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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 6:05 AM


St. Ignace offers a fine variety of food. The restaurants in town cover all the bases with a flair of local cuisine and many feature outdoor FOOD and waterfront dining. The only problem is deciding where to start.

With several locally owned and operated fisheries in town and the surrounding area, you are guaranteed all the fresh fish you can eat. Several varieties are local favorites, including perch, walleye, and trout, but what we’re most famous for is Great Lakes whitefish. Fried, baked, smoked, or made into delicious dip, it is a local delicacy. 

Make sure to plan a visit to the area in April when the smelt are running. This small fish is enjoyed by larger species of fish and Yoopers alike. Cooked and eaten whole, smelt are only available for a limited time during their spawning period in April, and the dish becomes a prized specialty at restaurants during that month. 

Looking to catch your own dinner? There are several fishing charters available, as well as public access to great fishing spots. Turn to page 11 for more information.


The pasty, a traditional meat pie, starts out with a circle of pie crust filled with a mixture of ground beef, carrots, diced potatoes, onion, and rutabaga. The crust is folded over and sealed along the edge and baked until golden brown. Pasties are usually served with gravy or ketchup – the debate still continues as to whether ketchup or gravy is the better topping. 

A rich history is associated with the pasties in the Upper Peninsula. Back in the early 1800s, copper mining was a big draw to the U.P. Immigrant miners from Cornwall, England brought this portable meal recipe stateside, guaranteeing a hearty lunch while deep in the mine. When Finnish immigrants came to work in the mines, they adopted the pasty from their Cornish coworkers. Some even mistake it to be a Finnish tradition instead of a Cornish one. The pasty is one Yooper delicacy you have to try. 

They are available hot, cold, or frozen, so be sure to stop by one (or all!) of our local pasty shops. You’ll be hooked for years to come. Most of the local shops also ship frozen pasties so you can get a taste of the U.P. anytime.


St. Ignace has several fudge shops and ice cream parlors to satisfy the sweet tooth. Some of these shops also feature fresh caramel corn, salt water taffy, caramels, and other treats; they’re also proud to serve ice cream made right here in Michigan. 

Don’t forget the syrup! Tapped and boiled down locally, Eastern Upper Peninsula maple syrup is what pancakes are made for, and it is also a tasty treat drizzled over ice cream. Maple candy is also available at several retailers. Come back in March when we start tapping the maple trees and local producers hold syrup making demonstrations and sugarbush tours. 

The buzz for raw, local honey can be heard throughout the state, and there are several local providers here. It is available at retailers and farmers markets, so take home something sweet from your visit to the U.P.


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