The first European-Americans settled in the area of present-day Pontiac in the early 1800s. Today Pontiac has about 60,000 residents plus a growing, diverse food scene. With plenty of classic burger joints as well as restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, sample some of the city’s best food at these top ten restaurants.
Stuffed Bun’s huge heaping of classic diner breakfast is the best way to fill up in the morning before exploring Pontiac. This greasy spoon will suit those looking for a quaint and cozy space to enjoy a hearty, country breakfast where the coffee keeps coming. Try the Stuffed Bun’s breakfast burrito made with bacon, eggs, and salsa, cinnamon pancakes, or a coney dog omelet. The staff is fun and friendly and treats everyone like part of the family.
Enjoy a quick lunch or a relaxing happy hour on Lafayette Market’s outdoor patio. The restaurant and gourmet market serves up sandwiches such as a classic Reuben on rye bread with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. The signature Lafayette sandwich is served with cheddar and muenster cheeses with slices of sweet apples and applewood smoked bacon on nine-grain bread. The cozy cafe feels spacious with high ceilings and large windows.
Jalapenos is one of Pontiac’s premier Mexican restaurants. The restaurant serves high-quality Mexican dishes like a wet burrito that comes smothered in a meat and bean chili and a heavenly deep-fried ice cream dessert. The delicious food is served in huge portions and the knowledgeable and friendly staff make every experience at Jalapenos top notch.
Rocket Restaurant is an old-fashioned burger joint with an extensive menu. With options of pizzas, soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, the choice might seem a little overwhelming. Stick to the basics on your first visit and try the Rocket Burger, a juicy classic, or the Backyard Burger, which is topped with grilled onions, bacon, jack and cheddar cheese, and mesquite seasoning. Every dish is handcrafted with care in this fun and casual burger stop.
Bob E’s Super Chief is another classic eatery in Pontiac. The tiny restaurant’s specialty food is coney dogs. Served on buttered and grilled buns, the chili, mustard, and onion add all the right flavors to the Super Chief ‘s foot-long hot dogs. The iconic Michigan conies are consistently great, and the restaurant is a small, charming venue.
El Patron Mexican Grill serves a diverse menu. The very popular tacos come served with shrimp, chicken, steak, carnitas, adobada, and more; they are seasoned to perfection with a burst of cilantro, lime, and spice. El Patron’s tacos make a great quick lunch stop but the menu also boasts a range of other authentic dishes.
The Bronx Deli serves original, home-cooked recipes passed down from one generation to the next. The New York-style deli is known for its corned beef, most notably as part of its Big Mouth sandwich. The critically acclaimed Big Mouth consists of corned beef, pastrami, or oven-roasted turkey between two thick slices of rye bread and topped with Swiss cheese, cole slaw, and the deli’s house-made Russian dressing.
Located inside a Mexican grocery store, Carnival Market Restaurant is another hit for fantastic, authentic Mexican food. Order the heat tacos, a very spicy selection served with your choice of meat. The Ultimate Burrito can be made with with carne asada, chicken, or shrimp with lettuce cheese, pico de galo, and salsa blanca. Service is efficient and the restaurant’s convenient location in the Mexican market means you can buy the ingredients used to recreate the dishes yourself at home.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan
Downtown 51 Grill is a casual-dining restaurant and bar. It serves house-made tonics, a tasty recipe for chicken and waffles, and a hearty classic: Grandma Mal’s Mac and Cheese. The traditional American cuisine served in the restaurant is perfect for a filling entrée or a light appetizer to go with drinks. Try one of the grill’s burgers or sandwiches for a good portion of fresh-made food.
The complex flavors of Lemon Grass Thai represent the authenticity of the restaurant’s recipes. With many vegetarian, meat, and seafood options, this Thai restaurant has something for everyone. Try the fresh spring rolls, spicy gang panang (peanut curry) or pad see ew (stir-fried noodles). Business here really takes off during peak lunch hours, but the service is always quick and attentive. Sit back with a glass of sweet Thai iced tea and enjoy the vibrant flavors of Lemon Grass Thai.