clock menu more-arrow no yes
The Grove
Facebook

10 Restaurants Worth the Drive From Detroit

Get out of town and explore Michigan and beyond through food

View as Map
The Grove
| Facebook

Metro Detroit is home to many classic and up and coming restaurants. Why leave the city when there’s so many new places to try? But sometimes you just need to get away.

Below, find a guide to 10 restaurant destinations that are worth the trip. With drive times that are within 200 miles from metro Detroit (four hours or less on the road), it’s easy to make a day or a weekend of your excursion while still eating some great food. Whether your seeking out creative comfort food, farm-to-table flavors, or a fine dining experience, budget for gas money and put these spots on your itinerary.

Did we overlook your favorite out of town restaurant destination? Drop a note at the tipline or in the comments. Locations are ordered geographically.

->>>Head back to the Road Trip Week story stream for more updates

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Southerner

Copy Link
880 Holland St
Saugatuck, MI

Since opening in 2015, The Southerner has been a critical success for chef Matthew Millar, a two-time James Beard Awards semifinalist who pays homage to his Southern roots with this waterfront eatery in Saugatuck. Before opening The Southerner, Millar boasted an impressive fine dining resume, including a stint as executive chef at Reserve Wine and Food in downtown Grand Rapids. Dishes such as Nana’s fried chicken and homemade biscuits have generated a lot of buzz for the restaurant.

2. Grove Restaurant

Copy Link
919 Cherry St SE
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 454-1000
Visit Website

There are many reasons why Grove has garnered multiple Restaurant of the Year honors from Grand Rapids Magazine and is a consistent fan favorite. Locally-sourced, seasonal cooking are par for the course these days, but Grove nails it, offering a three-course farm-to-table meal that you can customize. The ambience and killer cocktails also continue to draw a regular stream of diners. And since you’re in town already, the East Hills neighborhood that’s home to Grove is also a hub for other food and drink destinations including Brewery Vivant, Marie Catrib’s, and Green Well Gastropub.

3. Food Dance

Copy Link
401 E Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI
(269) 382-1888
Visit Website

Founded in 1994 by executive chef Julie Stanley, Food Dance is a restaurant, market, and bakery. It prides itself on making many items in house from the ketchup to the sausage. It also subscribes to the culinary philosophy of cooking locally and seasonally. Menu items with “dance” in the name are good bets, including the Belly Dance (harissa verde, avocado, French feta, pickled radishes, cucumbers, arugula, and grilled scallions on four-grain bread) and The Chicken Dance — a sandwich more appealing than its eponymous hokey wedding tradition. They also offer educational opportunities such as cooking classes and rum tastings. Furthering your cocktail knowledge and elevating your cooking skills while getting a great meal? Sounds like a road trip worth taking.

4. Cafe Zinc

Copy Link
111 W Main St
Midland, MI
(989) 837-6030
Visit Website

Located in the H Hotel, this stylish French bistro in Midland draws more than business travelers. It’s a popular spot for families taking out of towners to dinner, friends gathering for brunch, and everyone in between. The sous vide lamb is a standout and the menu goes beyond its French bistro roots with more globally-inspired dishes such as the Moroccan plate (zaalouk, chickpeas, broccoli, bell peppers, pearl onions, la kama spice, couscous, tzatziki sauce, and pita bread) and jerk kurobota pork chop (carrot ginger mango puree, rum raisin slaw, sweet habañero peppers, chayote squash, and gold potatoes).

Cafe Zinc
Yelp

5. Common Grill

Copy Link
112 S Main St
Chelsea, MI
(734) 475-0470
Visit Website

For the better part of two decades The Common Grill has been dishing up fresh takes on new American cuisine with a seafood-forward menu while emphasizing impeccable service. Chef and owner Craig Common started his culinary career at age 14 as a dishwasher before working his way up as corporate chef overseeing 16 restaurants in the C.A. Muer Corporation. In 1990, Bob Daniels of Chelsea Lumber Company approached Common with the idea to open a restaurant that would cater to playgoers of the Purple Rose Theater founded by Bob’s son, Jeff Daniels the actor. Common has also cooked at the James Beard House in New York City and was named a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in the Great Lakes category.

Salmon salad
Yelp

6. The Laundry

Copy Link
125 W Shiawassee Ave
Fenton, MI
(810) 629-8852
Visit Website

This casual European bistro emphasizes high-quality fresh ingredients all prepared lovingly from scratch. With expansive menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Laundry truly embraces the local and seasonal ethos with an organic kitchen garden providing heirloom tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs and an on-site beehive. A bakery and brewhouse round out the dining experience, making it worth the drive. In 2012, the owners opened artisanal bakery Crust, which provides many of the delectable baked goods for The Laundry. Located behind The Laundry is Lynchpin brewery, which makes handcrafted beers only available at the restaurant.

Pulled pork sandwich on Crust bread
Facebook

7. The Mulefoot Gastropub

Copy Link
244 E 3rd St
Imlay City, MI
(810) 721-1019
Visit Website

Twin brothers Mike and Matt Romine have built a loyal following of fans from around Michigan and beyond with The Mulefoot Gastropub in Imlay City. The brothers have been busy since opening a few years ago. They’ve competed on Food Network staple Chopped and recently relocated from their original location — a former banquet facility that their parents ran — to a historical building downtown. Matt now oversees butcher shop Farm Field Table in Ferndale. Roughly 90 percent of The Mulefoot’s ingredients are sourced from within 20 miles of the restaurant including the namesake pork, which is raised on the Romine family’s farm.

The Mulefoot Gastropub
Yelp

8. The Farm Restaurant

Copy Link
699 Port Crescent Rd
Port Austin, MI
(989) 874-5700
Visit Website

Established in 1993, The Farm Restaurant in Port Austin specializes in from-scratch creative comfort food. Chef and owner Mary Gabriel-Roth worked at Café Bon Homme in Plymouth after her sister encouraged her to work in the kitchen. She then applied to attend Schoolcraft College where she joined the culinary salon team and traveled with chef Mary Brady (owner of Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro in Novi) all over the U.S. and Europe. Gabriel-Roth’s approach to seasonal cooking continues to draw diners and has helped make the Thumb a destination.

The Farm
Yelp

9. Marine City Fish Company

Copy Link
240 S Water St
Marine City, MI
(810) 765-5477
Visit Website

Once a major center of shipbuilding and lumber processing, Marine City in St. Clair County is in the midst of a revival, with new restaurants, theaters, and boutique shopping. Husband and wife team Tom and Kathy Vertin own the Riverbank and Snug Theatres and are building a waterfront hotel called the Inn on Water Street. Slated to open next spring, it will feature 27 boutique hotel rooms with views of the St. Clair River and Canada. The city is also home to several antique stores, making it a popular spot for antiquing. What helped to put this riverfront town on the map is Marine City Fish Company, which opened during the recession. The bold move paid off as it’s consistently packed with patrons in search of fresh, local fish and craft beers. They’ve recently expanded to meet demand. Between the shopping, entertainment, and food, it’s easy to make a day trip out to Marine City and be back home by bedtime.

Marine City Fish Company
Jenni Choi

10. Lola Bistro

Copy Link
2058 E 4th St
Cleveland, OH
(216) 621-5652
Visit Website

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: Why would I drive all the way to Ohio for Michael Symon’s food? True, we have Roast in the Book Cadillac and B Spots around town, but Lola is where it all began. Cleveland is only about 170 miles away from Detroit, which isn’t bad for the experience of checking out the Iron Chef’s first restaurant that helped shine a light on the city’s culinary scene with his focus on nose-to-tail cooking before it was even a thing. Signature dishes include the perennial favorite beef cheek pierogi. Since opening 20 years ago, Symon he has gone on to open several new restaurants, including Mabel’s BBQ and to celebrity chef status with countless Food Network appearances as well as a hosting gig on The Chew.

Lola Bistro
Facebook

1. The Southerner

880 Holland St, Saugatuck, MI

Since opening in 2015, The Southerner has been a critical success for chef Matthew Millar, a two-time James Beard Awards semifinalist who pays homage to his Southern roots with this waterfront eatery in Saugatuck. Before opening The Southerner, Millar boasted an impressive fine dining resume, including a stint as executive chef at Reserve Wine and Food in downtown Grand Rapids. Dishes such as Nana’s fried chicken and homemade biscuits have generated a lot of buzz for the restaurant.

880 Holland St
Saugatuck, MI

2. Grove Restaurant

919 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI

There are many reasons why Grove has garnered multiple Restaurant of the Year honors from Grand Rapids Magazine and is a consistent fan favorite. Locally-sourced, seasonal cooking are par for the course these days, but Grove nails it, offering a three-course farm-to-table meal that you can customize. The ambience and killer cocktails also continue to draw a regular stream of diners. And since you’re in town already, the East Hills neighborhood that’s home to Grove is also a hub for other food and drink destinations including Brewery Vivant, Marie Catrib’s, and Green Well Gastropub.

919 Cherry St SE
Grand Rapids, MI

3. Food Dance

401 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI

Founded in 1994 by executive chef Julie Stanley, Food Dance is a restaurant, market, and bakery. It prides itself on making many items in house from the ketchup to the sausage. It also subscribes to the culinary philosophy of cooking locally and seasonally. Menu items with “dance” in the name are good bets, including the Belly Dance (harissa verde, avocado, French feta, pickled radishes, cucumbers, arugula, and grilled scallions on four-grain bread) and The Chicken Dance — a sandwich more appealing than its eponymous hokey wedding tradition. They also offer educational opportunities such as cooking classes and rum tastings. Furthering your cocktail knowledge and elevating your cooking skills while getting a great meal? Sounds like a road trip worth taking.

401 E Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI

4. Cafe Zinc

111 W Main St, Midland, MI
Cafe Zinc
Yelp

Located in the H Hotel, this stylish French bistro in Midland draws more than business travelers. It’s a popular spot for families taking out of towners to dinner, friends gathering for brunch, and everyone in between. The sous vide lamb is a standout and the menu goes beyond its French bistro roots with more globally-inspired dishes such as the Moroccan plate (zaalouk, chickpeas, broccoli, bell peppers, pearl onions, la kama spice, couscous, tzatziki sauce, and pita bread) and jerk kurobota pork chop (carrot ginger mango puree, rum raisin slaw, sweet habañero peppers, chayote squash, and gold potatoes).

111 W Main St
Midland, MI

5. Common Grill

112 S Main St, Chelsea, MI
Salmon salad
Yelp

For the better part of two decades The Common Grill has been dishing up fresh takes on new American cuisine with a seafood-forward menu while emphasizing impeccable service. Chef and owner Craig Common started his culinary career at age 14 as a dishwasher before working his way up as corporate chef overseeing 16 restaurants in the C.A. Muer Corporation. In 1990, Bob Daniels of Chelsea Lumber Company approached Common with the idea to open a restaurant that would cater to playgoers of the Purple Rose Theater founded by Bob’s son, Jeff Daniels the actor. Common has also cooked at the James Beard House in New York City and was named a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in the Great Lakes category.

112 S Main St
Chelsea, MI

6. The Laundry

125 W Shiawassee Ave, Fenton, MI
Pulled pork sandwich on Crust bread
Facebook

This casual European bistro emphasizes high-quality fresh ingredients all prepared lovingly from scratch. With expansive menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Laundry truly embraces the local and seasonal ethos with an organic kitchen garden providing heirloom tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs and an on-site beehive. A bakery and brewhouse round out the dining experience, making it worth the drive. In 2012, the owners opened artisanal bakery Crust, which provides many of the delectable baked goods for The Laundry. Located behind The Laundry is Lynchpin brewery, which makes handcrafted beers only available at the restaurant.

125 W Shiawassee Ave
Fenton, MI

7. The Mulefoot Gastropub

244 E 3rd St, Imlay City, MI
The Mulefoot Gastropub
Yelp

Twin brothers Mike and Matt Romine have built a loyal following of fans from around Michigan and beyond with The Mulefoot Gastropub in Imlay City. The brothers have been busy since opening a few years ago. They’ve competed on Food Network staple Chopped and recently relocated from their original location — a former banquet facility that their parents ran — to a historical building downtown. Matt now oversees butcher shop Farm Field Table in Ferndale. Roughly 90 percent of The Mulefoot’s ingredients are sourced from within 20 miles of the restaurant including the namesake pork, which is raised on the Romine family’s farm.

244 E 3rd St
Imlay City, MI

8. The Farm Restaurant

699 Port Crescent Rd, Port Austin, MI
The Farm
Yelp

Established in 1993, The Farm Restaurant in Port Austin specializes in from-scratch creative comfort food. Chef and owner Mary Gabriel-Roth worked at Café Bon Homme in Plymouth after her sister encouraged her to work in the kitchen. She then applied to attend Schoolcraft College where she joined the culinary salon team and traveled with chef Mary Brady (owner of Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro in Novi) all over the U.S. and Europe. Gabriel-Roth’s approach to seasonal cooking continues to draw diners and has helped make the Thumb a destination.

699 Port Crescent Rd
Port Austin, MI

9. Marine City Fish Company

240 S Water St, Marine City, MI
Marine City Fish Company
Jenni Choi

Once a major center of shipbuilding and lumber processing, Marine City in St. Clair County is in the midst of a revival, with new restaurants, theaters, and boutique shopping. Husband and wife team Tom and Kathy Vertin own the Riverbank and Snug Theatres and are building a waterfront hotel called the Inn on Water Street. Slated to open next spring, it will feature 27 boutique hotel rooms with views of the St. Clair River and Canada. The city is also home to several antique stores, making it a popular spot for antiquing. What helped to put this riverfront town on the map is Marine City Fish Company, which opened during the recession. The bold move paid off as it’s consistently packed with patrons in search of fresh, local fish and craft beers. They’ve recently expanded to meet demand. Between the shopping, entertainment, and food, it’s easy to make a day trip out to Marine City and be back home by bedtime.

240 S Water St
Marine City, MI

10. Lola Bistro

2058 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH
Lola Bistro
Facebook

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: Why would I drive all the way to Ohio for Michael Symon’s food? True, we have Roast in the Book Cadillac and B Spots around town, but Lola is where it all began. Cleveland is only about 170 miles away from Detroit, which isn’t bad for the experience of checking out the Iron Chef’s first restaurant that helped shine a light on the city’s culinary scene with his focus on nose-to-tail cooking before it was even a thing. Signature dishes include the perennial favorite beef cheek pierogi. Since opening 20 years ago, Symon he has gone on to open several new restaurants, including Mabel’s BBQ and to celebrity chef status with countless Food Network appearances as well as a hosting gig on The Chew.

2058 E 4th St
Cleveland, OH

Related Maps