The 9 Best Places to Eat in Alpena MI: A Food Lover’s Tour

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The 9 Best Places to Eat in Alpena MI: A Food Lover’s Tour

Discovering the best places to eat in Alpena MI can be a culinary adventure.  How do I know?  Because I visited Alpena recently and explored many of this charming city’s excellent dining options.

From cozy coffee shops like Cabin Creek Coffee Co. to lively bars such as Mango’s Tequila Bar, there’s something for everyone here.

Experiencing the distinctive dining establishments in Alpena, one of the largest cities in Northeastern Michigan, is an incredibly delightful way to explore all that this city has to offer. So let’s dive into some must-visit places to eat in Alpena, MI.

Enjoy a Delicious Breakfast at Cabin Creek Coffee Co

If you’re looking for the one of the best places to eat in Alpena Mi, then you have to start with a good cup of coffee!  And a visit to Alpena, Michigan isn’t complete without stopping by the local favorite Cabin Creek Coffee Co., on the corner of N 2nd Ave and River St.

Known for its delightful menu and inviting atmosphere, this coffee shop is a must-visit spot in downtown Alpena especially for those who appreciate good coffee and food served with a friendly smile.

Savor an Array of Tasty Dishes

The breakfast and lunch offerings at Cabin Creek are sure to tantalize your taste buds. I enjoyed a bowl of yogurt with granola, and my adult daughter, who traveled with me to Alpena, ordered a breakfast sandwich.

We also both treated ourselves to a Chai Tea Latte, mine hot and hers cold.   Yum and two thumbs up for both food and Lattes! Beyond sandwiches and omelets, the menu offers an array of specialty dishes including sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas.

a breakfast sandwich on a bagel cut in half and a cold chai tea latte

Relish the Warm Ambiance

Cabin Creek doesn’t stop impressing merely with their food, either.  They extend this charm into creating a cozy dining environment too.  As soon as you step inside this restaurant, you’ll feel welcomed by its rustic yet sophisticated vibe.  You can’t miss the assortment of trophies on the walls, which adds to the cabin-like atmosphere.

If you love to take in the outdoors, then outdoor seating is available on warmer days.  You can perfectly enjoy al fresco dining in the scenic surroundings and beautiful weather conditions unique to the northeastern part of The Wolverine State.  When we visited, we were greeted by a kindly gentleman who was sitting outside enjoying his cup of coffee and greeting passersby with a friendly hello!

Indulge in Fresh Palate

If you’re seeking a unique dining experience in Alpena, look no further than the downtown area’s gem – Fresh Palate. This Alpena restaurant is renowned for its creative dishes, rustic industrial space, and full bar. We stopped in for a quick lunch between activities and were delighted with the service and the surroundings.

I enjoyed a sample of their soup of the day while I was there.  I had never had Lake Trout Chowder before.  Because I was unsure, the server very kindly offered me a small taste before I ordered a cup!  Turns out it was the perfect taste of Northern Michigan.  

If you have a soda preference, take note that you can order Pepsi products on tap, but Coke products are available by the can.  And since you know the Hip Grandma loves a good Diet Coke, I was happy to have the option!

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Ambiance & Service: Perfect Blend Of Cozy And Chic

Fresh Palate’s ambiance complements its food perfectly – it’s cozy yet chic, providing an ideal setting whether your preference leans towards a family meal or special occasions.  A family was seated nearby enjoying a birthday boy.

I especially loved that we were seated in an indoor booth with a wall that opened to the outside. This indoor/outdoor seating allows the feel of a courtyard restaurant while we ate our meal located inside but still enjoyed the sights and sounds of the people wandering by without being overwhelmed with vehicle traffic or fighting the sunshine.

And finally, Fresh Palate adds another layer of charm as artwork by local artists adorns the walls, adding creativity to your dining experience.  

Sip on Tequila at Mango’s Tequila Bar

When you find yourself in downtown Alpena, stop in for a visit at Mango’s Tequila Bar, a great spot for fine spirits and excellent Mexican food.

Try their fish tacos if you want a real treat, or do as I did and grab a protein bowl. And if you’re into cocktails, Mango’s will not let you down. They offer flights of Mojitos and Margaritas and a full bar with a full menu! And if you are into a mixed cocktail, I recommend the Mango Margarita, delicious with or without a salted rim!

Enjoy Live Music And Great Company

Finally, one of the best things about Mango’s is that you can immerse yourself in some live music while you dine on fresh food. The venue regularly hosts local bands playing everything from Latin rhythms to classic rock tunes, a perfect backdrop for enjoying a good meal along with friends and a great time under the northern Michigan skies.

This Mexican restaurant boasts a combination of great food, excellent service, and a wide range of entertainment options makes clear why Mango’s is considered by many a destination location when visiting Alpena.

Enjoy a Brew at Austin Brothers Beer Company

Austin Brothers Beer Company is more than just your average brewery. Situated in the middle of downtown Alpena, this pub-style restaurant has established its own identity through a combination of classic brewing practices and imaginative inventiveness.

Step inside and you’ll find an expansive selection of beers on tap.  With more than twenty distinct varieties available, there’s always something to discover. From classic lagers to inventive IPAs, each brew showcases high-quality ingredients combined with meticulous craftsmanship.

If you’re uncertain about what beer might be to your liking, the helpful staff is available to provide personalized recommendations. The knowledgeable staff is ready and willing to provide suggestions based on what you prefer – making sure everyone who walks through those doors feels welcomed.

Dining Options Available

Don’t be fooled!  Austin Brothers Beer Company isn’t merely about beers; food enthusiasts will be delighted by the menu offered here as well. Their kitchen whips up delectable pub-style dishes designed specifically to pair perfectly with their wide array of beers available.

Gourmet burgers cooked exactly how you want them alongside stone-fired pizzas topped generously with locally sourced ingredients make it hard not only to stop by for a quick bite but even to settle down for leisurely meals shared among friends.  Good food and good times are yours for the taking at Austin Brothers Beer Company!

Key Takeaway: 

Experience the fusion of tradition and innovation at Austin Brothers Beer Company in downtown Alpena. With over 20 beer varieties, rotating specials, expert advice from staff, mouthwatering pub-style dishes, and a cozy atmosphere echoing northern Michigan’s charm – it’s more than just a brewery; it’s an adventure for your taste buds.

Relax at Red Brick Tap & Barrel

In the heart of downtown Alpena, you’ll find a gem called Red Brick Tap & Barrel. This is more than just another spot on your map; it’s an experience that brings together great food and drinks in a cozy setting.

The gist here is simple: whether you’re unwinding after exploring northern Michigan or catching up with friends over a good meal, this local restaurant has got what it takes for memorable moments.

I especially enjoyed the attention to detail.  The first thing I noticed when seated in the dining room was the unique menu strapped to a wooden board with the company’s logo burned in.  What a cool touch!

A wooden board with a lather strap on the top left corner, emblazoned with the letters RB in a circle that looks like a cattle brand.

A Drink Selection That Excites

And the Red Brick doesn’t disappoint in the drinks department.  They have something for everyone – from hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers and reds and whites from various wine regions. With options ranging from hoppy IPAs for beer lovers, smooth lagers for those who prefer something lighter, and even reds and whites from various wine regions around the world – there truly is something for everyone.

As is my standard when I order a drink at a great place like this one, I asked the bartender to make me a drink that is pink and sweet, not sour.  I have never been disappointed by a pink drink, and I sure wasn’t here either.

Imagine my surprise when the server brought me an amazing pink drink complete with a popsicle!  This was a first for me, but I sure did love it!  Time to stock some popsicles at home for my next cocktail!

Satisfy Your Pizza Cravings at JJ’s Steak & Pizza

JJ’s Steak & Pizza is one family restaurant that has been winning hearts with its delicious stone-fired pizzas and Italian bistro-style atmosphere.  Here is a perfect place to find classic pub-style food and even breakfast!

A Menu Beyond Just Pizzas

In addition to serving up some fantastic pizza pies, this downtown area hotspot, located right across the street from the Alpena Area Visitor Welcome Center, also offers pasta dishes like lasagna and spaghetti cooked just right. And let us not forget about those classic steak dinners they serve – each piece sourced from high-quality suppliers ensuring maximum flavor.  Alpena locals love the awesome food and the friendly staff.  And when the locals speak, I listen!

We visited at breakfast time and found this a great spot for a variety of breakfast favorites.  And they serve a mean cup of hot, black coffee, too!

Pink background with "Hip Grandma Merch" available on front

Step Out for an Evening at The Black Sheep Pub

Just when I thought I’d explored all the best restaurants in town, I discovered a charming little spot known as the Black Sheep Pub in downtown Alpena. This local establishment has made its mark in one of Michigan’s largest cities by offering classic pub-style food and creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that appeals to those who enjoy dining out.

A Reputation Worth Mentioning

The reputation of this downtown area gem goes beyond its delicious menu offerings. It extends into their service standards – patrons often speak highly about how attentive and friendly the staff is, making every visit feel like you’re part of the family.

An Unforgettable Experience

In addition to great food, what sets this place apart from other Alpena restaurants is its commitment to ensuring each guest leaves with unforgettable memories. Be it through live music nights or karaoke and open mic events – there’s always something happening here.

This northern Michigan restaurant offers outdoor seating options where you can relish your meal while soaking up views of Downtown Alpena’s bustling life around you.  No wonder many consider this local favorite more than just another place to find classic pub-style food; rather they see it as a destination when visiting Northeastern Michigan.

Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe

If you’re up for a little adventure, and would like to take a piece of that adventure home with you, then swing on by Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe for a lunch or a brat to-go. The very casual atmosphere at Nowicki’s allows you to grab a brat, a bag of chips and a soda, and eat it on the outdoor patio or take it to go.

But don’t leave without grabbing a few items to stock up the freezer at home!

Knowicki’s knows sausage

Nowicki’s has been a family-owned business since 1917, so it makes perfect sense that they know their sausage! They also proudly offer catering, so save yourself the cooking and let Nowicki’s do the work!

Check out their menu of take-home meats after you’ve enjoyed your brat on the run. Choose from meats, brats, wings, ribs, bacon, jerky and a number of other delicious treats. You can even pack up a gift box to share with a friend!

If you’re a hunter, bring your wild game to Nowicki’s for processing. The team here will make sure your game is processed exactly how you like it. Know that Nowicki’s is more than just a quit lunch brat!

Scoop Up Your Favorite Flavor at Downtown Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe

Finally, no article about food is complete without a mention of a local ice cream shop!  And nothing beats Downtown Scoops!

A Variety of Unique Flavors

Stepping into this local gem, you’re greeted by plenty of choices beyond your standard vanilla or chocolate.  You’ll find intriguing options like Lavender Honey or Michigan Pothole, a rich blend of chocolate ice cream with swirls of fudge and chunks of cookie bits.

Made with Love and Quality Ingredients

The secret behind their mouthwatering offerings? A steadfast commitment to quality. They source fresh milk from local dairy farms in northeast Michigan, along with premium mix-ins whenever possible for optimal freshness and robust flavors, crafting every batch on-site for maximum impact on your palate.

An Inviting Atmosphere Inside & Out

No matter the season, there’s always room for some deliciously creamy indulgence. Whether it’s warm summer days or crisp fall evenings around the downtown area, Downtown Scoops caters to all moods and offers both indoor seating as well as outdoor seating so patrons can enjoy their favorite frozen treat amidst in whatever way suits them best.

Key Takeaway: 

Downtown Scoops in Alpena is a must-visit for ice cream enthusiasts, offering unique flavors like Lavender Honey and Michigan Pothole. This local favorite uses fresh, quality ingredients from northeast Michigan farms and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s the perfect sweet stop during your downtown exploration.

Need a Place to Stay in Northeast Michigan?

FAQs in Relation to Places to Eat in Alpena Mi

What is Alpena MI known for?

Alpena, Michigan is renowned for its rich history, natural beauty, and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary – a haven for divers exploring shipwrecks.

What does the word Alpena mean?

The name “Alpena” derives from a Native American language. It’s believed to mean “partridge,” reflecting the area’s abundant wildlife.

What are the demographics of Alpena Michigan?

As per recent data, Alpena has a population of around 10,000 people. The majority are White followed by Hispanic or Latino and African American residents.

How big is Alpena?

Covering an area of approximately 9.23 square miles, Alpena offers small-town charm with ample space to explore nature and local attractions.

Wrapping It All Up

Alpena, MI is a city that truly caters to food lovers.

You’ve got the Cabin Creek Coffee Co for your morning fix and lunchtime delights.

Fresh Palate offers unique dining with locally sourced ingredients.

Mango’s Tequila Bar serves up fun nights with Mexican cuisine and an array of spirits.

The Red Brick Tap & Barrel is your go-to spot for relaxation, craft beers, wines, and pub fare.

JJ’s Steak & Pizza satisfies all pizza cravings with its fresh ingredients and homemade sauces.

But there’s more…

The Black Sheep Pub promises unforgettable evenings out while Nick’s Southside Diner provides cozy comfort food in a historic setting.

Austin Brothers Beer Company stands out with its unique brews on tap whereas Downtown Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe cools you down with handmade ice cream flavors in a charming environment.

Remember, when you visit, whether it’s your first time or you’re a repeat visitor, be sure to try all the best places to eat in Alpena Mi.  Oh!  And tell them the Hip Grandma sent you!

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