Northern Michigan: US-31 from Elk Rapids to Charlevoix

Big T
Junior Burger
2012/07/19 11:30:34
Over the 4th of July weekend, we went up north to do a bit of a roadtrip around the Lake Charlevoix and Torch Lake area - basically from Elk Rapids to Charlevoix. Here are some of the spots we stopped at along the way:
Pearl's New Olreans Kitchen - Elk Rapids
I wouldn't have believed this if I didn't go there for myself, but Pearl's serves up some of the best Cajun/Creole you'll find outside of New Orleans. We liked it so much that we had to go twice. Crayfish etouffee, jambalaya, catfish po'boy, gumbo, crayfish cakes, New Orleans BBQ shrimp - all of it amazing.


Dairy Grille - Charlevoix
The Dairy Grille is your classic roadside burger and ice cream shack. They pride themselves on serving fresh local beef - they used to be a franchised Diary Queen but DQ wouldn't let them keep serving the local beef, so they gave up the franchise and went on their own. I had a cheeseburger, fries, and a thick chocolate malt. Nothing too noteworthy but solid all around and hit the spot after a long day of beach & sun.

Chicken-N-Stuff - East Jordan, MI
The next day, we went canoeing down the Jordan River, which feeds into Lake Charlevoix at the town of East Jordan. While driving around before our trip, we saw two places serving broasted chicken - I have had broasted chicken before but didn't know exactly what the cooking method was. Turns out it is chicken fried in a pressure cooker. Chicken was great but the broasted potatoes might have even been better.

Friske Orchards - US-31 about halfway between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix
On the stretch of US-31 between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix, you'll see a lot of orchards with markets. The best of the bunch might be Friske Orchards. A massive market with all sorts of preserves, jams, salsa, fresh picked berries, pies, donuts, barbecue, etc. Just a great place all around. Go there in the morning and get the donuts as they're coming out fresh from the fryer. They were pulling out a batch of cherry donuts when we arrived - amazing.


Great Lakes, Better Food
Re:Northern Michigan: US-31 from Elk Rapids to Charlevoix 2012/07/19 12:37:17
Big T,
Thanks for your trip report and welcome to Roadfood!  I lived in Traverse City for awhile back in the 80s.....I was the chef that opened the Trillium Restaurant in the Grand Traverse Resort.  One of my best friends lived on Torch Lake.  We would take the boat and go to a restaurant in Alden for dinner.  I Googled it but nothing struck me......perhaps they have changed the name or maybe even closed.  That sure is a beautiful part of Michigan.