Best Kept Jackson Restaurant Secrets Exposed 2015

by Rebecca Calkins

For a medium-sized town, Jackson has a lot of restaurants. In fact, it’s been said that Jackson has a very high restaurant per capita ratio. We Jacksonians love to go out to eat! It’s always a hot topic when a new restaurant comes to town.  The new restaurants often remain Jackson’s best kept secrets, rarely shared with fellow Michiganders or beyond. Recently Mlive’s Michigan’s Best Contests shed some light on our hidden gems. Jackson restaurants consistently place or even win Michigan’s Best and for good reason. So don’t blame me for the long lines at Hinkley’s Bakery, it’s time we share our donuts with the world.

The Taste of Jackson also shed some light on the best restaurants in town. This year the event was part of the 2nd annual How Bazaar Jackson, whic also included beer and wine tasting, a juried art fair, kids’ activities, and live entertainment. Many of the participating restaurants have opened within the last year, bringing vibrancy and diversity of choices to Jackson Foodies. Eleven restaurants participated in the Taste of Jackson this year including:

Steve’s Ranch
Walt’s Health Foods
Lazeez Flavors of India
Sub Rosa Tea
The Pickle Barrel Deli
Chilango’s Mexican Grill
Chilango’s Burrito Bar
Chilango’s Chop House
Grand River Marketplace
Sweet Scoops Ice Cream
Pleasant Lake Pub

Many of our local restaurants have been winning and placing in local and statewide competitions. 

Mlive Michigan’s Best

Donuts – Hinkley’s Bakery, 1st Place
Barbeque – West Texas Barbeque, 1st Place
Breakfast – Grass Lake Diner, 3rd Place
Tacos – Chilango’s Mexican Grill, 4th Place
Coney’s –Virginia Coney Island, 5th Place
Burgers – Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop, 7th Place
Pizza – Klavon’s Pizza and Pub, 9th Place

Jackson Magazine Reader’s Choice for Jackson’s Best

Breakfast– Roxy’s Café
Coffee Shop – Jackson Coffee Company
Pizza & Best Place to Watch a Sporting Event – Klavon’s Pizza and Pub
Winery – Sandhill Crane Vineyards
Cheeseburger – Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop
Outdoor Deck Seating Restaurant – Beach Bar
New Restaurant of 2013 – Ichiban Japanese Seakhouse & Sushi Bar
New Restaurant of 2012 – Laughlin’s Slice of Spice

As a foodie myself, I am always looking to try the newest restaurants and the newest dishes. Yes, I am one of those people whose Instagram feed is consistently full of shots of my food. I can personally vouch for much of these lists. If Jackson wasn’t on your foodie destination list before, it’s time to add it.

Jackson is a taste destination. We are at the center of the Pioneer Wine Trail that stretches from Adrian in the South to Haslett in the North. We are on the craft beer map with Grand River Brewery, Bifferhaus Brewing Company, and 127 Brewing Company. Now we are on your foodie radar, and with so many restaurants to try I would get started today. Just be prepared for the line at Hinkley’s Bakery, Michigan’s Best Donuts are worth the wait!

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