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7 best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes you must try

Are you looking to try out some of the best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes? We’ve got you covered.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a beautiful travel destination for a range of traveler types.

There are many different restaurants in the region and here we have some of the best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes.

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Best tips for your Sleeping Bear Dunes trip

Here is an overview of the most important things to know before traveling to Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Where to stay:

Empire:

Glen Arbor:

Renting a car: Check out Rentalscars.com and Discover cars.

Need domestic travel insurance for your Sleeping Bear Dunes trip? Here you can find all info on domestic travel insurance for your trip.

What to pack for your Sleeping Bear Dunes trip? Hiking shoeshiking poles, and ice cleats if you visit in winter.

Overview of the best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes Michigan

Here’s a comparison table of the best places to eat near Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Read on for a short description of each restaurant.

Best restaurants near sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore

Type Specialties Amenities Location Price
Art’s Tavern

American

Burgers

• Takeout available
• Vegetarian options
• Parking available
• Outdoor seating

Glen Arbor $$-$$$
Joe's Friendly Tavern Joe’s Friendly Tavern

American

  • Burgers
  • Sandwiches

• Takeout available
• Vegetarian and Vegan options available
• No reservations

Empire $$
Wrap from the Shipwreck cafe Shipwreck café

American

Sandwiches

• No reservations
• Vegetarian and Vegan-friendly options
• Gluten Free options
• Outdoor seating

Empire $
Burgers from Good Harbor Grill Good Harbor grill

American

Seafood

• Vegan and Vegetarian options
• Takeout available
• Off-street parking
• Outdoor seating

Glen Arbor $$-$$$
Cherry Public house Cherry republic house

American

  • Cherry-based foods
  • Pub food

• Street parking
• Takeout available
• Outdoor seating
• Free wi-fi

Glen Arbor $$-$$$
Bear paw pizza

Pizza

Pizza

• Takeout available
• No reservations
• Private parking
• Bike parking

Glen Arbor $$-$$$
Trattoria Funistrada

Italian

Italian

• Reservations available
• Parking available
• Wheelchair accessible

Glen Arbor $$-$$$
Fine dining at Blu Blu

Fine dining

  • Fine dining
  • seafood

• Reservations available
• Parking available
• Outdoor seating
• Wheelchair-accessible

Glen Arbor $$$$
La Becasse

French

French

• Reservations available
• Parking available
• Outdoor seating
• Vegetarian options

Maple City $$$$

Best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes Michigan

Best American restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Art’s Tavern

Art’s Tavern is a homey, welcoming restaurant steeped in local history.

Dating back to 1934 in its current form and 1926 under a different name, Art’s Tavern is a staple of the town and is full of unique stories and relics of history.

They primarily serve American cuisine comfort food – burgers, tater tots, and a wide variety of sandwiches. Visiting Art’s Tavern is a great way to really feel part of the local community, and is a great chance to learn about some interesting aspects of the town or the tavern itself.

There is also a full bar and depending on seating capacity, sometimes a pool table.

The tavern is able to stay open during power cuts due to having its own generator and even a water treatment plant, making it very reliable.

Note that only cash or checks are accepted, which may be important to remember for those used to paying by card.

Specialties: Burgers

Amenities and more:

  • Takeout available
  • Vegetarian options
  • Parking available
  • Outdoor seating

Price range: $$-$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 6487 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-5101

Opening hours:  Art’s Tavern is open 7 days a week from 8 am to 9 pm. Any changes to opening hours can be seen on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Previous guests enjoyed the generous portions and delicious American classics.

Most people found the service fast and polite. Some guests had issues with the initial check-in process and being seated.

Website: https://www.artsglenarbor.com/

Joe's Friendly Tavern
Joe’s Friendly Tavern (photo credits: Joe’s Friendly Tavern)

Joe’s Friendly Tavern

Joe’s Friendly Tavern is a traditional tavern, complete with filling food, friendly hosts, and rich history.

The location has been a gathering place in the town of Empire since 1880 with the first iteration of the Friendly Tavern being built in 1940.

The building in its current form was constructed in 1946 and has been added to and modernized throughout the decades.

While the business has changed hands multiple times, it has always been maintained as a family business with all members of the family involved.

Joe’s Friendly Tavern specializes in burgers but is also popular for its large sandwiches. Many guests enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere along with the delicious food.

Specialties: Burgers, Sandwiches

Amenities and more: 

  • Takeout available
  • Vegetarian and Vegan options available
  • No reservations

Price range: $$

Location: Empire

Address: 11015 Front St, Empire, MI 49630

Opening hours:  Joe’s Friendly Tavern is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm on Sunday – Thursday and 8 am to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Any changes to opening hours will be on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Previous guests enjoyed the range of appetizers and generous portions. The burgers are very popular and many guests enjoyed the range of local craft beers and local cola.

The service is described as the perfect level of friendly and welcoming without being overbearing.

Website: https://www.joesfriendlytavern.com/

Wrap from the Shipwreck cafe
Filling sandwiches at the Shipwreck café (photo credits: Shipwreck café)

Shipwreck café


General description of the restaurant:

The Shipwreck Café offers something a bit different to the town of Empire with its fresh and modern cuisine. Predominantly dealing in wraps, sandwiches, and salads, the café provides a new, healthy twist on standard American cuisine.

The café is conveniently located for visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes to either pick up something to eat later on a day trip or to stop and take a break on their way.

The casual atmosphere, outdoor seating, and relaxing surroundings provide a perfect stopping point. The café also has seasonal woodfired pizza and sweet treats available.

The large, fresh cookies are particularly popular. The Shipwreck Café is a great family business offering simple yet delicious food, suitable for a range of occasions.

Specialties: Sandwiches

Amenities and more: 

  • No reservations
  • Vegetarian and Vegan-friendly options
  • Gluten Free options
  • Outdoor seating

Price range: $

Location: Empire

Address: 11691 S Lacore Rd, Empire, MI 49630-9402

Opening hours:  The Shipwreck Café is open daily from 9 am – 2 pm. Changes in opening hours will be announced on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant: Previous guests loved the large, fresh, and well-made sandwiches that are the specialty of The Shipwreck Café. The desserts, especially the cookies, are also a favorite among visitors.

Many guests stated that the friendly service and the welcoming atmosphere encouraged them to keep coming back and they enjoyed picking up lunch on their way to various tourist destinations in the area.

Website: https://shipwreckcafe.com/

Burgers from Good Harbor Grill
Fresh sandwiches at the Good Harbor grill (photo credits: Good Harbor Grill)

Good Harbor grill

General description of the restaurant:

The Good Harbor Grill is a charming little restaurant in Glen Arbor.

It was built with the intention of providing the perfect food for traveling, the kind of food everyone looks for after sailing or exploring.

This involved focusing on freshness – fresh vegetables, salads, seafood, and more.

The owners created a nautical theme with a welcoming atmosphere to provide fresh and filling food for travelers to the area.

The focus on fresh ingredients has also allowed the restaurant to provide an array of appetizing vegetarian and vegan options.

They are a popular breakfast option in Glen Arbor due to their range of seating options and light breakfast options.

Many previous guests enjoyed their seafood dishes, especially seafood pastas.

Specialties: Seafood, Vegetarian

Amenities and more:

  • Vegan and Vegetarian options
  • Takeout available
  • Off-street parking
  • Outdoor seating

Price range: $$-$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 6584 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-5116

Opening hours:  The Good Harbor Grill is open daily from 8 am – 9:30 pm. It is closed in Winter. Seasonal changes to the schedule are announced on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Previous guests enjoyed the light and fresh options available at Good Harbor Grill. Many guests returned multiple times during their visit to the area.

The quaint décor and delicious food made for an overall pleasant experience for most customers.

Website: https://www.goodharborgrill.com/

Cherry Public house
The Cherry republic House (photo credits: Cherry republic)

Cherry republic house

General description of the restaurant:

Leelenau is well-known as the heartland of cherry farming and the home of some of the best cherries around.

The Cherry Republic is a constantly expanding business focusing on showcasing the best the area has to offer.

Their store offers over 200 cherry-based products along with a nearby winery.

The Cherry republic House is the restaurant portion of the Cherry Republic and provides a range of unique cherry-based dishes. They have local craft beers, a range of cherry sodas, and a large dessert selection including homemade cherry ice cream and pie.

Some of the most popular items on the lunch and dinner menu include the Cherry Bacon Marmalade Burger and Cherryaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Specialties: Cherry-based foods, Pub food

Amenities and more: 

  • Street parking
  • Takeout available
  • Outdoor seating
  • Free wi-fi

Price range: $$-$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 6026 S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-5115

Opening hours:  The Cherry Public House is open daily from midday through to 8 pm. The Cherry Republic store is open from 9 am. Seasonal closures or changes to opening hours can be seen on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant: The Cherry Republic has become an institution in this part of Michigan and is very popular in its own right for the many cherry products sold. Most visitors to the restaurant are already fans of the brand and are enthusiastic about the cherry-based selections. Visitors praised the efficient ordering and serving solutions and enjoyed the flavourful cherry dishes – both savory and sweet.

Website: https://cherryrepublic.com/cherry-public-house/

Best pizza near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Bear paw pizza

General description of the restaurant:

Bear Paw Pizza is an interesting business with a unique combination of convenience and liquor store with a restaurant. They provide homemade pizza and salads, as well as a wide selection of alcohols and even build-your-own craft beer six-packs.

Some previous guests found the concept confusing at first but warmed up to it once they found the delicious pizza offered by Bear Paw.

The service is fast and friendly with both takeaway and eat-in pizzas available (although alcohol is takeaway only).

The atmosphere is warm and welcoming with picnic tables outside leading to enjoyable conversations with other patrons.

The pizzas are cooked quickly yet thoroughly and come with generous toppings and thick crusts.

There is a wide array of flavors available and many can be adjusted for personal preference.

Specialties: Pizza

Amenities and more:  

  • Takeout available
  • No reservations
  • Private parking
  • Bike parking

Price range: $$-$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 6444 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-5101

Opening hours:  Thursday – Saturday 4 pm – 8.30 pm

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Most previous guests enjoyed the large pizzas with generous toppings.

The unique design of the restaurant was confusing for some guests but most enjoyed the friendly atmosphere.

Some visitors felt the pizza was overpriced, while others believed it was worth it for the quality and location.

Website: https://www.bearpawpizza.com/home

Best Italian restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Trattoria Funistrada

General description of the restaurant:

Trattoria Funistrada is a quaint little Italian restaurant located in the town of Glen Arbor.

It is a small family-owned business that aims to revive the spirit of ‘neighborhood dining’.

The owners intend to cater to the many families who either live in the area or come back year after year seasonally. They provide filling and comforting Italian meals and are especially popular for their pastas. They offer reservations that generally last for 1 and 45 minutes, although you can request longer. The current menu doesn’t have any vegetarian or vegan options, however, the website states that some substitutions can be made.

There is usually a fee for this and the kitchen can refuse if they believe they will not be able to make it up to a sufficient standard or if they don’t have the necessary ingredients.

Specialties: Italian

Amenities and more:

  • Reservations available
  • Parking available
  • Wheelchair accessible

Price range: $$-$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 4566 W Macfarlane Rd Burdickville, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-9726

Opening hours:  Trattoria Funistrada is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 5:30 pm. Any changes to the scheduling can be seen on their website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Previous guests enjoyed the charm of the small restaurant and the atmosphere created. The large portions and rich food is a favorite of all visitors.

The fresh, locally-sourced ingredients allow for the meals to be delicious and flavorful.

Some guests mentioned that it is necessary to make a reservation and be there on time, due to the small size of the restaurant.

This can also sometimes lead to issues with crowding.

Website: https://trattoria-funistrada.com/

Fine dining at Blu
Fine dining at Blu in Glen Arbor (photo credits: Blu)

Best fine dining near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Blu

General description of the restaurant:

Blu is set in a beautiful location overlooking Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands.

The amazing views add to the ambiance of this fine dining restaurant.

Their highly-acclaimed chef has a daily changing menu, meaning every visit to Blu is unique.

The restaurant combines European techniques with locally-sourced fresh ingredients.

They also have an extensive wine range from some of the best wineries around the world. Blue provides an emphasis on simplicity, flavor, and fresh products.

They aim to enhance the natural flavors of the food rather than masking them with overbearing sauces or seasoning.

Previous guests loved the panoramic views combined with high-quality, well-prepared dishes.

Specialties: Fine dining, seafood

Amenities and more: 

  • Reservations available
  • Parking available
  • Outdoor seating
  • Wheelchair-accessible

Price range: $$$$

Location: Glen Arbor

Address: 5705 S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636-5102

Opening hours:  Blu is open Wednesday through to Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm. This is the winter schedule. The summer schedule will be posted to their website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Blu has many raving reviews with guests enjoying the amazing food, carefully-selected wine, and stunning views.

Some guests felt the menu was a little limited, however, this is fairly standard for many high-end restaurants.

It is also understandable given the daily changing nature of the menu.

All reviews praised the chef and owners for the food and atmosphere created.

Website: https://www.glenarborblu.com/menu

Best breakfast restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Art’s Tavern

Art’s Tavern is a popular breakfast choice for its traditional breakfast options.

Whether you prefer pancakes or bacon and eggs, Art’s provides traditional, comforting American breakfasts.

The portions are large, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is friendly.

Joe's friendly tavern
Joe’s friendly tavern (photo credits: Joe’s Friendly Tavern)

Joe’s friendly Tavern

Joe’s Friendly Tavern has a rustic and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for a filling breakfast first thing in the morning.

There is a range of breakfast options available, suitable for everyone.

Some previous guests missed the breakfast cut-off time (11 am most days and noon on Sunday) and enjoyed the lunch option as breakfast just as much.

Good Harbor Grill

Good Harbor Grill is one of the most popular breakfast options in Glen Arbor.

The commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients really contributes to providing great breakfast options.

Many previous guests returned multiple days in a row for breakfast while on holiday and highly recommended it to others.

Shipwreck cafe

Shipwreck Cafe is well-known for its large, fresh, and well-made sandwiches and wraps, and this includes the breakfast options.

Many visitors enjoyed getting breakfast at Shipwreck Cafe on the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes or another tourist destination.

A lot of guests also picked up a lunch sandwich takeaway for later in the day after enjoying the breakfast selection.

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Winter
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Winter

Best French restaurant near Sleeping Bear Dunes

La Becasse

General description of the restaurant:

La Becasse is a small restaurant specializing in French cuisine and techniques.

It is often labeled a ‘hidden treasure’ or ‘local secret’, due to its delicious food yet unintuitive location.

It is often missed by travelers, but should be on everyone’s lists of restaurants to try while in the sleeping bear dunes area.

The chef is classically trained in France and brings years of experience working in various parts of the world.

He has lived in Michigan for a number of years and brings together the tastes of Michigan and the cuisine of France in a unique and delicious way.

The escargot and profiteroles are especially popular and are recommended by many previous visitors.

Specialties: French

Amenities and more: 

  • Reservations available
  • Parking available
  • Outdoor seating
  • Vegetarian options

Price range: $$$$

Location: Maple City

Address: 9001 S Dunns Farm Rd, Maple City, MI 49664-9668

Opening hours:  La Becasse is open Wednesday through to Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm. The schedule can be checked on the website.

What people are saying about this restaurant:

Previous guests enjoy the classically decorated, quaint interior and French charm of the food.

Visitors enjoyed a range of French dishes, including escargot, duck confit, and profiteroles.

Service was fast and convenient and visitors left happy with their dining choice.

Website: https://restaurantlabecasse.com/

Good Harbor Grill
Good Harbor Grill (photo credits: Good Harbor Grill)

Best Vegetarian restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Good Harbor Grill

Good Harbor Grill is very popular for its range of vegetarian options.

Good Harbor is dedicated to celebrating fresh ingredients, and this helps to create a range of delicious meals based around fresh vegetables, salads, and fruits.

Rather than just a few vegetarian options, Good Harbor Grill provides many vegetarian and vegan choices, giving vegetarians the same experience as those who eat animal products.

Joe’s Friendly Tavern

Joe’s Friendly Tavern offers a range of vegetarian options and is quite impressive considering the size and style of the restaurant. This includes veggie burgers, the ‘impossible burger’, various salads, and other vegetarian options.

Shipwreck café

As part of their large sandwich selection, Shipwreck Café includes a number of vegetarian sandwiches and wraps.

Some of the non-vegetarian options can also be easily adjusted to be vegetarian.

The fresh ingredients and well-packed sandwiches are a true celebration of the vegetarian ingredients in their purest form.

D.H. Day Barn at Glen Arbor
Glen Arbor

Best takeout restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Shipwreck Café

As mentioned, Shipwreck Café is very popular as a takeout option for travelers on their way to or from Sleeping Bear Dunes and other nearby destinations.

The convenient location, portable nature of sandwiches and wraps, and delicious menu keep Shipwreck Café as a favorite takeout choice for many visitors.

Bear Paw pizza

Bear Paw Pizza is a great takeout option for visitors to Glen Arbor.

They provide the quality and flavor of homemade, restaurant-quality pizza with the convenience of takeout.

The combination of the liquor/convenience store concept best comes into play with takeout, as you are able to find a unique craft beer, a local drink, or a variety of cold drinks to go with your pizza and take home to enjoy.

Conclusion

The area around Sleeping Bear Dunes is an amazing destination for families, hiking enthusiasts, nature photography lovers, and more.

It is a unique intersection of various environments and home to amazing nature with a range of activities to enjoy.

Most accommodation options have space for home cooking but it is only natural to want to eat out sometimes while on holiday.

Here we have some of the best restaurants near Sleeping Bear Dunes for you to try out on your next vacation.