The charming city of Saugatuck, Michigan has been a popular tourist destination since the late 19th century due to its lakeside location and attractions like Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Today, events like the Taste of Saugatuck food festival and being listed amongst Budget Travel’s ten coolest small towns continue this tradition. The vibrant dining scene also showcases local flavors. Here are Saugatuck’s top 10 restaurants.
Fresh and locally farmed produce, a creative menu complete with suggested wine pairings and a casually upbeat vibe have helped put Everyday People Café, a stylish restaurant in neighboring Douglas, on the map. A winner of Grand Rapids Magazine’s Best Restaurant award, the restaurant has also had several flattering mentions in the New York Times. Small bites can be enjoyed in the restaurants’ charming wine garden in summer months while Everyday People Café’s dinner menu features tempting options like wasabi pea crusted ahi tuna with pickled onions and cucumber and Thai chili and red miso dips or the gorgonzola pork chop with caramelized onion marmalade. Regular live jazz and blues music also keeps guests entertained while they eat.
The café and bakery of Uncommon Coffee Roasters is a stylish and intimate neighborhood joint with friendly, coffee focused staff that are more than happy to advise guests on the perfect caffeine-filled kick start to the day. All of Uncommon Coffee Roasters’ coffee is sourced responsibly from small farms and cooperatives across the globe while its sweet baked treats, which include a range of cakes, muffins, scones and pastries, are crafted from the produce of local fruit and dairy farmers wherever possible. Savory items like sandwiches, soups and burgers are also available and often feature produce from the café’s own herb garden.
While Marro’s closes for the fall and winter months, its seasonal opening in late spring each year sees the restaurant come alive with residents and summer tourists alike clamoring for its authentic Italian fare and lively, friendly fine dining atmosphere. Marro’s has been a fixture of Saugatuck’s dining scene since it was opened by Frank and Lyn Marro back in 1971, who were joined by experienced self-taught chef William McIntyre in 1976, and today enjoys a reputation as a must try regional dining hotspot. Classic pizza and pasta dishes feature on Marro’s menu alongside tempting entrées like veal ossobuco and shrimp fra diavlo and quintessentially Italian desserts like tiramisu and cannoli.
‘Everything local from meats to musicians’ is the motto of the recently renovated White House Bistro—a charming farm-to-table restaurant serving New American cuisine operated by owner Mike Barber, a native of the neighboring town on Zeeland, alongside chef Brad Kelly. In keeping with the restaurant’s name, many of the White House Bistro’s dishes have a distinctly political theme with options like the Jimmy Carter—fried half chicken with mashed potatoes, kale slaw, corn bread and chicken gravy—while the restaurant’s location, a 130 year-old house styled in recycled wood and brimming with local character, offers a charming and relaxing space in which to dine.
An ideal destination for breakfast and lunch, Pumpernickel’s Eatery is a local favorite that has been owned an operated by Larry and Jenny Botz alongside their dedicated and friendly staff for the last 26 years. Located on scenic Butler Street just a short walk from the Kalamazoo River and Lake, Pumpernickel’s must try items include its famous Saugatuck cinnamon roll and weekend bloody Mary bar. Stop by in the early hours and dine on its hearty breakfast fare, which includes eggs Benedict and French toast, or come for lunch, which features a wide range of sandwiches, salads, soups and burgers.
Monroe’s Café Grill is a vibrantly styled eatery owned by friends Katie Casie and Heather Barton who established the eatery over 25 years ago after a vacation to Saugatuck made them fall in love with the lakeside town. As its name may suggest, the café is a tribute to the iconic Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, who appears in murals alongside fellow icons of that era, giving Monroe’s a stylish retro diner feel. Guests can chow down on all-day breakfast dishes like three egg scrambles and rum custard French toast and other mouth-watering meals like BBQ dishes, hearty sandwiches and healthy salads. A wide range of vegetarian dishes are also available.
Based within the beautiful boutique Belvedere Inn, the seasonal Belvedere Restaurant is Saugatuck’s go to destination for gourmet fine dining with classic American and European flavors. The charming 1913 built former summer home in which the Belvedere Restaurant is located makes for an elegant dining space with a classy and calming ambience. Chef and co-owner Shaun Glynn a native of Galway in Ireland brings a wealth of experience to the table having received his training at some of Europe’s top institutions and restaurants. Butternut squash and crabmeat bisque, pan roasted monkfish with saffron risotto and warm apple tart tatin are just a few of the exquisite dishes waiting to delight diners.
Residing on picturesque Water Street just a stone’s throw from the Kalamazoo River is Wicks Park Bar & Grille, a casual and lively, but elegant neighborhood restaurant specializing in eclectic American fare with a gourmet outlook and local flavors. The downtown Saugatuck venue’s menu features appetizing entrées like fried lake perch with fries, coleslaw and homemade tomatillo tartar sauce and the hearty Western burger made with Angus beef and topped with smoked gouda, tangy sauce, onions and a fried egg. Tempting desserts include key lime pie and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Locally produced drinks like Vander Mill’s Apple Blueberry Cider and the Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant’s ales feature in Wick Park’s drink menu.
Established by namesake and owner Phil Sauvé, Phil’s Bar & Grille is a popular local restaurant with a casual atmosphere, lively vibe and a menu full of eclectic American grub complemented by a wide range of imported beers, local microbrews and wines. Popular with locals, the restaurant is often very busy and abuzz with the sounds of sated guests dining on delicious dishes like the sake seasoned sea scallops appetizers with sesame-vegetable slaw and a candied ginger vinaigrette of the lamb lollipops entrée topped with a pomegranate gastrique and served with spinach and shiitake mushroom risotto. The popular broasted chicken is a must try.
A must visit dining destination in the neighboring town of Douglas just across the Kalamazoo River is The Farmhouse Deli & Pantry. This is a full service delicatessen whose dedication to local delicacies makes it the perfect spot for those wanting to sample a bit of Michigan food culture. The Farmhouse Deli & Pantry is a firm favorite, gaining rave reviews for its hearty soups and salads, artisan sandwiches and baked sweet treats. Guests hoping to recreate dishes at home can stock up on the restaurants favorite ingredients like olive oils, in-house smoked meats and Michigan cheese while there.