Escanaba RestaurantsGladstone, Rapid River. Restaurants here are arranged starting downtown and going west and north.
Stonehouse Restaurant & Carport Lounge
The Stonehouse has long been a top favorite for business lunches and nights out. It's one of the real culinary standouts in a town with surprisingly good food. Broiled whitefish and perch ($17 as dinner entrées) are favorites, as is the bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer ($7.50). Veal ($18-$24) and prime rib are other specialties. Chef Rob Ekberg, here since 1985, has created "Blackjack Ekberg" ($25), a char-grilled New York steak flambéed with Jack Daniels and sautéed with green and black peppercorns in a demi-glacé. For vegetarians there's a sandwich at lunch, and dinner entrées by request. Lunch entrées are from $7.50 to $12, with a daily special ($7.50 or less) and a $5.75 soup and sandwich or salad and fruit plate.
Address: 2223 Ludington, Escanaba [Get Directions]
Dobber's Pasties are well liked by U.P. people who grew up with pasties at home. They have a crust that's flakey, not soggy; quality meat that's flavorful; and the all-important rutabaga combined with the potatoes in the beef pasty. Dobber's also makes a veggie pasty and a chicken pasty, all 12 oz. and all $4.25. Pizza pasties, the ham and cheese pasty, and the breakfast pasty with sausage, eggs, and potatoes cost a bit less. There are also party-size mini-pasties.
Ketchup or gravy are sometimes eaten with pasties. Ketchup is the regional favorite. For people who miss the late "Toivo and Eino" brand of "pasty sauce with a kick," Dobber's has come up with a $3 spicy ketchup.
This carryout also has some tables and chairs. Pasties are usually ready to go. USDA approved, they can also be shipped frozen via UPS ground or air.
"Always good," says a fellow restaurant owner who loves Mexican and eats there frequently. A refurbished façade and new front windows give the place a brighter look. Cozy dining areas and thought-provoking Mexican artifacts create a convivial ambiance for diners of all ages. Known for margaritas and generous, reasonably priced portions of classics like the super wet burrito (pork or beef) and fajitas (shrimp, chicken, or beef). Excellent fresh salsa and chips that aren't as greasy.
Four big windows, exposed brick, a fireplace, and tin ceilings create a cool vintage setting for Rachel and Jim Stone's coffeehouse, with espresso drinks and a deli section, too. There's WiFi internet. Kids love this place. So do teens. At 10 a.m. moms and toddlers are on the scene. "Fast but elegant" is the format: breakfast bagels, quality sandwich breads, large salads, soups in ceramic bowls, crepes, and pastas. Some favorites: chicken/cranberry/walnut salad on an extra-large bagel ($7); a chicken bacon ranch wrap (under $6), and cheese tortellini with chicken and artichokes in a white sauce, with salad ($7.45).
Hereford & Hops
A big hit & downtown anchor ever since it got off with a bang in 1994 when a brew pub/grill-your-own-steak restaurant moved into the first floor. Thirty-two apartments were created on the 2nd through 5th floors of the renovated 1914 Delta Hotel. Gus Asp, the liquor & cigar store next door, is a butcher shop, too, selling the same beef served in the restaurant.
Each of two dining rooms has an open grill fired by a ton of Tennessee hickory briquettes a week. Advised by a cook, diners can grill their own steaks, seafood, or chicken, or have the cook prepare it. Steaks run $24, including baked potato, bread sticks, and excellent salad bar with tasty original variations on familiar themes. Alone the salad bar could keep vegetarians happy. The complete menu includes pastas, seafood, salads, and desserts, plus pizzas, soups, and sandwiches, all served in the dining rooms or pub. The brewpub makes seven regular beers and three seasonal ones. Reservations are advised on weekends.
House of Ludington
This 1883 hotel with its dramatic location overlooking the bay & memorable turret is a place to go as much for the atmosphere as the food. It has 2 historic dining rooms with fireplaces: the more casual Emerald Room & the more elegant King George Room overlooking the bay. An Irish pub with booths is toward the back. The food gets good reports—a wide-ranging menu including pasta dishes, steaks, seafood, chops, &, on weekends, whitefish. Entrées average about $15. Strawberry-cashew salad is its signature dish. Friday night fish fries with a variety of fish pack the house. There's fresh whitefish on weekends. In warm weather, this is the place to eat and then have a pleasant after-dinner stroll in the Ludington Park.
The best chef in town is Robin Holmes at Pacino's in the Best Western Pioneer Inn west of town on U.S. 41."Awesome," says one appreciative restaurant owner. "The benefit dinners are events," comments a well-traveled executive. As for everyday, "ask what's good on the menu," he advises, and get the seafood dishes on special. He likes the rack of lamb (sometimes on special, as duck is), specialty steaks, and salmon dishes on the regular menu. Newer pastas and other Italian dishes are good, too. There are 4 specials daily. Lunches are about $8.50, and dinners about $15. The huge Caesar and Cobb salads are lunchtime hits. Vegetarian and special diets prepared by request—local doctors from India eat well here. There's a wine bar and 20 wines poured by the glass. Reservations are suggested.
Pacino's used to be called the Carriage House. When the owners noticed how many pizzas were delivered to hotel guests, they introduced their own pizzas and Italian specialties, first in the casual downstairs pub (evenings only, 5 p.m. to midnight, down a flight of stairs), and redid the décor with an Italian theme.
To help raise the bar for U.P. cooks, Robin is active in the American Culinary Federation and its cooking competitions for the Upper Peninsula. He enjoys cooking in statewide competitions and has won some medals.
Swedish pancakes have a devoted following at this this very popular restaurant with its unusual embellished feminine white decor. "They serve things you don't get just everywhere." "All homemade." The food combines American standards with Swedish dishes like krappkakor (hand-made potato dumplings stuffed with ham), kottbullar (Swedish meatballs), and crepe-like Swedish pancakes, now sold online as a mix. The all-around favorite is Swedish pancakes with Swedish meatballs and cranberry-like lingonberries (about $10). The bakery case includes Swedish limpa bread (a medium-dark rye flavored with anise). The lunch special is under $7.
Roast turkey appears as popular sandwiches, as a dinner or lunch plate, and in some of the homemade soups, six kinds a day. The best-selling pea soup was praised by noted novelist and food-lover Jim Harrison in The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand. He called it "the best pea soup I had ever eaten, . . . accompanied by limpa bread and side of herring."
Desserts, also to go, include baked apple dumpling, sour cream walnut pie, and mile-high lemon meringue pie. It's fine to come in for coffee and dessert. Breakfast and Sunday brunch are hugely busy here. Note: prepare to be surrounded by dozens of ticking clocks on the walls, all for sale
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First Avenue South's historic architecture & visual finds. The striking turn-of-the-century churches, public buildings, and homes evoke Escanaba's glory days ... more