Just a few hours away from Chicago and Michigan is Silver Lake Sand Dunes. It is host to a range of activities including hikes, swimming and riding off-road vehicle trails. Here are our top 10 places to eat after a day’s adventuring.
Courtesy of Applewood Grille
Applewood Grille is a small, family-run restaurant with a homely feel and where all the food has ‘made-from-scratch goodness’. Located on a golf course and near to Stony Lake, the restaurant offers diners good views and changing events and attractions throughout the year, including Dinner on the Golf Course, Mystery Theater, ‘Cigars, Bourbon, Food and Fun’, and festive dinners for Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. They also offer chef’s choice dinners, where the menu and wine selection are kept secret until the day of the event. The menu is all-American, with a good selection of burgers, sandwiches, steak and pizzas. Their speciality is the Applewood Burger.
A restaurant for all the golf fans out there. The Golden Sands Bucket Bar Restaurant is located on the Golden Sands Golf Course and is a perfect stop after a round of 18 or if you are just passing through. The restaurant attracts a lot of clients from around the surrounding area. It is popular among families and avid golfers alike. The main attraction is their pizza, made with an upgraded four cheese blend, and buckets which can be filled with bread, hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken wings and chicken strips. The bar overlooks the golf course. There is also plenty of outdoor seating available to the front and rear of the restaurant.
Starting out as ‘The Hot Dog Place’ in 1976, Gull Landing has gone on to become one of the area’s most enduringly popular restaurants. The restaurant is family-run, as it has always been, and transitioned from a hot dog venue to include breakfast. Eventually, it became a full service restaurant in the 1980s. The food is more fine-dining than many offerings in the area with choice cuts of meat and seafood on offer. There are also pastas, sandwiches and vegan and vegetarian options. The impressive deck has been extended three times. It includes a bar and live music, entertaining 300 diners as they enjoy views over the lake.
2. Hart Pizza
Restaurant, Pizzeria, Fast Food, American, Vegetarian
If you are looking for looking for somewhere to get breakfast in the area, Pink Elephant Diner is the place to try. Priding itself on being ‘the home of West Michigan’s biggest and bestest breakfast’, the exterior is rather traditional middle America. There are painted white and green wooden boards and a red awning, albeit with the eye-catching pink elephant sign, while the interior is equally simple but inviting. In addition to the traditional, large American breakfasts on offer, there are daily lunch specials of sandwiches and soups. These vary from week to week. As this place is favorite for locals and tourists, be sure to arrive before or after the main breakfast rush if you don’t want to wait too long for a table.
Sand Castle Restaurant is one of the few restaurants located on Silver Lake, with excellent views of the lake, sand dunes and lighthouse nearby. Driving along Silver Lake Road you will be able to see the bright yellow sign and neon emanating from the restaurant. This mom and pop diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the tourist season and it has one of the larger menus of the area, with Mexican fare and seafood being on offer in addition to the traditional American offerings and extensive breakfast buffet.
Taking its name from the sand dunes that it sits by, Sands Restaurant gives some of the most impressive views of the dunes and lakes of all the restaurants in the area. Both the ever-changing sand dunes and Silver Lake itself is visible from the site. The views make it one of the more popular restaurants in the area, particularly during peak tourist season. There is an extensive a la carte breakfast menu as well as a breakfast buffet, and for lunch and dinner you can expect plenty of barbecue food. For more barbecue food you can visit the annual Apple & Barbecue Cook Off. The owner helped instigate this, along with his other claim to fame: his world record pork burger.
Barbecue food and ice cream, what more could anyone want from a vacation restaurant? The ice cream is the main draw of Tasty Creationz, or ‘your Silver Lake Sweet Shop’. It serves 16 different flavors of locally produced, hand dipped and soft serve ice cream. This is also available to take home. The red and white wood hut evokes a classic ice cream shop. There is indoor and outdoor seating available, with most opting for outside as there are good views of Silver Lake from the patio area. The savory menu, which is equally tasty and again uses locally sourced ingredients, consists of barbecue, wraps, tacos, hot dogs, nachos and burgers. Wash all this down with some freshly squeezed lemonade.
In the heart of Hart is That Place, a 1950s and 1960s themed diner serving family-style home cooking. As you would expect from any American diner, there are plenty of burgers, wings, sandwiches and sundaes. In addition, there is an extensive breakfast menu and some speciality seafood dishes. There are also good options available for vegetarians. That Place also sells homemade jam, Hillbilly Jam Stemware and fudge for those who have a sweet tooth or want a keepsake from their visit. The interior is bright and fun and commits well to the 50s/60s theme with bright walls and chairs. There’s even a working jukebox in the corner. Courtesy of Val-Du Lakes
Situated above the dunes and the lake, Val-Du Lakes offers breathtaking views in one of the area’s more unusual environments. The restaurant, set within the Val-Du Lakes resort, is in a converted barn, with the resort itself having previously been a 100-acre farm in the 1920s. The wooden interior was made using timber from the farmland. The menu is traditional American. There are changing daily specials including Taco Tuesday and Fish Dinner Friday. An entertainment hotspot, the restaurant regularly hosts karaoke nights, barn dances and live music. Views are best at sunset. But, whenever you visit – on a clear day – you will get panoramic views of Silver Lake, the Sand Dunes, to as far out as Lake Michigan.
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