Garden to Table: Restaurants That Grow Their Own Food

Farm-to-table restaurants—which is when a restaurant serves food from specific farms in the region and often calls out the farm on the menu—are still a hot trend in the Michigan dining scene. But you can go a step further and eat at restaurants that actually grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs. You can’t get more fresh and local than eating food grown in gardens run by a restaurant’s owners and chefs! Here are three to try around the state:

  • Blue Water Grill in Grand Rapids: This waterfront spot has an attached garden where the chef can pick rainbow carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes and even edible flowers for cocktails. If you want to really get close to where the food is grown, ask for their garden table and dine surrounded by plants. Try dishes like wild mushroom risotto, wood fired pizzas and wild salmon with grilled asparagus.
  • Boathouse in Traverse City: The owner of this restaurant owns a 10-acre farm where most of the vegetables, fruit and herbs used in the dishes come from. It produces everything from apples to microgreens—even the young turkeys served at Thanksgiving are raised there. Start with the asparagus salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette, move on to the crab-topped whitefish, and finish with one of the signature cheeseboards.
  • The Maple Grille in Hemlock: Because it’s located on six acres, the owners of The Maple Grille can grow a lot of the food they serve (they grow thousands of pounds of tomatoes a year). The menu changes constantly, but a recent one featured a kale veggie burger, potato salad with zucchini and beets and blueberry cream bar.

Professional chefs aren’t the only ones who can cook using food they grow themselves. Use your own backyard garden to inspire your cooking. Here are a few posts to get you started:


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