Amusement Parks
National Parks
Route 66 Cities Beaches




Getting There
The Mountain
The Highlands
The Nob

Petoskey is a century old, year round resort which was catering to the sailing, fishing and beach crowd long before skiing evolved. It is one of America’s wealthiest small towns, a second home to many auto executives and other high rollers from as far away as Chicago, Cleveland and Louisville. Because of this unique history, the only American ski resorts which can match Petoskey’s array of restaurants are Vail and Aspen, and theirs are far more expensive for the same quality of food, service and ambience. As usual, slopeside dining is not exactly state of the art, but it does beat most of its regional rivals. Seven Springs and Snowshoe, with their arrays of full scale restaurants positioned along the snow’s edge, are the only resorts outdoing the Mountain, Highlands and Nob, and their prices are higher. The soups, salads, chile, pizza and deli selections provide a better lunch for cost than other lodge counters, and a limited version of the menu is available top slope at warming huts

. The Mountain and Highlands have their huge, old rambling lodges with almost unlimited seating. The Nob has a much newer and well designed facility, but it is grossly undersized given the huge crowds it tries to service. At the Highlands you can savor your chile or salad at one of the big picture windows, and at the Mountain you can sit at your table and watch the action on the big screen, but at the Nob figure on enjoying the beef barley soup balanced on your lap in front of the fireplace or in one of the hundreds of soft lounging chairs.
Most of the hotels and motels in the area offer some sort of complementary breakfasts. So dinner becomes the key dining decision each day.
Skiiers staying slopeside may settle for the dining rooms at the Main Lodges. They're reasonably priced with a typical ski lodge menu. And on a snowy night, with tired legs from a day’s skiing and roads icing over, they're a reasonable choice.

But the real dining experiences are in Petoskey.
As with lodging, those seeking elegance should start with the Bay View Inn and Perry Hotel. You should call in advance to the Bay View, as it maintains a somewhat irregular schedule. But most days, it serves from 6-9 pm. Prices range in the high teens. The Great Lakes whitefish served on an oak plank, and two beef tenderloin dishes grilled or roasted in cherry sauce are trademarks.
The Perry Hotel’s Rose Room serves from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. Prices range in the teens. Locals recommend the apple smoked pork chops, grilled duck, and dusted whitefish.
Whitecaps is a more informal but still upscale waterfront stop. The goat cheese salad will wake up your taste buds. You can then appreciate the whitefish grenoble, salmon or grouper. The wood roasted chicken offers an alternative to seafood.
Petoskey folk like planked fish. Stafford’s Pier, down the road in Harbor Springs, features cedar planked salmon, oak planked lobster, and oak planked whitefish. But they also have Dover sole meuniere, macadamia whitefish, and honey thymed duck. Stafford’s is probably the priciest of the Petoskey restaurants, in the twenties and up.

Several Detroit natives we talked to consider Petoskey’s Villa Ristorante Italiano the best Italian restaurant in Michigan. They come up a few times every summer just to eat there. It’s a little pricier than most Italian eateries, with tabs in the teens and twenties. But the Cinghiale and Ossobuco make it worth the trip.
Families and groups should consider three moderate cost alternatives. The first is the Family Restaurant just across the street from the Apple Tree Inn. They serve ample portions of traditional foods at low prices. The meat loaf is an American classic. The Family also serves breakfast around the clock, so you can wind up a day on the slopes with pancakes or eggs.
Second in the family and group category is the Grand China Buffet, out on the northwest side of town. This may be the best buffet you’ve ever seen. Your teenagers can eat all they want, while you sample an incredible variety of fish, meats, vegetables, soups, desserts and other items. A youth group could eat every dinner here to squeeze the most out of their dollars.

But that would mean you wouldn’t make it to Tapperooney’s, which you’ll pass on the way to and from the Highlands and the Nob every day. And missing this great moderate cost restaurant would be a shame. They don’t take reservations, so you might want to stop on the way back from the slopes, before the evening crowd builds. But even a wait is worth it. The crab cakes, wings and artichoke dip only hint at what’s to come. For prices in the low teens, you can enjoy great seafood and barbeque. Or you can try their homestyle meals. Tapperooney’s offers three different kinds of macaroni and cheese, each coming in a large deep dish. Abby Leigh has eaten macaroni and cheese all across the country, and thought this was the best anywhere. Their chicken pot pie, meatloaf and wolverine fire steak are also memorable. The management and waiters here are outstanding; they should conduct seminars in customer service for other restaurants.

And finally there is the Mitchell Street Pub & Cafe, with a great menu of appetizers and sandwiches but, most famously, the best Walleye in town. They list it as fried but if you're real persuasive you can get it grilled or broiled. It doesn't matter how you get it, it's outstanding.

A Petoskey ski trip is worth it just to enjoy the food here once a year.

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