106 Pine River Ln.
Charlevoix Michigan 49720United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Designed by local architect Earl Young, the mushroomy-looking Weathervane Restaurant has been serving local cuisine and loads of cocktails for over 50 years.
While it was originally a gristmill, the Weathervane Restaurant started serving food in the 50s and hasn't stopped. Though it's adjacent to the Weathervane Terrace motel, and shares architecture by local Mushroom House designer Earl Young, the two are not affiliated. Rather, the venerable Stafford's family chain of northern Michigan hostelry owns this place. From afar, its undulating roof line and, in seasonable weather, lineup of green umbrellas, are hard to miss. Located on Pine River, the Weathervane's spacious, airy deck overlooks both Round Lake and Lake Michigan. The solid, predictable cuisine incorporates such traditionally northern Michigan dishes such as Michigan salads and planked whitefish, in addition to loads of sandwiches and specialty beverages. The food is fresh and nicely presented, if rather unoriginal. Inside, the decor is somewhat dated, with pastel blue patterned carpet, vinyl-covered seating and lots of knotty pine. However, its rangy comfort and reasonable pricing are a solid appeal for all age groups, especially senior citizens who come in droves during fall foliage tours. Parents with wiggly kids will be happy about the chicken finger baskets. In the early evening, the Weathervane is host to a lively cocktail hour scene, a hangover from its midcentury heyday, when grownups tucked the kids in bed and went down to the Weathervane for a late-night drink. While its nocturnal star has fallen a bit, it's still the most pleasant spot for an upfront view of Charlevoix's waterfront scene. Entrees from $15; salads and sandwiches from $10.