at "lobster Mac N Cheese".

2. Amore Trattoria Italiana - Comstock Park

This restaurant is legitimately award winning. Opening in 2010, Chef Jenna Arcidiacono has turned this place into a local favorite. Apparently, she has her own special chocolate liquor which I'm now dying to try. In fact, Italian is my go-to comfort food. If you also love Italian food, check out the menu on their website. It looks delicious. Tripadvisor user burdman79 wrote a review saying,

Omg it has been a while since I have been at Amore and this local gem never disappoints! So authentic and different Mediterranean and Italian food than you will find at some ahem....chain restaurants....no salad and breadsticks here - just authentic home cooked Italian like grandma used to make!

Like Grandma used to make? I'm feeling comforted already.

1. Lula's Louisiana Cookhouse - Owosso

Coming in at #1, Lula's Louisiana Cookhouse. Known for their fried chicken, BBQ, and Creole Cuisine, they are unfortunately temporarily closed due to covid-19 according to their website. But, I have faith that this hot spot will open again. At least, I hope so. That fried chicken alone sounds incredible. Yelp reviewer Charity M. in Spring Lake, MI wrote,

WOW! The fried chicken!! No joke! Came into town for the day and first time here. Wonderful service and the food was outstanding!! Will make the 2 hour trip just for this food :)

Two hours for chicken?? I'm sold.

Don't forget - this was only the top 5. There are 15 others on the list that are considered a "must try". Scroll through the rest of the list here.

The sad reality is...is that a lot of local favorites have closed during the pandemic both temporarily and permanently. It's heartbreaking to watch. But, there are ways you can support your area's restaurants. Visit when you can, post about them on social media, or you can nominate them here and help them get a little extra love.

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