Frankfort: Dining, Entertainment (Off-Season)
Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, due 7 hours north of Indy and 40 minutes west of Traverse City, lies Frankfort, Mich. With less than 1,300 permanent residents, Frankfort relies heavily on the tourist season, which is obvious based on the number of ice cream, fudge and treat shops in town.
It also relied on at least two people fixing up their new cottage recently. While most the days were filled with grueling labor, Caitlyn and I (and, sometimes, her mom) did occasionally get out to explore the area.
The first place we made a bee-line toward was A. Papano’s Pizza. We actually tried this place last summer when we visited, and fell in love with the pizza and mozzarella/cheese breadsticks. While it only had two tables and exists primarily as a carry-out, it’s worth the trip. We recommend the Venetian Veggie: Pesto Sauce, Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom, Onion, Green Pepper and Roasted Garlic with a garlic crust. Divine.
The place popular with the locals is Dinghy’s, a nautical-themed bar and restaurant on the main drag that’s known for its Friday fish fry and, I might add, ridiculously inexpensive cocktails. Who still sells vodka and Cokes for $2.50? Maybe that price goes up in tourist season – we’ll see and report back to you.
You won’t find many chain restaurants in Frankfort. In fact, I can only think of Subway and A&W, neither of which are in the downtown core. And that’s a good thing. Caitlyn and I love to try local places when on vacation and Frankfort does not disappoint. Our neighbors suggested Stormcloud Brewing Company, which we didn’t try but heard it makes its own beer on site right next to the Garden Theater.
Pickings are slim for entertainment in the lull between winter and the start of the tourist season but, thankfully, an adorably restored one-screen movie house, the Garden Theater, offers up movies at least a couple weekends a month (more as we get closer to the summer).
We were fortunate enough while there to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, a pretty nice choice for a small-town theater. The popcorn was a little squishy for my liking, but the art deco theater was in impeccable condition and the ticket prices were fair: $9 for adults or grab a ticket for $5 as part of the “Dinner and a Movie” package at Dinghy’s.
Stay tuned for updates on shopping, recreation and more in Frankfort!