Left: Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant, just feet from the Ohio state line on Lost Peninsula in Erie, Michigan. The stone just north of the black-and-yellow sign is the marker for the state line, placed in 1915, detail of which is shown in the bottom photo. Click on the photo for a larger version.
Southeast Michigan’s land mass begins near an extremely interesting culinary spot. The seasonal Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant, located in the township of Erie, Michigan, is on a small section of land known as “Lost Peninsula”. The peninsula is physically “lost” to the rest of the state because it is bordered to the south by Ohio just feet from the restaurant itself, while the rest of the peninsula is surrounded by the waters of Lake Erie. To get there from the rest of Erie Township, you have to drive south into Ohio, turn left, head east a bit, then back north, across the state line, and there’s Webber’s.
Or, you’re welcome to arrive by boat via Lake Erie itself, tying up at the restaurant’s own marina. This is a real option, and is the only way to get to the restaurant directly from Michigan.
Food shows, food writers and other travel information sources generally see the cities of Detroit in Wayne County, and Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, as defining what’s known as “southeast Michigan”. But south of these counties is another area consisting of miles of farmland, excellent fishing, wild game, and a host of other culinary destinations.
Left: The one-pound burger at the Chateau Louis in Luna Pier.
A true southeast Michigan culinary tour needs to encompass both Lenawee and Monroe Counties. There’s an authentic Mexican community in Adrian complete with honest ethnic grocers, along with multiple authentic Mexican restaurants located in both counties. Award-winning bakeries sell out quickly of their daily morning baked goods, Calder Dairy in Carleton still delivers milk in glass bottles to homes, Boulevard Market in Tecumseh makes their own cheeses from milk delivered by both beef and goat farmers in the area, and various organizations in Monroe County offering amazing muskrat dinners and fish fries during Lent. U-pick farms and orchards abound, great festivals dot the summer months and game meats can be found on restaurant menus in almost every town.
But we really can’t limit ourselves to these two counties either. Feathering the edge a little allows us to include the historical (and haunted?) Waltz Inn, physically located in the village of Waltz in Wayne County but a mere mile from the Monroe County line, serving Michigan Cherry Salad, Michigan’s popular yellow lake perch, and handmade ice creams from Calder Dairy in Carleton, just a few miles away. And over in Clarklake in Jackson County at In Good Company Food & Spirits, the steaks are cut to their specifications, their fish is always wild-caught, and their collection of bourbons is second to none.
The true southeast Michigan is a largely-unknown culinary treasure.
Cooks making real apple butter from fresh apples at Kapnick’s Orchards in Tecumseh.
Everything we’ve put together can be viewed in two ways:
- Interactive Map – A Google map with all items in both counties marked.
- Trails – Off to the right side of most pages (including this one) is a list of Culinary Trails. These trails organize all the locations into easy-to-understand interest areas.
This culinary tour of southeast Michigan is not intended to cover everything. Places that are unique, have something special to offer, represent the area, represent the people, the land, the waters … That’s the real point of a culinary tour. That’s what we’ve tried to do here.
Suggestions are welcome! Please use our contact page to let us know about any location you’d like to see added. We’ll gladly consider any viable location for addition to the tour.
We hope you enjoy exploring the real southeast Michigan!