West Branch is a small town in Northern Michigan known for its proximity to scenic natural areas. Though small in size, West Branch boasts an impressive food scene ranging from cozy diners to upscale eateries showcasing regional ingredients.
In this article, I’ll share my picks for the top restaurants in West Branch to help you plan a delicious visit. Let’s explore the tasty dining gems that make West Branch a culinary destination in Northern Michigan!
1. North Woods Inn
For a fine dining experience showcasing regional flavors, the intimate North Woods Inn is my top choice. I’d highly recommend their tasting menu to sample top highlights like foraged mushroom risotto, pan seared walleye with corn succotash, and elk chops in a juniper berry reduction.
Every dish has incredible depth of flavor. The wine pairings selected by their sommelier perfectly complement each course. For special occasions, request their private table in the wine cellar overlooking the cellar collection.
The service here is flawless yet unpretentious. While dinner at the North Woods Inn is a splurge, the outstanding cuisine and hospitality make it worthwhile for a memorable meal in West Branch. It’s Northern Michigan fine dining at its best.
2. Breakfast Hut
When I’m looking for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast in West Branch, I head straight to Breakfast Hut. This laidback breakfast and lunch joint serves up piping hot coffee and casts an iron skillet filled with potatoes, veggies, cheese and eggs that gets stirred up right at your table.
You can customize your skillet ingredients – I always add andouille sausage, peppers, onions and cheddar cheese for a savory kick. Beyond skillets, they make fluffy pancakes, breakfast sandwiches on house-baked biscuits, and loaded hashbrown bowls.
For lunch, their BLT and patty melts really satisfy. With its casual atmosphere and focus on friendly service, Breakfast Hut is where locals gather for community and comfort food. The prices are super reasonable too. I love grabbing a corner table, ordering up an omelette skillet and enjoying a leisurely morning surrounded by the small town charm.
For tall stacks of pancakes in endless flavor varieties, Flapjack’s can’t be beat. This breakfast and lunch joint serves up sweet and savory pancake stacks along with omelets, breakfast sandwiches and more.
My go-to order is always their cinnamon roll pancakes, served with actual cinnamon rolls baked into the fluffy batter and topped with cream cheese icing. I’ve also tried combinations like their chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes and even pizza pancakes topped with marinara sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella – a breakfast lover’s dream!
Beyond pancakes, their farm fresh omelets loaded with veggies and hearty breakfast bowls fill you up right. Flapjack’s quirky, fun vibe makes it a great spot for families and groups. Be sure to come hungry! For the best pancakes in town and friendly service, I highly recommend this West Branch staple.
4. Ale House
When I’m looking for interesting craft beers and delicious bar bites in West Branch, I head to Ale House. This trendy gastropub offers 24 rotating taps focused on Michigan and Midwest craft breweries.
Their menu has creative takes on pub fare like Korean sesame wings, pretzel-crusted cheese curds, candied bacon avocado toast, and short rib sliders. Daily specials like beer can chicken on Wednesdays and handmade flatbreads on Fridays draw crowds too. The laidback vibe makes Ale House a go-to for grabbing drinks and sharing appetizers with friends.
As a beer lover, I’m impressed by their expansive list – the knowledgeable bartenders are happy to offer 5oz samplers to help you taste a variety. Ale House’s commitment to both quality food and drinks earns it the title of the best gastropub in West Branch in my book. Stop by to sip a locally crafted brew and savor chef-driven dishes.
5. Main Street Deli
When I’m seeking a quick but tasty midday meal in West Branch, Main Street Deli is my reliable go-to. This cozy deli crafts sandwiches, soups and salads fresh using quality ingredients.
Their sandwich menu has classics like Italian subs, turkey cranberry clubs and Reubens as well as cheesy paninis pressed to melty perfection. I always opt for a half sandwich with a cup of their rotating soup special like creamy tomato basil or broccoli cheddar.
Beyond sandwiches, Main Street Deli’s garden salads topped with ingredients like grilled chicken, candied pecans and blue cheese are fresh and satisfying. And I can never resist their freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
The affordable prices and fast counter service make Main Street Deli perfect when you’re short on time. It’s my top lunch spot in West Branch when I want a quick, nutritious bite.
6. Aurora Inn
For an elevated yet cozy dinner spot in West Branch, I love Aurora Inn. Dishes I’ve enjoyed include cedar plank salmon, elk tenderloin, wild mushroom risotto and pan seared walleye.
Their craft cocktail program is fantastic as well – I like to pair my meal with one of their creative northern Michigan-inspired drinks. The restored country inn provides a laidback fine dining experience with just 8-10 tables offering a more intimate feel. When the weather is nice, request a table on their garden patio.
Aurora Inn provides a memorable dining experience highlighting West Branch’s natural bounty in a charming setting. It’s the best dinner spot in town and perfect for date nights or special occasions.
For an elegant evening savoring French cuisine and wine, Henri’s is a must-try spot in West Branch. Dishes range from escargot in garlic butter to coq au vin to bouillabaisse overflowing with fresh seafood. Each meal starts with a basket of crusty French bread – perfect for dipping in rich sauces.
My favorite entree is the roasted duck breast served with a decadent cherry demi glace sauce. Henri’s desserts like creme brûlée and chocolate souffle are the sweet finale to a memorable French feast.
Each table receives personal attention from knowledgable servers who happily recommend wine pairings from their cellar collection. While expensive, Henri’s first-class food and hospitality provide a luxurious evening out. It’s the only place to go in West Branch for authentic French cuisine prepared flawlessly. À votre santé!
For homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas and other Italian classics, Luigi’s is my favorite spot in West Branch. I always start with their daily soup or creamy burrata caprese salad with vine-ripened tomatoes.
The pasta fresca shines in dishes like their decadent lobster ravioli or ribbon-like pappardelle Bolognese. Luigi’s thin crust pizzas baked in their wood-burning oven are fantastic too – try the funghi with wild mushrooms and truffle oil. Save room for tiramisu for dessert!
Luigi’s cozy atmosphere with exposed brick walls and dim lighting feels intimate yet welcoming. The service is excellent. For top notch Italian at reasonable prices, Luigi’s is where to go in West Branch. Buon appetito!
When I’m craving hearty pub fare in a casual, lively setting, Roadhouse is my go-to. This downtown pub draws in locals with its friendly vibe, live music, and menu of wings, burgers, nachos and more.
No matter what you order, the portions are overflowing yet priced affordably. Buffalo wings are my favorite – cooked crispy outside with juicy meat and tossed in your choice of sauces. I also love their hand-pressed wild game burgers, like the elk burger topped with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese.
Beyond great bar food, Joe’s offers a nice selection of Michigan craft beers that rotate seasonally. With its laidback atmosphere and stellar pub grub, Joe’s Roadhouse is where I meet up with friends in West Branch for beer, live tunes and all the best game day specials. The cheerful bar staff enhance the welcoming vibe.
Hopefully these reviews help you plan a delicious dining experience in West Branch! Let me know if you try any of my top recommended restaurants.
Now I’m getting hungry thinking about all the tasty options this northern Michigan town has to offer. Enjoy eating your way through West Branch!