Restaurants that embody Great Lakes Cuisine by City.

Click on the restaurant name to navigate to the restaurant website when available. Use the “Description” to connect to the post that features a write-up on that location or event, where available.

Contemporary indicates a location that is adapting past ethnic traditions to modern cuisine. Casual indicates an every-day dining adaptation or representation of the cuisine.  Traditional indicates a location that is a representative sample of the historic ethno-culinary tradition.

Michigan – Ann Arbor

1. The Produce Station, Traditional, Representative dish – Kielbasa

Michigan – Detroit

1. The Root Restaurant, Contemporary, Representative dish – House Smoked Meatloaf made with Grass Fed Michigan Beef, served with Crushed Baby Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Mushroom ‘Gravy’, Pecorino

2. Roast – Contemporary, Representative dish – Beef Cheek Pierogi

3. Forest Grill – American Bistro, Representative dish – Bratwurst, Potato Confit, Frisée, Truffle Vinaigrette as well as the extensive House Charcuterie. Previously owned by Brian Polcyn, author of “Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing”), he departed in spring, 2015 and restaurant has changed culinary directions.

Michigan – Grand Rapids

1. Brewery Vivant, Gastro-pub, Description, Representative dish – Duroc Pork with spaetzel gruyere gratin

2. Founder’s Brewing Company Taproom, Brew-pub, Description, Representative dish – Curmudgeon sandwich

3. Hop Cat, Bar, Description, Representative dish – Crack Fries

Michigan – Muskegon

1. Mia & Grace, Contemporary, Representative dish – Beef Tongue Schnitzel

Minnesota – Minneapolis

1. Butcher and the Boar – Contemporary, Representative dish – Wild Boar Blood Sausage with potato apple mash and pickled apple

2. HauteDish – Contemporary, Representative dish – Tater Tot Haute Dish

3. The Bachelor Farmer – Contemporary, Representative dish – Grilled duck hearts with roasted cauliflower, pickled squash, and smoked pork shoulder

4. The Sample Room – Gastro-pub, Representative dish – Bison/beef/pork meatloaf with smoked ketchup

5. Heartland – Contemporary, Representative dish – Smoked kielbasa corn dogs, Summit Ale mustard, creamy vegetable slaw

6. Upton 43 – New Nordic, Representative dish – Full smørrebrød menu

Ohio – Cleveland

1.The Greenhouse Tavern, Representative dish – Duck Zampone w/ braised winter kale, chestnut, apple & sage

2.Lola – Contemporary, Representative dish – Beef Cheek Pierogi

3. Hodge’s – Contemporary, Representative dish – Cleveland Smorgasbord – pickled vegetables, mustard served with pork/fennel sausage and Cabot clothbound cheddar, spicy lamb sausage  and Humboldt Fog chevre, and smoked duck kielbasa and Roth Kase buttermilk bleu cheese

New York – Buffalo

1. Anchor Bar, Casual, Representative Dish – Inventor of the original Buffalo Wings

2. Charlie the Butcher, Casual, Representative Dish – Beef on Weck (roast beef on kummelweck roll)

Wisconsin – Madison

1. Forequarter – Bistro, Representative Dish – Seared Pheasant with crispy sunchokes, n’duja vinaigrette and fiddlehead ferns

2. The Old Fashioned – Traditional, Representative Dish – Scandinavian-style chicken with sausage & currant dressing, smashed red bliss potatoes, buttered parsnips and carrots

3. Graze – Gastropub, Representative Dish – Craft brewery inspired dinners

4. Merchant – Gastropub, Representative Dish – housemade beef and pork sausage, Uphoff Farm’s pork belly, stewed winter apple, pickled red cabbage kraut, turnip puree

5. Freiburg Gastropub – Gastropub (obviously), Representative dish – Entire menu is styled as modern German

Wisconsin – Milwaukee

1. Hinterland – Contemporary, Description, Representative dish – see description (Closed permanently Fall, 2017. Chef Dan Van Rite now runs EsterEv, see below)

2. Ardent – Contemporary, Representative dish – Milk (cow’s milk from a single milking in a roll, cultured butter and Muenster cheese)

3. Storyhill BKC – Contemporary Casual, Representative dishes – Lake Superior Whitefish ham crusted, Pork Country Spare Ribs served with sour cabbage, Lake Trout with tomato jam.

4. Odd Duck – Global Fusion, Description, Representative dish – chicken schnitzel, handmade Bratwurst, cheesy pork belly, spätzle, with Brussels sprout sauerkraut (Menu is global fusion cuisine, featuring regular Great Lakes Cuisine offerings)

5. Balzac – Bistro, Representative dish – kielbasa, pea & potato soup (Menu is French bistro inspired, featuring regular Great Lakes Cuisine offerings)

6. Honey Pie  – Casual, Description, Representative dish – daily pasty, best damn burger in Milwaukee

7. Three Brothers – Traditional Serbian, Representative dish – entire menu is historic Serbian-American cuisine

8. Weissgerber’s GastHaus – Traditional German, Representative dish – entire menu is historic German-American cuisine (Closed permanently, summer 2016)

9. Karl Ratzsch’s – Traditional German, Description, Representative dish – entire menu is German-American cuisine, but you have to try the Consommé with Liver Dumplings (Closed permanently, Spring 2017)

10. Rumpus Room – Modern Gastropub, Representative dish – Breaded boneless pork loin schnitzel with arugula, shaved mushrooms, a fried egg, and Foenegreek goud. Also a very good rotating selection of craft beers from the Great Lakes region. (Currently closed)

11. Stubby’s Gastropub and Beer Bar, Gastropub, Description, Representative dish – Bluegill Sliders. Also a very large, rotating selection of some the finest craft beers from the Great Lakes region. (Closed 2023)

12. Morel, Modern American, Representative dish – Beef Short Rib, Celery Root, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Watercress, Bacon, Beef Jus

13. Braise – Farm to Table, Representative dish(es) – Caraway roasted celery root soup with puffed wild rice & watercress oil // Brown butter rutabaga with pork braised mushrooms, pickled onion & dill

14. EsterEv – Contemporary Global Fusion, Description, Representative dish – pastrami-style short rib, red cabbage puree, crisped pumpernickel, potato cake, pickled mustard seed and red mustard leaves

15. Birch + Butcher – Contemporary Great Lakes, Representative dish – Potato and kraut agnolotti, bacon, Surchoix cheese

16. Pilot Project Brewing Tasting Room – Contemporary Great Lakes, Representative dishes – Porchetta Flatbread, Smoked Trout Devilled Eggs, Pretzel Bites with Fonduta

17. Vanguard Bar – In their words “we set out to make a truly unique Milwaukee experience. Offering an elevated approach to Milwaukee’s Beer and Brat tradition, we specialize in House-made sausages, while the casual, pretension-free environment pays homage to Milwaukee’s classic corner bar atmosphere”


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