6 Best Restaurants in Leland, MI

6 Best Restaurants in Leland, MI

Leland, Michigan, located along the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan, radiates a charm that transcends the ordinary. This quaint town, renowned for its deep-rooted love for art, is a mosaic of vibrant art galleries, specialty shops, and the iconic Fishtown shanties, each telling a story of heritage and community spirit. At the heart of Leland's allure is its downtown, a bustling hub where the air is thick with the aroma of fresh cuisine and the sound of friendly chatter.

For those considering a move to this scenic town, the prospect of finding homes for sale in Leland is made even more appealing by the rich culinary tapestry that weaves through its streets. The beaches that frame the town offer a serene backdrop, and the walkable downtown invites future residents to explore various shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Leland's dining scene reflects its community: diverse, welcoming, and infused with a passion for quality and authenticity. Whether it's a family considering a new home near the highly-regarded Leland schools or an investor eyeing Leland, MI, real estate opportunities, the restaurants here provide a taste of the local life and a window into the heart of this vibrant community.

The Riverside Inn

302 River St, Leland, MI 49654

The Riverside Inn reflects a lake house weekend's serene beauty and relaxed pace. This full-service restaurant embraces the art of fine dining with a twist, offering a menu that balances honest, straightforward, hearty Americana fare with a fresh, modern perspective. The Riverside Inn takes pride in a slow food approach, where each dish is thoughtfully prepared, celebrating the bounty of fresh, local ingredients. The ambiance echoes old-school hospitality, inviting guests to unwind and indulge.

Whether you're toasting to a new home in Leland or simply savoring the joys of the weekend, the experience at The Riverside Inn is incomplete without a visit to the bar. Here, skilled bartenders craft classic cocktails, each a masterpiece of flavor and tradition. The extensive wine list is a treasure trove for wine enthusiasts, promising discoveries that will delight and surprise them. And for those seeking an al fresco experience, the riverfront deck and garden terrace offer the perfect setting to relax and soak in the picturesque views of Leland.

Rick's Cafe

302 Cedar St, Leland, MI 49654

For those who relish dining in the great outdoors, Rick's Cafe offers a delightful experience with its casual outdoor dining on the scenic Leland River. The Cafe's location provides a serene and picturesque backdrop, perfect for a leisurely meal or a relaxing drink. It's an ideal spot for those who want to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Leland while enjoying a delicious meal.

Rick's Cafe's ambiance embraces Leland's laid-back, serene spirit. The sound of the flowing river and the Cafe's charming setting create a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere. It's a favored spot, perfect for those lazy afternoons after spending time at the beach. Whether it's a family outing, a romantic date, or a casual meet-up with friends, Rick's Cafe adds a unique touch to the dining experience in Leland.


5705 S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636

In the nearby town of Glen Arbor, Blu provides an upscale New American dining experience complemented by an award-winning wine program. Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, Blu boasts panoramic views of Sleeping Bear Bay and the Manitou Islands, creating a dining backdrop unparalleled in Michigan. The chic and sophisticated space is a testament to Blu's commitment to providing an exceptional dining experience that excites and transports its guests.

At Blu, the cuisine is a harmonious blend of European techniques and local ingredients, with a daily menu that reflects the freshest offerings. The emphasis on simplicity and flavor is evident in each dish, ensuring a memorable culinary journey. The wine list at Blu is carefully curated, featuring selections from renowned vintners worldwide, including local Michigan favorites, providing the perfect pairing to enhance the dining experience. Blu is a destination that promises to inspire and delight with every visit.


303 N St Joseph St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

In nearby Suttons Bay, Wren offers a unique culinary experience that blends rustic bistro fare with comforting, seasonally-inspired dishes. The restaurant's casual and inviting space, complete with patio seating, sets the stage for a menu deeply rooted in the local culture and the bounty of the area's farms. Chef Adam, the driving force behind Wren's delightful menu, brings a rich tapestry of experiences. He spent his early days in a Detroit Italian butcher shop, then developed his culinary skills in Southern California before returning to his wife's hometown of Traverse City.

At Wren, the philosophy is simple: take advantage of the seasons and what they offer. This approach leads to a menu that evolves with the availability of local ingredients sourced from nearby foragers and farmers. Whether it's a hearty comfort dish or a light, refreshing salad, the menu at Wren reflects a commitment to freshness, flavor, and the region's culinary heritage. The restaurant is a celebration of Michigan's diverse agricultural landscape, offering an authentic and innovative dining experience.

Nittolo's Seafood & Pizza

111 River St, Leland, MI 49654

The food at Nittolo's Seafood & Pizza is a journey through family heritage and culinary tradition. As a third-generation Italian eatery, Nittolo's pays homage to its roots, with founders John and Raefela Nittolo emigrating from Avellino, Italy, to Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s. The restaurant is a tribute to Grandmother Geneive Nittolo, whose legacy lives on through the perfect sauce that forms the base of many dishes.

Nittolo's menu is a delightful tapestry of flavors from Italy, meticulously crafted to transport diners to the Motherland with every bite. Signature dishes like the crisp and tangy nobashi shrimp with sriracha lime firecracker sauce, the rich and aromatic morel bisque with truffle oil, and the zesty chicken piccata on a bed of saffron angel hair pasta are just a few examples of the culinary delights that await. Each dish is a testament to the restaurant's dedication to bringing authentic Italian flavors to the homes of its patrons in Leland.

North Country Kitchen and Bar

115 E Philip St, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

North Country Kitchen and Bar in Lake Leelanau is a quaint venue where the charm of the north country meets the finesse of culinary expertise. With outdoor seating that invites diners to bask in the beauty of Michigan's natural splendor, this restaurant offers a menu that is both rustic and refined. Standout dishes like the fried green tomatoes, coated in cornmeal and served with cajun aioli, showcase the kitchen's ability to elevate classic comfort food with a gourmet touch.

The beet salad, with its harmonious blend of roasted beets, goat cheese, pepitas, and a lemon thyme vinaigrette, is a testament to the kitchen's dedication to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. For those seeking a heartier option, the walleye almondine is a must-try. This dish, featuring fresh walleye in a brown butter almond sauce, accompanied by rice and seared broccolini, captures the essence of the region's flavors. North Country Kitchen and Bar is a culinary experience that embodies the spirit of northern Michigan.

Your gateway to Leland's real estate

Behind every great community is a great real estate professional; in Leland, that's Robin Vilter. Since earning her real estate license in 2016, Robin has excelled in the field and found joy in the variety and unique challenges each property and client brings. What she loves most about her work is establishing great relationships, a testament to her dedication and passion for the real estate industry. If you're inspired by the charm of Leland and considering making it your new home, let Robin Vilter be your guide to finding the perfect property.

Robin Vilter

Robin Vilter


About the Author

I was raised in Cincinnati but always summered on the lake in Leland. Being able to spend my summers up here was such a gift. Starting at the age of twelve we were able to drive the boat into town or to the yacht club or to a friend's house. My days were jam-packed. I would wake up and teach sailing school at the Leland Yacht Club from nine to one, then take a nap on the dock or the beach, shower, then drive into Leland in the late afternoon where I had a job as a hostess. My sisters and I did this every summer and when we had a driver's license we had more options for employment. I started teaching sailing school in Omena and working at night waiting tables at The Cove in Leland. We stashed away thousands of dollars every summer. Yes, we worked our tails off, but it really did not seem like it since we were enjoying all the beauty of Leelanau at the same time.

I attended Miami University in Ohio and chose creative writing since that was my easiest subject. I’ve not yet written a novel, but have started about five. After graduation, I bought the Riverside Inn with my mother and my sister. I later sold my shares when I realized that being a single parent and working late nights did not pair well with my mental health. It took a decade to raise my kids and go through two divorces.

I Earned My Real Estate License in 2016

By that point, I had bought and sold houses seven times over the course of twelve years. I had to be a real estate expert by then, right? The simple truth is I love real estate! Why did I even bother going to college? I felt like I should have been doing this since I was eighteen. What I love most about real estate is establishing great relationships. Each new client is a wonderful surprise. We live in such a small community, yet I get to meet new people all the time and usually, they turn out to be great friends. The other thing I love is the variety. Every house is different, every client is different, and it all comes with its own unique challenges.
I decided to separate from Coldwell Banker in 2021. Real estate boomed in 2020 and 2021. I managed a huge amount of volume pretty much by myself. Coldwell offered the power of a big brand, but I figured I could somehow make up for that. I took a big leap and joined Five Star Real Estate. The marketing group with Five Star encouraged me to build on my familiarity with the area. Many of the residents have heard of me in some way shape or form and I could build on my good reputation.
I chose Robin Vilter Group as the name of my business. We chose the robin bird as the logo for my name but also because of the symbolism. The robin is Michigan's state bird. It symbolizes hope, renewal, rebirth, new beginnings, and new projects, and is a sign of good things to come.

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