Traverse City is one of the most popular destinations in Michigan. It is about three hours northwest of Lansing by car and boasts beautiful beaches, lots of innovative restaurants, and tons of boutiques where you can buy books, clothes, and vacation souvenirs.
For the past four years, I have been traveling to Traverse City about once a month for several days. My firm has an office nestled close to downtown, and over the years I have worked with hundreds of clients in Northern Michigan. In the meantime, I’ve eaten in every restaurant, stayed in every hotel, and shopped in every boutique. Here are my favorites.
I always stay in the Cambria Suites hotel. Over the years I’ve spent upwards of 50 nights in this hotel and there are things that set it apart from the other hotels in TC. The gym is fantastic. There are functioning cardio machines, free weights, and Bosu balls. There is a pool and a hot tub. Reflect Bistro, the restaurant inside the Cambria, has a killer oatmeal and apple and beet salad.
After many trips up and down Front Street, I have determined that my favorite breakfast in town is from Morsels. I’m generally on my way to the office and don’t have time to sit and be waited on, nor do I want to spend more than half of my daily calories on a breakfast sandwich or French toast. Oatmeal and a latte from Morsels perfectly fit the bill, because this isn’t just any old oatmeal .
The oats are slow-cooked, then topped with pecan butter, pumpkin seeds, chopped dried apricots, maple syrup, and a warm splash of milk. They are just a bit sweet, and always keep me full until lunch. I ate this exact breakfast two out of three mornings on my last trip to TC. The latte is strong and hot, and I want one everyday.
Several years ago, a colleague introduced me to Centre Street Cafe. On every single subsequent trip to TC, I have had at least one meal from this local favorite, but generally it’s more like two or three or four meals. The salads are unbelievable. The sandwiches are creative and come with black bean dip and tortilla chips. The soups are fresh and flavorful (if they have cream of mushroom that day, GET IT.)
The Jia Jade salad is my favorite. Coconut crusted shrimp, sugar snap peas, chili cashews, mango, little sweet peppers, and so many other fresh crunchy vegetables make for an incredible lunch. Centre Street’s salad dressings are all made in-house, and the Tuscan Tenderloin and Pearadise salads are my runners-up.
While I love the soups and salads at Centre Street, there are two other components that seal the deal on making this my favorite lunch spot in TC. First, they have a wide variety of La Croix available in the cooler, and I freaking love La Croix (no coconut, please.) Second, these cookies. Apologies to my Grandma Johnson, but the chocolate chip with brown butter and walnuts from Centre Street is the best cookie I have ever had in my life.
Check back next week for another lunch option, my favorite places to grab coffee, my surprise sleeper best dinner option, plus some honorable mentions. Do you have a favorite place in Traverse City? Have you ever been to Northern Michigan?