Chips, Chocolate & Pop: Restaurant Dishes featuring Michigan Products

By: Toni Cunningham | April 2, 2014
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If you’re a true Michigander, you know all about Michigan-made snacks. Better Made Potato Chips, Faygo pop (NOT soda), Vernors and McClure’s are all household names. While all of these provide an authentic taste of Pure Michigan on their own, incorporating them into an actual dish makes them even better, and slightly more sophisticated.

Better Made Potato Chip crusted chicken is always a winner (see this July recipe winner for Hot & Crispy Oven Fried Chicken) if you’re cooking at home, but you can get your favorite Michigan made snack foods whipped into an entrée at several Metro Detroit restaurants, too. Let’s take a look!


Town Pump Tavern, 100 W. Montcalm, Detroit, has a long list of starters, including Fried Pickles made with McClure’s dill pickles. These salty, crunchy babies are sliced, hand battered and fried until perfectly golden. A word of advice: even if you don’t like regular pickles (like me), pickle chips are a completely different ball game. Especially when they’re made out of Detroit made pickles.

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The Rattlesnake Club, 300 River Place Dr., Detroit, serves its award-winning Macdown Mac & Cheese, which consists of a sharp cheddar cheese sauce and bacon. It’s then topped with… wait for it… a crust made out of Sweet BBQ Better Made chips. As if mac n’ cheese wasn’t good enough on it’s own, add bacon and Michigan’s favorite brand of chips and you’ve got a seriously tasty dish of noodle-y goodness on your hands.

Hamlin Corner, 386 N. Main St., Royal Oak, also knows that mac n’ cheese and Better Made chips go together like Brad and Angelina. Hamlin’s Mac N’ Cheese is made with an aged cheddar cream sauce and topped with BBQ Better Made chips. The top layer is crunchy with a hint of smoky barbecue, and the macaroni itself is perfectly cheesy and creamy.

Griffin Claw Brewing Company, 575 S. Eton St., Birmingham, makes some seriously good beer, and the brewpub offers a decent variety of food. Now through Easter, GCBC will serve Michigan Lake Perch breaded with Better Made Potato Chips. If you’re looking for another lent fish fry special, this is it!

The Mitt, 143 N. Main St., Mt. Clemens, is another great place for Michigan-ified fish and chips. Here, each piece of fish is battered in Bell’s Best Brown Ale (a smooth ale with caramel and cocoa notes) and fried to perfection. While Bell’s isn’t exactly a snack food item like Better Made or McClure’s, it is certainly a Michigan-made staple. Because, beer.


Vinsetta Garage, 27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley, doesn’t just plop a dish of Guernsey Farms ice cream before your sugar-lusting eyes and call it a day (like I would complain if they did, though). Instead, the folks at Vinsetta make their own liquid nitrogen churned Faygo Rock & Rye ice cream. Faygo ice cream, people! It’s then topped with Pop Rocks for an extra special touch.

Lily’s Seafood, 410 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak, has a dessert on its kids menu that is suitable for all ages. Whether you’re in kindergarten or a card-carrying member of AARP, the Shipwrecked Sundae is a perfect (and Pure Michigan) choice. French vanilla ice cream is topped with vanilla mousse, a cherry and Sanders hot fudge. If you must order from the regular menu, the Sanders Cream Puff consists of a homemade cream puff, French vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, a cherry and, most importantly, Sanders hot fudge.

Michigan-made snacks like Better Made Potato Chips, McClure’s Pickles and Faygo are great on their own—but incorporate them into a dish and you’ve got a great three-course meal on your hands. Let me know if you come across any Vernors-based entrees!