See all of the nominations for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining

Our search for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining is off to a big start, thanks to all of you who shared your favorite restaurants that are offering fun and creative ways to dine outside. We received 130 nominations from all over the state.

Michigan restaurants have really gone above and beyond when it comes to creating some of these outdoor spaces. We’ve heard of hand made yurts, shanty towns, repurposed duck blinds, tents, igloos and greenhouses. Several downtowns have turned whole streets into outdoor refreshment areas. Over in the Bay City area, locals have formed Operation Shantyville in order to support their local restaurants that can’t afford outdoor seating. The group picks a restaurant and invites everyone to come dine outside in the parking lot, bringing whatever type of shelter you’d like. While turning to outdoor dining wasn’t a choice for our restaurants, they’ve made the best of it, and we hope that many of these new outdoor options are here to stay.

It wasn’t an easy decision for some of our restaurants to decide to offer outdoor dining. Megan Spencer, daughter of Brent & Sherry Skaggs, who own Harvey’s Grill & Bar in Saginaw, reached out and shared their original doubts. “We weren’t sure how the winter patio would go over, it felt like a big risk to purchase expensive igloos and take on the cost of heating it nightly,” she said. “But, we were shocked and delighted when people started calling and messaging us, asking how to get a reservation. The excitement our small remaining staff had figuring out the layout and hanging twinkling lights has brought joy to us. While it would never make up for the loss of sales we’ve experienced, seeing guests dine with us, and being so gracious to our staff, has made it all worth it.”

Now that we’ve gotten all of the nominations, we’ll be putting all the restaurants into regional polls, and will be sharing them with you tomorrow, January 26. We encourage you to vote for your favorites, and you can vote in as many polls as you like. Voting will close on Friday January 29 at 3pm.

How to vote for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining in our 11 regional polls.

Then, John Gonzalez and I will head out, separately, to check out some of these incredible spots first hand, and share their stories with you. We can’t wait to see some of these set ups in person, and to hear all about how these inventive restaurant owners came up with them.

To everyone who has bundled up, and went out to support our local restaurants by dining outside during a Michigan winter, we salute you, and our restaurants thank you. “We wanted to remind readers of what their support to a small business means,” Spencer said. “It goes beyond sales. It’s kept our hope alive.”

You can see all of the nominees for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining below. They are arranged by region.

The search for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining is sponsored in part by Warm Fitness.

Cocktail kits to-go

Ethanology in Elk Rapids is offering cocktail kits to-go, including this brightly colored “Healthy Glow”.Courtesy Photo, used with permission.

Upper Peninsula

Gino’s Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

800 Quincy St, Hancock, MI 49930

https://www.ginosofhancock.com/

Keweenaw Brewing Company

408 Shelden Ave, Houghton, MI 4993

https://kbc.beer/

Amy's top 10 beers of 2020

My Chest Hurts from Snowbelt Brewing is an excellent beer no matter the season.

Northern Lower Michigan

Snowbelt Brewing

132 W Main St, Gaylord, MI 49735

https://www.snowbelt.beer/

Ludington Bay Brewing Company

515 S James St, Ludington, MI 49431

https://ludingtonbaybrewing.com/

Ethanology

127 Ames St, Elk Rapids, MI 49629

https://www.ethanologydistillation.com

Austin Brothers Beer Company

821 W Miller St, Alpena, MI 49707

https://www.austinbrosbeerco.com/

Riverwalk Grill at Riverwalk Place

777 W Cedar Ave, Gladwin, MI 48624

https://www.riverwalkplace.net/

Shepherd Bar and Restaurant

324 W Wright Ave, Shepherd, MI 48883

https://www.shepherdbar.com/

Corner Bistro

102 N Bridge St, Bellaire, MI 49615

https://www.cornerbistrobellaire.com/

Palette Bistro

321 Bay St, Petoskey, MI 49770

https://www.palettebistropetoskey.com/

Alpine Tavern & Eatery

220 S Otsego Ave #1, Gaylord, MI 49735

https://www.alpinetavernandeatery.com/

Mammoth Distilling

221 Garland St D, Traverse City, MI 49684

https://mammothdistilling.com/traverse-city/

Porter Haus

3885 Old Hwy 27 S, Gaylord, MI 49735

https://porterhausgaylord.com/

Northern Trails Bar and Grill

7242 E 88th St, Newaygo, MI 49337

https://northerntrailsbar.weebly.com/

Hop Lot Brewing Company

658 S W Bay Shore Dr, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

https://hoplotbrewing.com/

Kegger Campground at Short’s Brewing Company

121 N Bridge St, Bellaire, MI 49615

https://www.shortsbrewing.com/bellaire-kegger-campground/

Pond Hill Farm

5699 S Lake Shore Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

https://www.pondhill.com/

Big Hart Brewing

4086 W Polk Rd, Hart, MI 49420

https://bighartbrewing.com/

Dead Bear Brewing

2552 South, I-75BL, Grayling, MI 49738

https://www.deadbearbrewing.net/

Big Buck Brewery

550 S Wisconsin Ave, Gaylord, MI 49735

https://www.bigbuckbrewery.com/

The Swamp II Bar & Restaurant

6549 N Old 27, Frederic, MI 49733

https://www.facebook.com/SwampIIBar/

Iron Fish Distillery

14234 Dzuibanek Rd, Thompsonville, MI 49683

https://ironfishdistillery.com/

Otsego Resort-Duck Blind Grill

696 M32 E, Gaylord, MI 49734

https://www.otsegoclub.com/dine/duck-blind-grille/

Michael’s Tavern & Steakhouse

4653 S Straits Hwy, Indian River, MI 49749

https://michaelstavernandsteakhouse.com/

Cut River Grille on Higgins Lake

1136 E Higgins Lake Dr, Roscommon, MI 48653

https://www.facebook.com/cutrivergrille/

Paddle Hard Brewing

227 Michigan Ave, Grayling, MI 49738

http://www.paddlehardbrewing.com/

Tinker’s Junction

6811 W M-72 Hwy, Grayling, MI 49738

https://www.tinkersjunction.com/

Blue Lake Tavern

9965 11 Mile Rd, Mecosta, MI 49332

https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Lake-Tavern-412968105480392/

Faull Inn

206 N Williams St, Rose City, MI 48654

https://www.facebook.com/faullinnrosecity/

Wangler’s Wagon Wheel

3480 Lehman Rd, West Branch, MI 48661

https://www.facebook.com/westbranchmi/

Rolling Oak Brewing

509 Norway St, Grayling, MI 49738

https://www.facebook.com/rollingoakbrewing

Michigan's Best Burger 2020

The 6FT Separation Burger was created during Covid-19 and is now one of the top sellers at O’s Pub and Grill in Auburn. It is topped with smoked gouda cheese, bacon jam, onion straws, lettuce, tomato and bacon aioli.John Gonzalez

Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw regions

Midland Brewing Company

5011 N Saginaw Rd, Midland, MI 48642

https://midlandbrewing.com/

Operation Shantyville

Throughout the Bay region

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3538042589617251

Harvey’s Grill & Bar

3055 Tittabawassee Rd, Saginaw, MI 48604

https://www.harveysgrillandbar.com/

Saginaw Old Town Junction

410 Mackinaw St, Saginaw, MI 48602

https://www.facebook.com/SaginawOldTownJunction/

O’s Pub & Grill

123 E Midland St, Auburn, MI 48611

https://ospubandgrill.com/

The Creek Grill

1259 S Poseyville Rd, Midland, MI 48640

https://www.creekgrill.com/

The Maple Grille

13105 Gratiot Rd, Hemlock, MI 48626

https://www.themaplegrille.net/

See all the nominations for Michigan's Best Outdoor Dining

Prost! in Frankenmuth offers up some amazing charcuterie boards, as well as cozy dining outside by the fire tables.

Flint and the Thumb

Anchor Point Bistro

201 N Riverside Ave, St Clair, MI 48079

https://theanchorpointbistro.com/

Prost! Wine Bar and Charcuterie

576 1/2, S Main St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

https://prostfrankenmuth.com/

Casey’s

628 Huron Ave, Port Huron, MI 48060

https://pizzaporthuron.com/

Lake Inn

3711 Hunt Rd, Lapeer, MI 48446

http://lakeinnlapeer.com/

Bird Creek Farms

282 Grindstone Rd, Port Austin, MI 48467

https://www.facebook.com/birdcreekfarms/

Barley & Vine

1072 Elms Rd, Flint, MI 48532

https://www.barleyandvinemi.com/

Fenton Fire Hall

201 S Leroy St, Fenton, MI 48430

https://www.fentonfirehall.com/

Four Star Grille

1835 Gratiot Blvd, Marysville, MI 48040

https://fourstargrille.com/

War Water Brewery

201 N Riverside Ave Suite C1, St Clair, MI 48079

http://www.warwaterbrewery.com/

Slo’ Bones BBQ and Smokehouse

175 E Jefferson St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

http://www.slobonessmokehaus.com/

The Gathering Place

898 N Van Dyke Rd, Bad Axe, MI 48413

https://www.gatheringplacebadaxe.com/

Grayling Outdoor Dining

Greenhouses at Rolling Oak Brewing Co. in Grayling, Michigan.Courtesy of Radel Rosin

Lansing and Central Michigan

The Watershed Tavern & Grill

5965 Marsh Rd, Haslett, MI 48840

https://www.thewatershedtavern.com/

Charlotte Brewing Company/ Eaton Pub & Grill

214 S Cochran Ave, Charlotte, MI 48813

https://charlottebrewerymi.com/

Brookshire Inn & Golf Club

205 W Church St, Williamston, MI 48895

https://www.brookshiregolfclub.com/

The English Inn

677 S Michigan Rd, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827

https://englishinn.com/

Lansing Brewing Company

518 E Shiawassee St, Lansing, MI 48912

https://www.lansingbrewingcompany.com/

Fabiano’s River House Bar & Grill

104 W Grand River Ave, Portland, MI 48875

https://riverhousebarandgrill.com/

Block Brewing Company

1140 S Michigan Ave, Howell, MI 48843

https://www.blockbrewingcompany.com/

Knight's Steakhouse in Ann Arbor

Knight’s Steakhouse is one of many stops for the search for the best chili in the state of Michigan.Jenna Kieser

Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan

Knight’s Steakhouse

2324 Dexter Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

https://knightsrestaurants.com/knights-steakhouse-dexter-avenue

TAQ-Taqueria Restaurant + Bar

106 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

https://www.taqannarbor.com/

The Beer Grotto

303 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

http://thegrottobar.com/

Red Rock Downtown BBQ

207 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

https://redrockypsi.com/

Salt Springs Brewery

117 S Ann Arbor St, Saline, MI 48176

http://www.saltspringsbrewery.com/

Black Pearl

302 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

https://www.blackpearlannarbor.com/

Paesano Restaurant and Wine Bar

3411 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

https://www.paesanoannarbor.com/

Danley’s Country House

8495 N Adrian Hwy, Tecumseh, MI 49286

https://www.mydanleys.com/

Pacific Rim by Kana

114 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

https://pacificrimbykana.com/

The Grateful Crowe

420 N Main St, Chelsea, MI 48118

https://www.thegratefulcrow.com/

Chateau Louise

4320 Luna Pier Rd, Luna Pier, MI 48157

https://www.facebook.com/chateaulouiselunapier/

Here’s To You Pub & Grub

45 North St, Hillsdale, MI 49242

https://herestoyoupubngrub.com/

Miss Kim

415 N 5th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

https://misskimannarbor.com/

York Food & Drink

1928 Packard St.Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

https://www.yorka2.com/

Local Eats: Oak Tree Lounge

The heated tent at the Oak Tree Lounge, 617 Oak Street in Jackson, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. The restaurant has an outdoor tent to enjoy takeout food and drinks during the pandemic.J. Scott Park | MLive.com

Jackson and Central Southern Michigan

Chateau Aeronatique Winery/ Blue Skies Brewery

12000 Pentecost Hwy, Onsted, MI 49265

https://chateauaeronautiquewinery.com/

Night Light/Nite Lite

145 W Pearl St, Jackson, MI 49201

https://www.facebook.com/JacksonNiteLite/

Boss Cider

139 S Main St, Leslie, MI 49251

https://www.bosscider.com/

Oak Tree Lounge

617 Oak St, Jackson, MI 49201

http://www.oaktreelounge.com/11730/Page.aspx

Over the Edge Sports Bar & Pizzeria

230 East Main Street shop 1, Manchester, MI 48158

https://www.facebook.com/overtheedgemanchestermi/

Cherry Creek Cellars

11500 Silver Lake Hwy, Brooklyn, MI 49230

https://cherrycreekwine.com/

Michigan's Best Winery

Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery is based in Baroda, Michigan, and has tasting rooms in other areas of the state. It also owns Tabor Hill Winery.John Gonzalez

Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan

Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe

355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

https://www.bellsbeer.com/eccentric-cafe

The Grill House

1071 32nd St, Allegan, MI 49010

https://grillhouse.net/

River Saint Joe

15475 Walton Rd, Buchanan, MI 49107

https://www.riversaintjoe.com/

One Well Brewing

4213 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

https://www.onewellbrewing.com/

Jac’s Cekola’s Pizza, Portage, Kalamazoo

3112 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

https://jacscekolaspizza.com/

The NODE-Downtown Niles

https://www.uncoverniles.com/

Bird Dog

57649 Murray St, Mattawan, MI 49071

https://www.birddogmattawan.com/

Cove Lakeside Bistro

9110 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002

https://www.covewestlake.com/

Round Barn Estate

10983 Hills Rd, Baroda, MI 49101

https://roundbarn.com/

North Pier Brewing Company

670 N Shore Dr, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

http://northpierbrewing.com/

Michigan's Best Chili Dr. Rolf's BBQ Muskegon

Dr. Rolf’s BBQ in downtown Muskegon was picked by John Gonzalez and Amy Sherman as Michigan’s Best Chili in November of 2019. They serve three distinct chilis: red, white and green.John Gonzalez

Muskegon and the Lakeshore

Curragh

73 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423

https://www.curraghholland.com/

Dr. Rolf’s BBQ

477 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

https://drrolfsbbq.com/

RAD DADS’ Tacos and Tequila Bar

470 W Western Ave suite a, Muskegon, MI 49440

https://www.facebook.com/raddadstacos/

The Hearthstone Bistro

3350 Glade St, Muskegon, MI 49444

https://www.hearthstonerestaurant.com/

Outdoor dining

One Twenty Three in Grand Rapids at Studio Park has an outdoor tent to dine in, and movies playing on the big screen outside.Courtesy Photo, used with permission.

Grand Rapids metro area nominees

Timbers Inn Restaurant & Tavern

6555 Belding Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

https://timbersinn.com/

Brewery Vivant

925 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

https://www.breweryvivant.com/

Gravity Taphouse Grille

3210 Deposit Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

https://www.gravitytaphouse.com/

Nonna’s Trattoria

584 Ada Dr SE, Ada, MI 49301

http://www.eatwithnonna.com/

One Twenty Three at Studio Park

123 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://123gr.com/

Margaux on the Deck, at the JW Marriot

235 Louis St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/grrjw-jw-marriott-grand-rapids/

The Winchester

648 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://www.winchestergr.com/

Zivio Modern European Tavern and Grill

724 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://ziviogr.com/

Royals

701 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://www.royalsgr.com/

Outdoor Coffee Company

734 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://outsidecoffeeco.com/

Welcome Center at City Built Brewing

https://www.facebook.com/thewelcomecenterbycitybuilt/

Brass Ring Brewery

2404 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

https://www.brassringbrewing.com/

Sand Bar and Grill

11368 M-179, Middleville, MI 49333

https://sandbargunlake.com/

RORA-Rockford Outdoor Refreshment Area

Downtown Rockford

https://rockfordmichamber.com/news/rockford-outdoor-refreshment-area-rora/

Bier Distillery

5295 W River Dr NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321

http://bierdistillery.com/

Rose’s Restaurant

550 Lakeside Dr SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506

https://www.thegilmorecollection.com/roses/

The Friesian Gastro Pub

720 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

https://www.friesiangr.com/

Lucy’s Cafe

1747 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505

https://www.lucyscafegr.com/

Cedar Springs Brewing Company

95 N Main St NE, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

https://csbrew.com/

Third Nature Brewing

7733 Childsdale Ave NE, Rockford, MI 49341

https://thirdnaturebrewing.com/

Tripelroot

146 E Main Ave, Zeeland, MI 49464

https://tripelroot.com/

Outdoor dining

The aptly named Fauci Fieldhouse at Batch Brewing allows for comfortable outdoor dining.Courtesy Photo, used with permission.

Detroit Metro Area

Karl’s Cabin Restaurant & Banquets

6005 Gotfredson Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170

https://www.karlscabin.com/

San Morello

1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

https://www.sanmorello.com/

Detroit Shipping Company

474 Peterboro St, Detroit, MI 48201

https://www.detroitshippingcompany.com/

Heat in the Street-Downtown Northville

https://www.downtownnorthville.com/1/163/index.asp

Joebar

23839 John R Rd #1, Hazel Park, MI 48030

https://www.joebar.com/

frame

23839 John R Rd #2, Hazel Park, MI 48030

https://www.framehazelpark.com/

Batch Brewing

1400 Porter St, Detroit, MI 48216

https://www.batchbrewingcompany.com/

Bobcat Bonnie’s

locations in Corktown, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Partridge Creek and Ferndale

http://www.bobcatbonnies.com/

East Eats

1018 Navahoe, Detroit, MI 48215

https://www.easteats.us/

Berkley Common

3087 Twelve Mile Rd, Berkley, MI 48072

http://berkleycommon.com/

Poole’s Tavern

157 E Main St, Northville, MI 48167

https://www.facebook.com/Pooles-Tavern-71508119133/

Northville Sports Den

133 W Main St, Northville, MI 48167

https://www.northvillesportsden.com/

Amici’s Kitchen and Living Room

3249 Twelve Mile Rd, Berkley, MI 48072

https://amiciskitchenandlivingroom.com/

Penny Black Grill & Tap

124 W 4th St, Rochester, MI 48307

https://www.pbrochester.com/

Augie’s Bar

31660 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

https://www.augiesbar.com/

Table 5

126 E Main St, Northville, MI 48167

https://table5.net/

White Horse Inn

1 E High St, Metamora, MI 48455

https://www.thewhitehorseinn.com/

Draught Horse Brewery

57721 Grand River Ave, New Hudson, MI 48165

https://www.draughthorsebrewery.com/

John Gonzalez Amy Sherman Michigan's Best

John Gonzalez and Amy Sherman cover the craft beverage industry for MLive.com.MLive

More Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining:

See the first 62 nominations for Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining

Igloos, shanties, huts and more: where to dine outdoors this winter in Michigan

How you can enjoy the cozy ‘hygge’ lifestyle at this Grand Rapids spot

Kalamazoo brewery tucks heaters under tables to create outdoor “Campground Patio”

This Northern Michigan town has transformed into an outdoor village

“Kegger Campground” debuts in Northern Michigan town with help from Short’s

Where Michigan snowmobilers can get a ‘turn and burn’ special on this Northern trail

Follow our Michigan’s Best adventures on social media:

@mlivemibest on Twitter

@mlivemibest on Instagram

Facebook at MLiveMIBest.

Join in by using the hashtags #mibest

In addition:

Amy Sherman is on Twitter @amyonthetrail, as well as Facebook and Instagram @amyonthetrail.

John Gonzalez is on Twitter @michigangonzo, as well as Facebook and Instagram @MichiganGonzo.