Best Places to Eat in Traverse City | Michigan

My kids are totally self-proclaimed foodies. A big part of traveling for our family is researching and visiting the best restaurants wherever we explore a new place. And y’all, Traverse City does not have a shortage of excellent restaurants. We had limited time in Traverse City, and unfortunately, we did not make it to everywhere on our list of places to try. But, this is our list (so far!) of the best places to eat in Traverse City with kids.

where to eat in Traverse City with kids



girl nibbling on toast Omelette Shoppe Traverse City Michigan

With two locations of the Omelette Shoppe to choose from in Traverse City (one on East Front Street and one on Cass Street), there’s no reason not to visit! The one on Cass is in the more popular part of downtown, but with the popular location also comes a long wait for a table. We headed over to the Front Street location and had a table in half the time! For either location, make sure to join the waitlist online!

massive omelet best breakfast in traverse city

We ordered several different items, including biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, and of course, since it’s the OMELETTE SHOPPE, an omelette. The New Mexican Omelette was one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s filled with beef barbacoa, jalapenos, onions, green chilies, black beans, jack & cheddar cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, and chipotle lime sauce. I seriously wish I had one right now!


breakfast chimi at bubba's traverse city

While it’s probably more well known for the burger + bar scene, Bubba’s is serving up one of the best breakfasts in Traverse City. The special of the day when we were in town was the Breakfast Chimi loaded up with eggs and chorizo, and it was delicious!

kids eating breakfast burritos bubba's traverse city

If there’s a breakfast burrito on the menu, then these two are ordering it. Lexie ordered the Wake Up Cali with scrambled egg, bacon, avocado, pico de gallo, and white cheddar. Ben ordered the Hangover with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pico de gallo, tater tots, and smoked cheddar cheese sauce. Both devoured their burritos and proclaimed that all food should come in burrito form – handheld and packed with flavor!

Red Spire Brunch House popped up repeatedly in my restaurant research, and it’s where we would have eaten if we had one more day in Traverse City. It’s located in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons – another place on my list to check out next time! Red Spire is serving up the usual omelettes and pancakes, but they also have Nutella stuffed banana bread french toast that sounds amaaaaazing.



hand held sandwich at Folgarelli's Italian deli in Traverse City

Oh, Folgarelli’s… I’m still thinking about this sandwich! Folgarelli’s is a small, Old World Italian market with a deli counter. We picked up sandwiches on our way out of town and ate them at a park on our way towards Frankenmuth.

In addition to being a market carrying every imaginable Italian good – including Firelli’s hot sauce! – the sandwiches were absolutely legit. The bread is from local bakeries; the high-quality meats and cheeses are nestled into forty FEET of coolers before being loaded onto the sandwiches. When Folgarelli’s opened over 40 years ago, they had seven sandwiches on the menu – now they offer over 45!

kids eating Italian cookies at Folgarelli's Deli in Traverse City best sandwich

When we were checking out, the cashier was shocked that the kids had never tried pizzelles, so he gave us a few to try… and the kids are now pizzelle addicts. They would be great to have on hand for a quick snack while you’re checking out all the fun things to do in Traverse City.


Cherry Republic Black Cherry Cream Soda Glen Arbor

Cherry Republic is a local Northern Michigan company that specializes in, you guessed it, all things cherry! And specifically in Michigan’s Montmorency Tart Cherry. Cherry Republic has a retail store in downtown Traverse City, but we headed to the Cherry Public House near Glen Arbor for lunch. This is a great stop before or after you explore Sleeping Bear Dunes. Glen Arbor is where you’ll find the flagship Cherry Republic store, as well as a full-service restaurant serving cherry-inspired meals.

two girls eating lunch at Cherry Public House Glen Arbor Michigan

We grabbed a table outside, scanned the QR code to pull up the menu and order, and had delicious food in no time. The girls split a rack of ribs slathered in cherry BBQ sauce – delish! We also tried the pulled pork sliders with the cherry barbecue sauce and a couple of other sandwiches. We ended up liking the cherry BBQ sauce so much that we brought home a couple of bottles. They also make their own Boomchuggalugga Cherry Sodas – we tried the cherry cola, cherry ginger ale, and the cherry cream soda, which was the fave for our crew.

cherry public house ice cream

And, of course, they had cherry ice cream. Ellie opted for the only flavor that didn’t have cherries in it, but it did have big chunks of cookie dough and Oreo cookies, so basically her favorite flavor ever. Everyone else got something featuring cherries. Ben and I had the Polar Plunge, a delicious combination of peppermint ice cream, Oreos, and a cherry ribbon. Such a unique flavor!!



sleder's oldest restaurant in Michigan

Sleder’s Family Tavern has been a Traverse City mainstay for almost 140 years. It is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Michigan and is a great place to grab dinner with the whole family.

kids sitting inside Sleder's Family Tavern

As we always do, we ordered a variety of items – a burrito, a buffalo burger, a club sandwich, cheese curds – and all were delicious! It’s a popular restaurant, so do expect a bit of a wait if you’re coming around peak meal times.


smoked cheddar jalapeño dip blue tractor barbecue traverse city

On our first night in town, we weren’t sure what time we would arrive, so we didn’t make a dinner reservation. We showed up at Blue Tractor Barbecue at around 7 PM and waited about an hour for a table – and it was worth the wait. Living in North Carolina, we have barbecue quite often and can be pretty harsh critics on the barbecue front. But Blue Tractor Barbecue was delicious. We started with the smoked cheddar jalapeño dip with blue corn tortilla chips, and I’m pretty sure Lexie ended up licking the bowl clean.

girl with pulled pork sliders blue tractor barbecue traverse city

I love when restaurants have other things on the menu than just mac & cheese and chicken strips for kids. Don’t get me wrong, my kids love mac & cheese and chicken strips, but Ellie was so excited to find pulled pork sliders on the kids’ menu. They were the perfect size for her (with a bit of help from Ben), and she went on and on about how good the pork was.

best places to eat in traverse city blue tractor barbecue

Since they have nearly identical taste in food, I finally convinced these two to order two entrées and go half-and-half on them. They ordered the Chopped Brisket Sandwich and a Pulled Pork Burrito. Both were filling and flavorful, but the Pulled Pork Burrito was easily their favorite.

If we’d had more time in Traverse City, Slabtown Burgers was definitely on our list of places to try. There’s something for everyone with a casual family atmosphere, indoor and outdoor seating, and an extensive menu. 7 Monks Taproom was another place that kept popping up in our research. They have a grilled cheese on parmesan-black pepper sourdough that sounds divine.



girl with Espresso Bay coffee cup best places to eat Traverse City

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you know that we are all coffee addicts – except for Ben. So, of course, when we decided to walk around downtown Traverse City, we had to grab some coffee.

Espresso Bay is a local Traverse City coffee shop, and judging by the half-hour line out the door, it is hugely popular. It took another half hour to get our drinks, but luckily we were able to dodge a rainstorm by waiting inside. And the drinks were fantastic!

I’m usually a plain old latte drinker, but I changed it up and ordered a lumberjack latte (maple + cinnamon), and it was the perfect fall drink. Insider tip: they do have mobile ordering, so go that route and skip the line!


kids at Moomers Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City Michigan

Moomers Ice Cream is one of the best things we ate on our trip to Michigan!! SERIOUSLY!! It’s THAT good!! Moomers is a small family-owned operation that opened about 20 years ago. Ice cream was a natural expansion of dairy farm life, and it’s now one of the most popular places to get a cone in Traverse City.

ice cream cone at Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City

The ice cream really is AMAZING! It’s creamy, loaded with deliciousness, and you absolutely cannot beat the view! Moomers has more than 160 flavors of premium ice cream (though they’re not all on the menu at the same time), and you can get it at their store on the outskirts of town.

I can’t believe we didn’t have time to get a slice of cherry pie at the Grand Traverse Pie Company! I can guarantee that will be our first stop when we’re in Traverse City next time! Their Grand Traverse Cherry Crumb pie is the official pie of the National Cherry Festival. Another ice cream shop, Milk & Honey, is located on Front Street in downtown Traverse City. They have many flavor combinations and quite a few options if you need something vegan, sugar-free, or allergy-friendly.

Do you have any Traverse City faves to add to the list?? Where do you think are the best places to eat in Traverse City??

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  1. Jessica D.
    November 18, 2021 / 10:31 pm

    My husband and I love Traverse City and I look forward to checking out some of your recommendations in the future! We tried Red Spire brunch during our last visit and it was delicious. We also love Sorrelinas, Apache Trout Grill, and Harrington’s by the bay for dinner ????

    • Jennifer
      December 9, 2021 / 3:36 pm

      Ooooh, thank you so much for the suggestions. There’s really no shortage of amazing places to eat in Traverse City!

  2. Oliverstoned
    January 14, 2022 / 9:20 pm

    Yall need to do a piece about Frenchies Famous!! His Pastrami sandwiches are a must try b4 u die!!!

    • Jennifer
      January 16, 2022 / 1:51 pm

      Ooooh, adding that to the list for next time we’re in Traverse City! Thanks for the rec!

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