It’s the end of the semester, which means this is my final blog post. I had a really fun time writing about different food places around Metro Detroit, and if I have the free time in the future I may continue this blog (but on a much less strict schedule.)
I decided that my final blog would be about the different foods that Michigan is known for. After all, that’s what this blog was dedicated about! So, I’m going to give the run down of some well known Michigan delicacies. Prepare yourself!
Kellogg’s Cereal was a mistake. A delicious mistake! In 1898, W,K, Kellogg and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg were attempting to make granola when they accidentally flaked wheat berry. They continued to experiment until they flaked corn, and Corn Flakes were born!
The company was founded in Battle Creek in 1906, and a legend was created. Since then, they have created 245 products, including my personal favorites: Crunchy Nut Cereal, Eggo Waffles, Apple Jacks, Cinnabon Cereal, Frosted Mini-wheats, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, and Pop Tarts. Wow, they make pretty much everything that has to do with breakfast, and then some. Is there really another company that makes cereals?
Oh right, General Mills. They’ve got some pretty good ones too, but I’m sticking with Michigan today.
Everyone knows about New York vs Chicago. Thin crust vs deep dish. East coast vs midwest. However, we Michiganders have never worried ourselves with picking sides. That’s because we’ve never had a bad slice of pizza! Michigan is the home of practically every pizza franchise you can think of!
Dominos: The first one was established in Ypsilanti. They’re made a huge comeback, especially with those parmesan bread bites.
Little Ceasars: Garden City is the happy home town! $5 hot and ready’s all around! And that pretzel crust pizza is awesome!
Buddy’s Pizza: A Detroit original! And if you go to an Oakland University basketball game, there’s a good chance at winning coupons for free 4-square cheese pizzas!
Jets: Sterling Heights pride! Personally, they’re my favorite pizza. Who doesn’t love their square pizzas? And the antipasto salads are the best!
Hungry Howie’s: A native to Taylor, Michigan. They have the best crust by far.
Passport Pizza: They’re littered all across Macomb county! They can make pizzas that serve up to 2,000 people!
Cottage Inn: They were founded in Ann Arbor! I’m sure it’s a favorite among U of M students.
So yeah, I think Michigan beats out New York and Chicago. Deal with it.
To continue with the theme of Pizza, let’s get straight to bread sticks. You know the delicious cheese filled bread sticks you get at school or at high school football games? They’re called Bosco Sticks, and they’re Michigan made! YES! One of my favorite snacks hails from here.
Another snack you can get at any sporting event is a hot dog. Ball Park Franks are a Michigan brand that is super delicious (when I’m in the mood for one.) I’m a ketchup and mustard girl myself (I’m not one for onions and pickle relish,) and it’s great to know that the number one ketchup brand, Heinz, is also from Michigan! We’ve covered all our bases (wow look at all these puns.)
You know what else Michigan is great at? Chips. That’s why they’re called Better Made. See what I did there? No. Oh well, i’m just saying that our chips are really good. Maybe not Lays good (because Lays is the king) but Better Made is the queen. Their bbq flavor is the hottest, most intense version I’ve ever stumbled upon. Lays has the sweet mesquite flavors going on. Better Made has hell fire mixed with lava mixed with “wow my mouth is burning but I can’t stop eating.” And I don’t even like hot foods.
It’s POP. Not SODA. Michigan is known for creating really delicious drinks that are in high abundance here, and really not anywhere else. I was shocked to learn that Faygo Pop, a true Michigan classic, isn’t available everywhere around the country. My Californian friends were shocked to learn that at every gas station and grocery store, we have vending machines dedicated to Faygo products. We’re living in a strange Faygo world in Michigan.
We’ve also created Towne Club Pop (again, I emphasize the POP) and Jones Soda (Ehh, we’ll let it slide this time.) Even though I don’t drink a lot of pop, I do enjoy the different fruity flavors that they have. I always tend to go for strawberry or orange, although the “blue” flavors (that taste like blue, not a fruit) are also delicious.
Of course, we’re also famous for Vernors. It’s a special Ginger Ale that tastes like no other Ginger Ale. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan. It’s too gingery for me. I like Canada Dry better.
I was surprised to find out how many restaurants have started in Michigan. I’ve also covered quite a few of them previously in my blog! So, I won’t go into much detail, but check out this list.
Olga’s Kitchen. I never would have guessed! Olga Loizon was the founder of the restaurant. It opened in 1970 and began as a small 10’x10′ booth at the Continental Market. Since then, the franchise has opened more than 30 restaurants. Good job, Olga!
Coney Island. Those who aren’t from Michigan might think that it originated in New York City. Nope! The first was American Coney Island in Detroit, followed by Lafayette, and then a dozen others after that.
One place that Michiganders claim as their own, even though it originally started in California in 1936 before moving to Warren, MI in 1987, is Big Boys. You can read more about it in my previous blog post.
One that I was surprised to learn started in Michigan was BD’s Mongolian Grill! What? The stir-fry restaurant was founded in 1992 by two Michigan State alumnus, Billy “BD” Downs and his wife. They were inspired by a restaurant they visited in London, and the rest is history. The first BD’s was built in Royal Oak, and now has 32 more locations! Ironically, it is also the first American-franchised restaurant in Mongolia.
Achatz Handmade Pie Company is an absolutely phenomenal place. They’re the guys who feed the Detroit Tigers burgers (they have expanded to Achatz Burgers, and they sell their pies there as well.) They have three categories of pie: sweet, cream, and savory. Honestly, you can’t go wrong. However, my favorite pie that I’ve had from them was the Michigan 4-Berry Crumble Top, which included cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Yes please. I think I need to stop by and grab a slice…
You know what would be great on top of a warm slice of pie? Ice cream. Which brand is pure Michigan (see, another pun, i’m just so good at these things)? Stroh’s. Thank goodness it’s a brand I can easily find at CVS! Move aside Ben and Jerry’s, Stroh’s is cheaper and just as delicious. Plus you get more for the value.
Don’t even get me started on chocolate. Oh, you really want me to get started on it? Okay. Morley Candy and Sanders are also Michigan classics, and I have such a sweet (ha) fondness for Morley. It’s a piece of my soul. Seriously. It’s a horcrux. We had to sell Morley Chocolate to try and raise money for fundraisers in elementary school. We sold our soul away for prizes like bikes, and basketballs, and a 1-pound bar of chocolate (it’s real, I held it once.) I’d do it all over again if I could. I need more California Clusters in my life.
The UP is it’s own magical place filled with wonders beyond our wildest dreams. At least, it is for those who live under the bridge. So it only makes sense to give it a special section.
Of course, the first thing I think of is Mackinac Island fudge. Now, I’ve never been to Mackinac Island (pronounced MACK-in-aw, you uncultured swines)
and I’m honestly not much of a fudge fan, but I have tried some when I visited Frankenmuth and WOW it’s really really good. You can’t beat it.
And, going with the theme of the UP, lets talk about those pasties. (PAST-ees, not PASTE-ees, I’ve learned.) They’re kind of like a hand held pie crust filled with diced potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, onions & seasoned ground beef. I was surprised at how good it was! The next time I go to the UP, I’m going to buy another one.
Yeah, we’re the home of Gerber. I mean, I can’t really say much about it because you won’t see me eating any. But knowing that we’re home to basically the only name brand baby food that people immediately recognize it pretty neat.