Remember Jessie Voigts' great story about Saugatuck's Oval Beach in western Michigan that ran here in October? She's back with a great list of suggestions for Saugatuck eats!
There is so much to see and do in Saugatuck, Michigan. The beach! The shopping! And, of course, the food. While there is a plethora of great restaurants in the area, here are my five favorites (three actually lie a few miles inland from Saugatuck, in the small town of Fennville):
Su Casa started in 1986 as a small grocery store with an attached restaurant. A few years ago, they completed a fantastic building next door housing a large restaurant, grocery store (love those fresh tortillas), an upstairs art/community space, and a club downstairs. It’s the best, most authentic Mexican food I’ve had in Michigan. You walk in and notice local art on the tables and walls, as well as a huge copy of a Diego Rivera mural. Once you sit down, you’ll be served fresh chips and bowls of pico de gallo, pickled carrots and hot peppers, and a green cactus salsa. Dig into the menu of authentic Mexican items – maybe a barbacoa? Carne asada? Seafood dishes, steak dishes, tamales, and more. You won’t be disappointed. You WILL, however, need a take-out box for your leftovers. Service can be slow because this restaurant is so popular. Take your time, catch up on all the discussion at your table, and even pop through the open door to the grocery store to snag some goodies.
306 West Main Street, Fennville, MI
A new addition to the Saugatuck food scene in the last few years, Salt of the Earth is a rustic American bakery and eatery with an excellent wine and beer list. When you walk in, you’ll see a huge glass bakery case. If there is any bread left, be sure to buy your loaf now – these artisanal bread loaves go very quickly. The menu items are creative and locally sourced. The atmosphere is calm and soothing, with a nice jazz background. The wood-fired pizza is an excellent choice, but there is also pan seared great lakes perch, Michigan sweet corn puree, roasted sweet onion gratin with ramps, sandwiches, and my favorite, Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic. Salt of the Earth is definitely the place to go.
Salt of the Earth
112 East Main Street, Fennville, MI
Although we usually get their pizza, their Italian food is excellent. Noisy background, and closed for the winter (alas!). It’s very popular, and in an excellent location (good people watching both inside and out the windows). You can get their pizzas as takeout, if you prefer to not wait for a table, and eat elsewhere (like the beach, or the riverwalk, or your hotel). Marro’s is a family-owned restaurant (since 1971!), and is open from Tuesday-Sunday in the warmer weather, and late nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Can you tell this is THE place to be, in Saugatuck?
147 Water Street, Saugatuck, Michigan
Award-winning restaurant with excellent food, very well prepared. Wait staff are professional and friendly. It’s a very crowded, busy place. At times, the seating host is a bit frazzled and less than polite. Be sure to go there on a weekday, when it is less crowded.
You can make a meal from the appetizers – large portions of excellent mussels and a Greek salad. However, Otto’s farm chicken and spaetzle is delicious, as is the grilled salmon, roasted pumpkin pierogi, and the ancho braised brisket.
Chequers is an Olde English Pub tucked away on a back alley of the main drag in Saugatuck. It’s cozy (sit by the fireplace), well-decorated (raise a pint!), and has fantastic fish and chips. You can also get Welsh rarebit, a ploughmans’ platter, shepherd’s pie, Guinness stew, bangers and mash – well, you get the idea. While it can be very crowded in the summer, in the winter, locals come and sit for a spell.
220 Culver St, Saugatuck, Michigan
Everyday People Café
11 Center Street, Douglas, Michigan
Jessie Voigts is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel resource for global educators. Love to learn about the world? Head to http://www.WanderingEducators.com
Photos and text © Jessie Voigts 2011 All rights reserved, used with permission