Small-town vibes and pure Americana perfectly describe Ludington, MI, a peaceful town right on the shores of Lake Michigan. As you drive through downtown Ludington, you’ll see adorable early 1900s houses lining the street, restored and painted in crisp, bright colors. Old shops have seen a renewal in foot traffic, with small businesses and local restaurants buzzing like bees.
Speaking of restaurants, where can you satisfy your cravings after walking through Ludington Avenue’s artisan shops and boutiques?
Of course, you can head back to your sleek Waters Edge Rental to whip up a quick lunch, but you’re on vacation and might not feel like cooking. We’ve watched Ludington expand its culinary scene in the last few years to include more artisanal experiences. Here’s our roundup of both old favorites and new spots, with menu items that’ll satisfy your hunger for fantastic food, refreshing drinks, and an inviting ambiance.
- Price: $$$
- Address: 130 W Ludington Avenue, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: Carolina Sweet Tea Duck with savory peppers and creamy parmesan risotto.
Starting back in 2016, Table 14 is owned and run by a Ludington-native husband and wife duo. But along with Michigan favorites like crab soups and whitefish, Table 14 serves up a fresh, seasonal menu with a nod to southern cooking.
Table 14 delivers an upscale bistro vibe where you can sit with your pals and chit-chat over classic cocktails before you order. Just like in the South, you can go a bit slower here. Order carefully crafted drinks, like the Smoked Old Fashioned, and relish the flavor of thoughtful appetizers like the Country Pan Fried Fritters, impressing your tastebuds with blackened shrimp and a Cajun remoulade.
And when you’re ready for the entrees? Indulge in that southern Juicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken and coleslaw or rich Charleston Shrimp and Grits. You deserve it.
The Mitten Bar
- Price: $$
- Address: 109 W. Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: Mac and Cheese with bacon and a slight spicy kick.
Michigan: from head to toe! The Mitten Bar is named for the shape of Michigan, and in true, small-town, Michigonian form, only sells food and beverages that are sourced from, you guessed it, the Mitten State! If you’re looking for a cozy brewpub with craft beer and non-Burger-King burgers, you’ve found the right place.
Laid back and casual, you can get pub favorites like ooey-gooey quesadillas and nachos piled high with all the fixings. Cheesy pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers also appeal to any crowd. Wash it all down with a flight of handcrafted beers and spirits from all around Michigan.
Old Hamlin Restaurant
- Price: $
- Address: 122 West Ludington Avenue, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: Homemade toast, thick sliced and fresh from the oven.
Old Hamlin is open year-round, but its hours are most expansive in the summertime. Think old timey diner vibes with freshly baked bread and larger-than-life cinnamon rolls. (Seriously, just one of those things takes up a whole full-sized takeout box!)
Home-cooked comfort food is on the docket at this nostalgic spot. Old Hamlin has been voted “Best Breakfast,” so we definitely suggest you stop by here in the morning for their classic American brunch. Ranging from fluffy pancakes with butter and maple syrup to the Old Hamlin Skillets overflowing with sauteed veggies, cheese, potatoes, eggs, and breakfast meats, the Old Hamlin’s breakfasts offer more than enough great food to fuel your day of exploring.
Perhaps the most popular menu item? The thick slices of homemade bread, which customers have drooled over since 1942!
- Price: $$
- Address: 1963 N Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: Pecan-crusted whitefish with brown butter, smashed redskin potatoes, and green beans.
Stix has been a classic Ludington hangout since 1954, and until just a few years ago, it had been an older, pub-style bowling alley. But when a local doctor bought the place, he freshened up Stix’s vibe with seasonal, fresh food options and a revamp to the bowling facilities.
At Stix, you can sit inside and enjoy the natural light that floods the dining room, or you can sit outside in their breezy biergarten. With an outdoor bar, a stage for live music, and multiple games like cornhole, this area is a beautiful little oasis for outdoor dining.
Looking for something more? Head into their upgraded bowling alley and order from their Bowling Menu, which features items like their Stix Famous Pizza, crunchy-yet-soft Classic Homemade Hushpuppies, and rich and creamy Chili Queso.
- Price: $
- Address: 301 S Rath Ave, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: A homemade cherry coke made with grenadine and served in a mason jar and curly fries!
This family-owned Ludington pub may not look grand from the outside — but what it lacks in visual aesthetic is rectified by delicious food and attentive service. Park on Rath Ave, and walk into the white building. You’ll find a large wooden bar and a smattering of tables and chairs where local families are enjoying a bite to eat. Sit down and open your paper menu, lovingly printed on newsprint with “The Grand” emblazoned on the front.
Pick from an enormous selection of sandwiches, classic burgers, and even an extensive Mexican selection. One of the local favorites around here is the massive, hand-rolled Wet Burrito, sure to satisfy the hunger of any teenage boy you may be toting around!
When visiting The Grand, the cherry cokes (or Dr. Peppers) and the curly fries are a must. Of course, this isn’t the place to go if you’re on a strict diet, but it sure is the place to go if you want to feed your soul.
Jamesport Brewing Company
- Price: $$
- Address: 410 S James St, Ludington, MI
- Favorite menu item: Cherry bourbon BBQ sirloin with a cherry bourbon sauce and fries.
Just down the street from Ludington Bay Brewing, Jamesport Brewing Company offers fantastic food and off-the-chain brews. Walk through the inviting brewery dining room to the beautiful portside garden for quaint outdoor seating. As you enjoy the warmth of the day, along with your ice-cold handcrafted beer, you’ll also take in sights of the pristine shores of Lake Michigan. If you’re really lucky, the SS Badger, the last remaining coal-powered ferry in the US, might sail by.
Start off with their signature one-pound, giant soft pretzel, served with homemade beer cheese, and for the main course? Try the soothing yet healthy healthy Turkey and Goat Cheese panini with sliced pear and spinach. A homemade chocolate and raspberry mousse cake is waiting for you for dessert!
House of Flavors Restaurant
- Price: $$
- Address: 402 W Ludington Avenue, Ludington, Michigan
- Favorite menu item: Strawberry Shortcake Sundae, with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, a buttermilk biscuit, whipped cream, and a Michigan Cherry.
Ice cream aficionados, unite! And we’re not talking about Dairy Queen. House of Flavors is a Ludington staple that has been around since the 60s, and for good reason. The 50s-esque diner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving classics like fresh-roasted turkey sandwiches, burgers, and dogs.
But the real star of the show at House of Flavors is its creative ice cream dishes. With 35 flavors and counting, including gluten-free, dairy-free, or sugar-free options, there’s truly a flavor for everyone. Try the Blu Moon signature flavor! Besides being memorable for its striking blue color, everyone who tries it can’t seem to figure out what flavor it actually is! Citrus and vanilla? Almond? Have a bite and see for yourself!
You can get yourself an ice cream cone, or you can have one of their famous “Pig’s Dinners.” This is House of Flavors’ take on the classic banana split, served in a wooden trough. As a word of caution, you may have to split this one with friends!
Enjoy Ludington’s Craft Food Scene
Ludington has some of the best restaurants and beaches in all of West Michigan, and we can’t wait for you to experience them first-hand. Whether you’re looking for something casual and family-friendly, or something more upscale, Ludington has it all.
If you’re still looking for a place to stay, we’d be honored to host you at Waters Edge Vacation Rentals. Our homes and condos are perfect for luxury corporate getaways or for your next extended family reunion. We’ll look forward to seeing you on your next Ludington getaway!