50 reasons why Michigan is foodie paradise

| 6 min read

Michigan Foodie Paradise
Michigan is one of the culinary capitals of the United States. Surprised? You shouldn’t be! Here are 50 reasons why our state is the best state for great food and drink:
  1. Grand Rapids was named Lonely Planet’stop travel destination in 2014, thanks to a robust local food and craft beer scene.
  1. Celebrity Chef Mario Batali named Cooks’ House in Traverse City one of his nine favorite restaurants in the world.
  1. Livability named Traverse City the top foodie city in the US.
  1. Michigan ranked fifth on USA Today’s list of the top 10 states for craft beer in 2013.
  1. Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids) and Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo) were listed at #4 and #8 respectively on USA Today’s list of the top 15 craft breweries in the US.
  1. Brew-pubs like Motor City Brewing in Detroit pair great local beer selections with top-notch grub.
  1. It may not be Coney Island, but you won’t find a better Coney hot dog than at Michigan institutions like National Coney Island, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island.
  1. The state is home to farmers who grow a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables – Michigan ranks second in the nation in agricultural diversity.
  1. Michigan is home to the Midwest’s best wineries, according to Midwest Wine Press.
  1. Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the World.
  1. Michigan is home to notable culinary events like the World Expo of Beer, National Asparagus Festival, National Strawberry Fest and National Cherry Festival.
  1. Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s, led by James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Young, operates nine different food businesses, serving up delicious deli and burgers, fresh baked goods, barbeque, ice cream, coffee and more.
  1. The Brinery (Ann Arbor) was recognized by the Gold Food Awards for producing some of the nation’s best sauerkraut and kimchi.
  1. Coffee lovers can savor aromatic blends from Grand Rapids’ Mad Cap Coffee, Simpatico Coffee and Michigan’s famous Bigby Coffee.
  1. Food Network host Ted Allen highlighted McClure’s pickles on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
  1. Community kitchens like People’s Food Co-Op and Can-Do Kitchen offer up unique local and sustainable dining options.
  1. Straight-to-your-door service from Doorganics puts fresh organic food at the tip of West Michigan’s fingers.
  1. Detroit’s Eastern Market is one of the oldest in the country – it has showcased the best local Michigan products since 1891.
  1. Restaurants like Terra GR create fresh dishes using the best local ingredients, including seasonal and sustainable produce and protein.
  1. The YardBird Sandwich at Slow’s Bar BQ (Corktown) was a finalist on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America on the Travel Channel.
  1. The Upper Peninsula State Fair features some of the region’s best vendors, like Norm’s French Fries and Croatian Chicken.
  1. Michigan serves up some tasty BBQ, including mouthwatering dishes from Royal Oak’s Lockhart’s BBQ, home of Grilling with Rich’s BBQ Person of the Year, Steve Coddington.
  1. 30,000 people attended the grand opening of Downtown Market Grand Rapids, which houses 19 of West Michigan’s best local producers under one roof.
  1. Originally sold in Detroit, Vernor’s is the oldest ginger ale brand in the United States.
  1. Hamtramck hotspots like Bozeks, New Martha Washington Bakery and New Palace Bakery serve up doughy delights on Packzi Day.
  1. Crystal Falls is home to the 37-acre “Humungous Fungus,” reportedly one of the world’s oldest living organisms, which produces tasty honey mushrooms.
  1. Zagat named the Upper Peninsula’s traditional pasty as the state’s signature sandwich.
  1. Food & Wine named Michigan’s smoked whitefish chowder one of the best regional recipes in the country – the magazine spotlighted the tasty version at Brown Fisheries Fish House in Paradise.
  1. Michigan is the leading national producer of high bush blueberries and tart cherries.
  1. Battle Creek is known as the Cereal Capital of the World – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was one of the early cereal pioneers and founded Kellogg’s cereal here in 1906.
  1. Food Network’s Diner, Drive-Ins & Dives has featured 10 Mitten State restaurants, including Polish Village Café (Hamtramck), The Fly Trap (Ferndale) and Rosie’s Diner (Rockford).
  1. HopCat in Grand Rapids was named the #3 beer bar in the world by Beer Advocate.
  1. Michigan has the fifth-most craft breweries and brew-pubs in the country.
  1. Michigan’s 331 farmers markets rank fourth in the country, according to the USDA.
  1. Iron Chef Michael Symon is heavily invested in the Michigan food scene – his award-winning Roast headlines at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, and he plans to open several B Spot burger restaurants in Michigan this year.
  1. Michigan’s sports teams serve up some truly unique cuisine – The West Michigan Whitecaps’ Fifth Third Burger was named a finalist in Minor League Baseball’s #FoodFight poll, and Ford Field was recognized by PETA as one of the top five NFL stadiums for vegetarian dining.
  1. The Daily Meal’s most recent list of America’s 101 best farmers’ markets included three from Michigan – Boyne City Farmers’ Market, Flint Farmers’ Market and Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market.
  1. Michigan is home to acclaimed chef Brian Polcyn, the man behind some of the state’s best restaurants, including the Forest Grill in Birmingham.
  1. There’s nothing quite like a visit to a Michigan apple mill or orchard – the state is home to some of the nation’s best, including King Orchards (Central Lake), named one of the 10 best places to pick apples in the country by USA Today.
  1. Michigan is home to nearly 16,000 dining establishments, and the restaurant industry accounts for 10% of the state’s jobs.
  1. Screams Ice Cream in Hell, Michigan serves up “sinfully delicious” frozen treats.
  1. Fish Lads Fish Monger Jeff Butzow draws on experience at Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market to bring Grand Rapids and West Michigan the freshest local seafood.
  1. Dundee is home to The Jerky Outlet, one of the world’s largest beef jerky stores.
  1. Michigan ranks fifth in Maple Syrup production in the US—sweet!
  1. Tourists flocking to Northern Michigan’s many world class confectioneries have earned the affectionate nickname, “Fudgies.”
  1. Local groceries like the Marquette Food Co-Op are spreading the love of locally sourced food throughout the UP.
  1. Thanks to its German roots, Frankenmuth is known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, and is famous for its Frankenmuth-style chicken dinners, served at establishments like Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’s.
  1. Traverse City is home to the World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan, which originally held the World’s Largest Chery Pie – weighing in at more than 28,000 pounds and measuring more than 17 feet in diameter.
  1. Culinary tourism is booming in Michigan, and the state’s great food scene has inspired the creation of specialized foodie tours, which showcase the best dining in regions across the state.
  1. Travel Channel host and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern named Dearborn one of his favorite destinations for ethnic cuisine in the US, thanks to its diverse selection of Middle Eastern restaurants.
There are countless dishes and dining hot spots that make Michigan’s food scene so great. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know!

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