Step Back in Time at the Island House Hotel

Since 1852, the historic Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island has housed guests coming ashore to the island. Today, it feels just like stepping back in time. With some of the most spectacular views of the harbor, the hotel is just a skip and a jump to downtown. That’s fortunate because motor traffic is banned on the island, so, walking, biking, and horse-drawn carriages are the preferred modes of transportation.

The hotel’s restaurant, 1852 Grill Room, allows you to dine with a waterfront panorama from the terrace. Plus, you can now find more and more local food and beverage options on their menu. Over the last two seasons, Chef Phil Kromer has worked to source more produce from NE Michigan’s very own Presque Isle Farm. You’ll find the farm’s lettuce mix, romaine, arugula, broccolini, and tomatoes on the 1852’s bill of fare. Michigan trout, perch, and whitefish are also favorites among locals and tourists alike. 

Dining at the 1852 offers an elegant atmosphere with a pianist, exquisite cuisine and wine selections. Recently, through their Business-to-Business Connections program, Taste the Local Difference escorted Thunder Bay Winery to the island to facilitate a wine tasting with Dan Pleaskah, operations manager for the hotel. Because of this new affiliation, diners can now find some of their favorite Michigan-sourced wines on the menu. For a more casual ambience, guests can also visit the hotel’s Ice House BBQ, tucked behind the hotel where you can lunch in the garden or sip a cocktail at the bar while local musicians play.

As TLD strives to build Michigan’s regional food system, we love any opportunity to help our producer partners connect with restaurants and other businesses that are looking to source more locally (and then brag about said connection!). As the demand for local continues to grow on the Island, we hope more restaurants follow in the historic Island House Hotel’s footsteps.

Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for northeast Michigan. She enjoys reading with her six year old, planting and hiking in the dirt, cooking up her own recipes, drinking farmhouse cider, and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). She owns and operates Presque Isle Farm with her family and is a founding member of the Huron Shores Local Food Coalition. Contact her at [email protected]