The best restaurants in Saugatuck

best restaurants in saugatuck

Saugatuck is generally known for its cultural attractions and gorgeous natural features. You’ve seen Oval Beach—it’s no wonder why that put us on the map. But lesser known is Saugatuck’s stellar, and growing, culinary scene. You could call it our best kept secret. But we can’t keep the best restaurants in Saugatuck from you. Innovative chefs and restaurateurs have blessed our town with their creations, and it’s only fair that we share them. These Saugatuck restaurants are some of the most loved in town.

best restaurants in saugatuck
The Southerner. Image: Ashley Wierenga
best restaurants in saugatuck
Image: GROW
best restaurants in saugatuck
Image: Hercules

The best restaurant in Saugatuck for breakfast

GROW

302 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI

Grow serves from-scratch, healthful breakfast and lunch from 8am-4pm. Their small space on the corner of Culver and Griffith is bright and tastefully decorated, and their menu is brimming with delicious dishes. We recommend the Breakfast Panzanella and the Carrots + Lentils salad.

The best restaurants in Saugatuck for lunch and dinner

The Southerner

880 Holland Street, Saugatuck, MI

The Southerner makes the best southern food you’ll find for miles. Their menu is steeped in delicious southern tradition. With classic Nashville hot chicken, biscuit sandwiches, delicious barbecue and more, you’ll have a hard time deciding what to order. The Southerner also boasts a diverse drink menu to wet your whistle.

Phil’s Bar & Grille

215 Butler Street, Saugatuck, MI

Phil’s Bar & Grille may look like your typical, run-of-the mill American pub, but its menu pushes the limits of the genre. Order anything from a classic fried perch sandwich to pad thai and pho. Phil’s is a spot that does a lot and does it all well, and it’s a local favorite.

The best restaurants in Saugatuck for dinner

Bowdie’s Chophouse

230 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI

When the owners of Bowdie’s moved to Saugatuck, they lamented the town’s lack of a good steakhouse. So they took it upon themselves to open one, and it’s become one of the classiest, most sought-after dining experiences in town. Bowdie’s Chophouse small space fosters an intimate environment to enjoy a culinary innovation. Their expertise is reflected in the price, but a meal at Bowdie’s is well worth the splurge.

Hercules

236 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI

Serving artisanal meals with American, Greek and Mediterranean influences, Hercules has also been rumored to have the best cocktails in Saugatuck. Enjoy steaks, seafood and chops in their elegant dining space or in the garden. For a quiet dinner and a top tier beverage, Hercules is a great choice.

Marro’s Italian Restaurant

147 Water St, Saugatuck, MI

This Italian restaurant has been a long-standing member of the Saugatuck culinary community. Frank and Lyn Marro have owned and operated the establishment since 1971, and they still play an active role in running the restaurant today. Casual and fine family dining with a side of live jazz piano make for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Their pizza is some of the best in town.

Featured Image: Ashley Wierenga 

Get to know Saugatuck through its food with Hungry Village Tours

hungry village tours

Michigan is the second most diverse agriculture state in the United States, known for its cherries, apples, blueberries, Christmas trees, and more. Allegan County, home to Saugatuck, holds several titles for its many farms including blue ribbons in crop production, number of farms, and average farm size in Michigan. So it’s no wonder Saugatuck and its surrounding area are brimming with delicious, locally made produce and goods. Delight your taste buds and experience it all with Hungry Village Tours.

Explore the lakeshore’s plate with Hungry Village Tours

Hungry Village Tours gives you the opportunity to explore West Michigan’s farms, organic fruits and vegetables, artisan cheese producers, wineries, orchards, and handmade goods. Offering two styles of tours, you have your choice of exploring the area on foot or in an air conditioned coach.

Your tour guide is David Geen, who started giving culinary tours in Europe in 1995. After years of showing people Italian, French, Spanish and Irish cuisine, Geen decided it was time to offer tours of his hometown in 2010. Ever since, his guests have enjoyed tastes of the lakeshore’s eclectic plate.

Tours to try

Hungry Village’s “Culinary Walk” is a 3-hour tour on foot through the restaurants and shops of Saugatuck and Douglas. Small groups of participants take part in demonstrations and free tastings, getting a crash course in the food and drink scene in Saugatuck. The cost for this tour is $30 per person, or $15 for those under the age of 18.

The “Delicious Drive” is a 6-hour tour of farms, wineries, restaurants and artisans along the lakeshore in an air conditioned coach. It changes seasonally to highlight the area’s freshest offerings. Taste blueberries, wine, ice cream and enjoy an included lunch at Fennville’s Salt of the Earth, a popular farm-to-table restaurant with delicious offerings. The cost of this tour is $90 per person, $75 per person for groups of 8 or more, or $50 for those under the age of 18.

All tours depart from the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Learn more about Hungry Village Tours on their website, and book your own tour for your next trip to Saugatuck!

5 perfect Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals near Fennville

lake michigan beachfront vacation rentals

Fennville is a small farm town that’s brimming with culture. As easily as you can catch an idyllic pastoral scene, you can find an inspiring meal made from ingredients grown nearby. The town is also mere minutes from the Lake Michigan lakeshore and its glittering lake views and sunny beaches. Stay in Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals in Fennville for the ultimate experience.

On your next trip to Fennville, stock up on fresh produce at Lyon’s Fruit Market, grab a bite and a brew at the What Not Inn and settle into your home on the lake. The days that follow are yours to fill with swimming, sunbathing or exploring the likes of Virtue Cider, Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery, Salt of the Earth, and more. These Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals will put you close to all of it.

Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals near Fennville

Lake Perch

Sleeps: 12, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 3

Prepare your kebabs in the kitchen and get out in this home’s spacious lakeside yard to grill, play yard games, and catch some sunshine. Kids will appreciate the basketball hoop and tire swing, and of course the wide private beach is sure to delight as well. This home is still available for the week of 4th of July!

Mixed Doubles

Sleeps: 11, Bedrooms: 4, Bathrooms: 3

The vacation vibes will set in the minute you step into this updated classic Lake Michigan cottage. With a spacious yard and private beach that extends as wide as the lot, enjoying the summer sunshine is easy at Mixed Doubles.

Beach Cottage

Sleeps: 8, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 2

Tucked in a wooded cove on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, Beach Cottage is a cozy lakeside getaway. Read a book in the screened porch, sunbathe on the home’s private beach, and make s’mores around the fire pit.

 

Out and About

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 1

Quaint Out and About is an updated cottage with clean, modern design elements. While not technically “beachfront,” his dog friendly vacation rental is down the road from a beautiful nature preserve that connects to a small, dog friendly Lake Michigan beach. Take your pup on a ten-minute woodland hike to arrive at the quiet public beach and overlook.

Best dive bars in Saugatuck

dive bars in saugatuck

Every town needs a good dive bar – a place you can count on having a familiar, cozy atmosphere, characteristic dim lighting, neon beer signs, and the promise of a pool table. For the traveler, the dive bar can offer a taste of home.  If you’re in Saugatuck, Michigan and you’re looking to have a good time, surround yourself with down-to-earth people, or just drown your sorrows, these are the spots to visit. Here are the best dive bars in Saugatuck:

Best Dive Bars in Saugatuck

Sand Bar Saloon

141 Butler St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

Located right in downtown Saugatuck, the Sand Bar has all the hallmarks of the classic dive bar. Order a locally brewed craft beer or your favorite standard and then pick up a game of pool. This bar is cash only, but there’s an ATM on premises.

The Cove

41 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406

This little bar hidden in plain sight on the Blue Star Highway. If you’re looking for an affordable meal and drink, The Cove can’t be beat. Play pool on one of their tables or catch Euchre on Sundays. 

Spectators Sports Bar & Grill

6432 Bluestar Hwy Saugatuck, MI 49453

If the sports bar atmosphere is more your style, Spectators is the obvious choice. Located right on Blue Star Highway, it’s the place to go to watch the game with a side of beer and wings. 

Corner Bar

220 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

Catch live music at the Corner Bar in Saugatuck, attached to Coral Gables. This friendly bar is a favorite for its great menu and entertainment. Stop by for karaoke on Saturdays.

3 steps to the perfect 3-day weekend in Saugatuck

The first step to optimizing a 3-day weekend vacation is picking a destination within easy reach. When you’ve only got three days–you don’t want to spend too much of it traveling. With award-winning Lake Michigan beaches, downtown shopping and dining along the Kalamazoo River, and a refreshing lakeside state of mind that pervades it all, Saugatuck, Michigan is a perfect pick. Once you’ve chosen your destination, you can focus on making the most of your trip. We’ve prepared some tips to help you do just that. Here are 3 steps to the perfect 3-day weekend in Saugatuck.

3 steps to the perfect 3-day weekend in Saugatuck

1. Start with a specific goal for your vacation

Having a goal for what you want to get out of this vacation will help everything else fall into place, saving your precious vacation time from being filled with planning. What do you want to get out of this 3-day weekend? Maybe you’re looking for a weekend full of new culinary experiences, or maybe you want to shop til you drop. Or maybe you’re looking for three blissful days of uninterrupted lakeside relaxation. Whatever the case, keep your goal in mind while you plan the rest of the vacation.

3-day weekend in saugatuck2. Research your destination and plan activities

With your goal set, you can spend a little time researching Saugatuck. Find restaurants, shops, and activities that match your goal and make a short list of things you definitely don’t want to miss. That way, when you arrive in Saugatuck and you’re looking for something to do, you have a jumping off point and you won’t have to spend much time figuring it out. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got a few guides that can help with that, whether you’re looking for family friendly activities, which bars to check out, or spending the weekend on the beach.

3. Find lodging that will put you in the center of it all

With a goal and some specific objectives in mind, you can find a place to stay that suits your vacation best. Lakeshore Lodging has a variety of vacation rentals that will put you right where you need to be–whether you’re looking for a quaint cottage that’s close to the shopping and dining of downtown, or a spacious Lake Michigan retreat with a private beach. Find the perfect one for you.

How to master vacation rental cooking

vacation rental cooking

Cooking for friends and family is a joy. Good food is a force of connection, and the conversations had over preparing and eating meals become some of the most memorable. For many, vacation often means eating at a lot of restaurants. But when you stay in a vacation rental with a gorgeous kitchen, you can bring those good meal making feelings with you. Vacation rental cooking requires a little planning, but it can be remarkably rewarding.

We’ve got some tips that will help you make the most out of your vacation rental cooking experience.

Vacation rental cooking tips and tricks

vacation rental cookingPack the essentials

Vacation rental kitchens often have a basic selection of tools and equipment, but if you have some holy grail tools you can’t live without, pack them! And if you have a favorite seasoning or condiment that you aren’t sure you’ll be able to find at your destination, make sure you bring it along. Plan on purchasing fresh ingredients when you arrive.

When you arrive: Take stock of your rental’s offerings

Before you go grocery shopping, explore your vacation rental’s cupboards. Find out what seasonings, condiments, and tools are at the ready. Plan your meals around what you have, and make a list of what you’ll need. This way you can avoid purchasing a surplus of groceries, and your menu is kind of shaped by the space you’re spending vacation in.

vacation rental cookingKeep it simple

When it comes to vacation rental cooking, simplicity is key. You’re on vacation—don’t stress over a complex meal! Plan on using fewer ingredients so grocery shopping is quick and easy. You want to avoid ending up with too many leftover, unused groceries. And plan meals that don’t require a lot of tools. You won’t want to be bogged down with a lot of dishes to clean up.

Plan ahead

Plan all of the meals you’re going to make during your stay in advance so you can limit the amount of time spent in a grocery store. When it’s time to shop, get the essentials at a local supermarket or take advantage of a grocery delivery service like Shipt (now available in both Saugatuck and Douglas!).

vacation rental cookingWelcome serendipity

Add local flare to your meals with things you find in your travels. Visit the local farmers market, buy supplies for your own artisanal cheese platter at a local shop, and forage for herbs in the wild or in your vacation rental’s garden. Spend the day at a U-Pick orchard and make a dessert from what you gathered. These are the kind of things that will make your meals unique to your vacation and totally unforgettable.

Enjoy the process

Cooking is fun. Take your time when you’re putting together your meals and relish in the process. Get everyone involved by assigning different people to chop vegetables, cut bread, or prepare appetizers. Make an event out of cooking your meals, and you’ll make loads of delicious memories while you’re at it.

5 farm to table Saugatuck restaurants to inspire your palate

Choosing to eat locally produced food has a bevy of benefits. The most obvious being that your food is guaranteed to be fresh–none of it will have spent days traveling cross country in a truck. For that reason, eating locally is also ecofriendly, because it reduces emissions from shipping. You can experience the difference yourself at a variety of farm to table Saugatuck restaurants.

Farm to table restaurants strive to source their ingredients locally. They develop personal relationships with the people who produce them and are invested in the freshness and quality of the products they use. That means you don’t have to wonder where your food is coming from, and you get to enjoy a fresh, delicious meal you can feel good about. These are our favorite farm to table Saugatuck restaurants to support.

Experience farm to table Saugatuck

Growfarm to table saugatuck

Grow is a great spot for breakfast or brunch. Their menu is filled with inspired plates made with locally sourced ingredients, making it an obvious choice for a farm to table meal.

Everyday People Cafe

This Douglas restaurant is a long-time favorite. Its diverse menu features farm-sourced ingredients where possible. It’s a great spot for brunch or dinner, and their diverse selection of fine wines and craft beers make this cafe a must visit during your stay in the area.

farm to table saugatuckSalt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth is located in Fennville, a rich farming community. The restaurant invites visitors to “savor the bounty of the Michigan farm, beverage, and roots music communities.” If a taste of the local terroir is what you seek, Salt of the Earth is the place to go.

The Southerner

Located right on the river, The Southerner serves up great views, warm hospitality, and spicy southern inspired dishes. They source ingredients from a variety of local producers, which you can read more about on their website.

the southerner farm to table saugatuckKismet Farm Bakery

For ethically produced breads to pair with your home cooked meals or desserts to follow them up with, Kismet Farm Bakery is a must visit.  They pride themselves on using all organic dairy and fruit, sourcing them locally whenever possible. Their website proclaims: “ecovore and locavore customers can rest assured that we have made the best choices for each ingredient, in each amazing product.”

 

Taste the Best of Saugatuck at Savor the Art Coast

saugatuck shopping

Western Michigan’s Art Coast is brimming with delicious food and a burgeoning restaurant scene. So, it’s not uncommon that some festival celebrating the craft of cooking, and some might argue eating, is underway during your Saugatuck stay. But, for all the great festivals and events that call Saugatuck home, only one is as all-encompassing as the Savor the Art Coast food festival. Here, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and artisans come together to offer festival-goers samples of their favorite and most popular dishes. Top it all off with live, local music and dancing, and

Naturally, when you’re on vacation in Saugatuck, you will want to try as much of the local cuisine as possible. That’s part of what makes a trip during Savor the Art Coast so ideal: you get to try whatever restaurant you want while you’re there. In addition to great events like this, Saugatuck is home to many must-see attractions of which your friends at Lakeshore Lodging have put together a list. You’re going to love your time here in Saugatuck!

Savor the Art Coast Food and Fun You Should Plan On

Formerly known as the “Taste of Saugatuck,” Savor the Art Coast took on the new moniker a few years ago. And, it’s all the same great food and fun you’d expect! Whether you’re searching for the quintessential Saugatuck dish or wanting to try as much as you can while you’re there, Savor the Art Coast is an excellent opportunity for vacationers to feel like locals. The food festival is sponsored by the Saugatuck Visitors Bureau, as well as many of the restaurants, winemakers, and breweries you’ll find set up there. It’s truly a celebration worth attending if only for the love of food. Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, you need to check out the festival while you’re here!

Who Will Be There?

Of course, every year, different restaurants, wineries, and breweries show up for folks to try their food. In fact, what makes the festival so great for the festival-goer is that restaurants are in competition for best dishes in different categories like savory dishes, best pairing, and more. If you love good food, then Savor the Art Coast is for you! In addition to great food, you’ll enjoy live music in the park, fun activities, great beer, and more. What’s not to love?

Other Important Information

When is it?

The last Sunday in August from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where is it?

Wicks Park in downtown Saugatuck.

How much does it cost?

Admission into the festival is free. Small plates from vendors vary.

The Perfect Vacation Activity

When you’re looking for local flavor while on vacation, events like Savor the Art Coast are a perfect idea! It and many other great things to do await you here in Saugatuck, MI. And, at Lakeshore Lodging, we want you to have the very best Saugatuck experience. That’s why we offer excellent lodging options to pair perfectly with your vacation here. So, browse our available properties and see for yourself how your trip to Saugatuck can be both comfortable and fun! Contact us today to book your Saugatuck stay!

The Best Reasons to Visit the Butler in Saugatuck

the butler in saugatuck

When you venture to Saugatuck for your spring or summer vacation, an array of fabulous restaurants greets you, enticing your taste buds to try something delicious! The Butler in Saugatuck is a quintessential dining experience you’ve got to try. Serving fresh takes on classic American food with a view of Lake Kalamazoo, you were meant to discover this gem. Come, relax downtown at the Butler in Saugatuck!

It’s important, especially during a vacation, to make sure everyone in the family is happy with the restaurant choice for the night. The Butler in Saugatuck is just the tip of the iceberg. Want to know more? Then, check out our restaurant guide! Here at Lakeshore Lodging, we’re the experts because we’re local. The experiences we recommend will make your vacation the best one yet!

Here are Our Best Reasons to Eat at the Butler in Saugatuck

If there was a reason for every year the Butler in Saugatuck has been a fixture in the community, there would be 55 of them! And, that’s just too long of a list. So, instead, let us guide you through the menu highlights! They’re the best reasons to visit the Butler in Saugatuck!

To Start

Crab-stuffed mushroom caps are a savory and rich way to start your dining experience at the Butler in Saugatuck. Crab, stuffing, garlic butter, and Monterey Jack cheese melt in your mouth for an experience you’ll want to try to make at home later!

Spinach and artichoke dip may be a classic appetizer you’ve had elsewhere, but this dip is special. A customer favorite, the warm, housemade flatbread is only topped by gooey, delicious spinach and artichoke dip.

On the Lighter Side

The cherry, chicken, and walnut salad is a customer favorite! Crisp romaine with grilled chicken breast, walnuts, cherries, onion, and topped with bleu cheese crumbles make this a delicious option on the lighter side. The cherry vinaigrette dressing brings it all together in a way you’ll remember!

The Butler in Saugatuck offers some exceptional soups, too! Try their soup of the day, spicy Butler chili, Butler New England clam chowder, or, on the first Friday of the month, their cream of crab soup!

Boardwalk Burgers

Our Famous Butler burger is a unique take on a burger. A half-pound ground sirloin burger, topped with grilled ham, American cheese, lettuce, and mayo combines for a juicy combination you can’t put down!

If you’re brave enough, try the Maple Bacon Waffle Burger! It’s a half-pound ground sirloin topped with cheddar cheese, bacon onion tanglers, with a maple bacon glaze served open-faced atop a sugar pearl waffle. Don’t count the calories on this one!

The horseradish peppercorn burger is a zesty, spicy take on a burger, topped with pepper jack cheese, A1 Steak Sauce, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. The horseradish peppercorn sauce really kicks as you bite through the burger garnished with an onion ring on a pretzel bun! Savor the flavor!

Ward Room Entrées

The crab mushroom chicken is a savory, rich take on chicken of which you’ll love every bite. Baked chicken breast crowned with an incredible combination of crab meat, shrimp, mushrooms, and Monterey Jack cheese will have you stuffed just like those mushroom caps you had earlier!

The pan-fried walleye is a Butler specialty you’ve got to try! The simple fried walleye is a no-frills dish that lets the walleye speak for itself. Pan-fried and served with tartar sauce and lemon, you’ll love it!

The Butler Prime Rib is such a special dish, it’s only available on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m. But, get there early! It’s first come, first served! Available in 18-ounce, 14-ounce, and 8-ounce cuts and served with sauteed mushrooms and au jus.

Pair Your Dining Experience with a Fantastic Place to Stay

The Butler in Saugatuck is a wonderful place to introduce yourself to downtown. Here at Lakeshore Lodging, many of our beautiful vacation rentals are just minutes from downtown Saugatuck! You’ll love feeling the comfort of home when you stay with us. Plus, there’s plenty of room to spread out! Browse our available rentals today and see for yourself how great a stay in Saugatuck can be!

Can You Taste the Love at The Southerner in Saugatuck?

the southerner in saugatuck

The Southerner in Saugatuck brings the best of Southern hospitality to the North. Chef Matthew Millar offers up soul food fried and cooked with love using his southeast Tennessee family recipes. If you’re in the mood for fried chicken, barbecue ribs, shrimp and grits, and that happy feeling you get from feeling stuffed, then the Southerner in Saugatuck is a must try!

Make memories with incredible experiences like dining at the Southerner in Saugatuck when you visit the area! Let our Vacation Plan tool lead you to the best things to see and do on Michigan’s Art Coast. Here at Lakeshore Lodging, we’re the experts on the area. You can trust our expertise to make lifelong memories during your next visit to the area!

What Should You Try at The Southerner?

Putting a Michigan flair on southern fare is the chef’s specialty, and you’re invited to taste the love at the Southerner in Saugatuck! Here’s what you ought to try there!

Breakfast

For breakfast at The Southerner, Nana’s cinnamon rolls are a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Try their chilaquiles verde, two eggs topped with salsa verde, chorizo verde, queso fresco, scallion, and Southerner baked beans. Their shrimp and grits are another chef’s specialty. Shrimp, grits, Benton’s ham, shrimp broth, scallions, grits from South Carolina, and two sides are an exceptional way to start the day. Or, if you’re the eggs benedict type, Benton’s benedict is their signature interpretation of the dish with the main twist being whole grain mustard-based hollandaise. Lastly, if you love a good breakfast sandwich, then you’ll love the selection The Southerner offers, including their Nashville hot chicken biscuit.

Lunch

The Southerner’s lunch options are a great combination of favorites, sandwiches, and salads. Whatever you order for lunch kicks with flavor, you can rest assured of that. Try their fried whitefish sandwich, a beer battered Michigan whitefish topped with housemade bread and butter pickles and a creole remoulade, plus a side. Nana’s fried chicken is a signature dish and a family recipe you would be remiss to not try!

Dinner

Dinner is a special experience at The Southerner in Saugatuck. There, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a homestyle feast you won’t soon forget! Start with blue crab calas with Carolina Gold rice fritters and a creole remoulade or their horseradish pimiento cheese. Then, move on to a sandwich or entree. Choose between their famous whitefish sandwich or chicken biscuit sandwich or a specialty like their mac and cheese with two kinds of smoked, aged cheddar, topped with queso fresco, brown butter crumbs, and two sides. Give their bobwhite quail a try. The Tennessee-mopped fowl will have your mouth watering! Or, for a Michigan twist, order the creole walleye pike over Carolina Gold rice grits with swiss chard and two sides. Oh, and don’t forget the signature Nana’s fried chicken! Whatever you order at The Southerner will be an unforgettable dining experience.