Satisfy Your Hunger at Top Jackson, MI Restaurants

By: HomeFirst
December 29, 2016

Located where Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 127 cross, you’ll find Jackson, Michigan. Although its size might deceive you — the city itself is just 11.1 square miles, and the county is 705 square miles — there’s more to Jackson than meets the eye. Strategically located along well-traveled highways and railways, Jackson isn’t just a rest stop for the weary. Jackson is a hot destination for businesses, the well-educated and families looking to put down solid roots.

Whether you’re passing through or living in Jackson, MI, you’ll need a bite to eat. To make it easier for you to decide just where you’ll have your meal, we’ve curated a list of some of the area’s best restaurants.

Choosing Among the Top Restaurants in Jackson

When you’re looking for the best places to eat in Jackson, MI, you don’t have to look far. The city and county offer a wide array of locally owned and operated favorites — and of course a few nationwide chains. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite on your lunch hour or are trying to find the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, we have you covered.

We’ve grouped the restaurants by their most popular categories, but don’t think that’s the only one that applies to them! Most restaurants are flexible and inviting — we encourage you to give all the best restaurants in Jackson County, MI a try.

Great for Families

When you’re looking for a family night out, you need a place that will satisfy a wide range of palates and that will be interesting enough to keep the little ones occupied. Here are our top picks:

  • The Crazy Cowboy — 215 S. Mechanic Street. This authentic Mexican restaurant also offers American fare, making it a great place for even the pickiest of eaters. With large entrees and consistently good food, The Crazy Cowboy offers something for everyone. They’re also the only restaurant to be voted Small Business of the Year by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Their bartenders will entertain you with their flame-throwing and bottle flipping skills.
  • Grand River Brewery — 117 W. Louis Glick Highway. Situated in the heart of downtown Jackson, this gastropub sources fresh, local ingredients, and combines traditional and haute cooking techniques. The result is a creative and modern take on pub fare. The restaurant also features a winery, a brewery and a distillery.
  • 145 Family Restaurant — 6100 Ann Arbor Road. This family-friendly diner is known for its homemade soups, desserts and comfort food. Breakfast is served all day, every day, and they consider their employees and customers to be part of the family.
  • Andy’s Pizza — 2115 E. Michigan Ave. or 1208 W. Ganson St. In business since 1966, Andy’s is family-owned and operated and was voted Jackson’s best pizza by Jackson Magazine. They offer great-tasting food at reasonable prices.
  • Los Tres Amigos — 1111 N. West Ave. Their food is prepared daily, and their made-from-scratch sauces use a special recipe. The staff makes you feel right at home, whether you’re eating alone, with a large group or with children. The inside is festively decorated, and the expansive menu and quick service will have you returning time and time again.
  • Klavon’s Pizzeria & Pub — 6010 Clinton Road. This Italian restaurant in Jackson, MI is ideal for families with kids or groups who want to come watch the big game. Klavon’s dishes up great service and delicious food. Although the restaurant can get a little loud with the music and TVs, it’s the perfect atmosphere for hanging out with friends and family.
  • West Texas Barbecue — 2190 Brooklyn Road. Using seasoned oak and hickory in their barbeque pits — never gas, electricity or charcoal — West Texas offers authentic Texas-style barbeque. They also offer a catering service for larger get-togethers.
  • The Parlour of Jackson – 1401 Daniel Road. The Parlour is has been serving up ice cream treats and family fun since 1944 in Jackson, MI. Enjoy the 1950s-style diner while you dig in to their “Dare to Be Great” ice cream sundae made with 21 scoops of hand-dipped ice cream. If you successfully finish the entire sundae on your own in one hour, it’s free!

Great for Beer Enthusiasts

For those who enjoy microbrews — or a wide selection of beers — Jackson offers a variety of establishments:

  • Shady’s Tap Room — 110 N. Main Street. Named Brooklyn’s 2015 Business of the Year, Shady’s is a charming pub with a variety of Michigan microbrews on tap, not to mention a full bar and menu.
  • Buffalo Barbeque Wings Bar & Grill — 1085 N. Wisner St. It’ll be hard to choose: 29 draft beers on tap — including many local craft brews — 14 chicken wing sauces and more than 36 televisions. This restaurant is also child- and group-friendly.

Great for Special Occasions

A special night out means a special, one-of-a-kind experience — and not just any restaurant will do. We’ve looked for what visitors have described as the best restaurants to celebrate special occasions, and they are:

  • AKA Sushi Bar and Restaurant — 1801 N.W. Avenue, Jackson, MI 49202. Offering a fine Japanese and Asian dining experience, AKA offers an innovative menu as well as the classics. Whether you want to watch the chefs create your dish before your very eyes or you need a larger space for a group, AKA can accommodate you.
  • Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse — 915 N. Wisner Street. Ichiban’s mission is to serve customers fresh and delicious food while offering a unique dining experience. A one-of-a-kind show accompanies your meal, and it will be a night out you won’t soon forget. From hibachi to sushi, Ichiban offers a range of food that’s sure to please even the pickiest eater.

Great for Large Groups

Large groups can mean big fun and big noise. You need a place that encourages fun and frivolity without impinging on other customers’ experiences. Serving good food fast and offering a range of beverages for your enjoyment, these restaurants fit the bill:

  • Rocky Top Beer & BBQ — 1900 Lansing Ave. Offering top-notch barbeque, including a variety of smoked meats and a range of beers, Rocky Top always serves great food and provides excellent service.
  • The Chase Sports Bar — 105 E. Michigan. Great food, huge portions, great prices — what’s not to like? Whether you want to catch the big game, shoot a few games of pool or just want to hang out with friends, the Chase offers a perfect atmosphere for catching up.
  • Bella Notte Ristorante — 137 W. Michigan Ave. Another locally owned and operated establishment, Bella Notte offers delicious Italian cuisine, an inviting atmosphere and a seasonal menu. The true wine connoisseur will appreciate the extensive wine selection, and the facility has special spaces for groups of up to 250.

Great for a Quick Bite

Eating on the run? It doesn’t mean you can’t eat well. From burgers and fries to soups and sandwiches, the below restaurants make fast food good again:

  • Chilango’s Chop House — 110 S. Mechanic St. Chilango’s offers juices, salads and wraps that are easily customizable to your preferences. Fresh foods, decent portions and a wide range of salad toppings make this a great place to stop for something quick and simple — but delicious.
  • Schlenkers Sandwich Shop — 1104 E. Ganson St. With a price that can’t be beat and hand-formed burgers, Schlenkers is known for its no-frills approach to delicious food. They take cash only and have limited seating, but they’re always busy — a top-notch place to experience a bit of nostalgia.
  • West Texas BBQ Company — 2190 Brooklyn Road. With limited hours during the workweek (11 a.m-2 p.m.), you have no choice but to have a quick, casual lunch. The owner knows his barbecue and makes some of the best brisket, turkey and hot links outside Texas.

Great for Blending in With the Locals

When you don’t want to stand out, go where the locals go. They know where the best places are, from holes in the wall to understated establishments. When you’re looking for authentic food, find the eateries that are known to few but are well-respected:

  • Oak Tree Lounge — 617 Oak St. Off the beaten path and filled with charm, Oak Tree Lounge is a small but popular place for traditional American food. Portions are plentiful, and service is good. Patio seating is also available as weather permits. 
  • Bone Island Grillhouse — 4614 Francis Street. Fun décor and a great atmosphere make this local pub a must-visit destination. An outside dining deck makes eating outdoors pleasant during seasonal weather, and the variety of food offered means there’s something for everyone.

Great for Pairing Shopping and Eating

Long waits for a table are a treat when restaurants are paired with gift shops or with shopping nearby. You may pick up the perfect gift for next Christmas or find a housewarming gift to call your own:

  • Anna’s Porch Café — 401 N. Mechanic Street. Anna’s is a quaint café paired with a small store. The café features a range of soups, salads and sandwiches that are sure to please. And if you have to wait for your table, you should walk through the store, which has an eclectic variety of furniture, jewelry, gourmet foods and small gifts.

Great for Business Meetings

When you need to network over lunch or hold an important meeting, you need just the right location. You don’t want too many visual distractions, but you want your meal to be impressive. We have just the spots for you:

  • Knight’s Steak House — 2125 Horton Road. A quiet, intimate interior makes this a great place for business meetings or even a romantic dinner. Reasonable prices and raved-about steak make this a go-to location for special occasions or to impress clients.
  • Steaks Eatery — 4243 Oaklane Road. This American steakhouse is ideal for important business lunches. With reasonable prices, large portions and well-known steaks, this family-owned business can easily host parties and larger get-togethers. The staff is known for going above and beyond to please customers, and the diverse menu means everyone goes back to the office full and happy.
  • JR’s Hometown Grill and Pub — 11551 Brooklyn Road. They specialize in steaks, ribs and burgers and are well-known for their superior service.

Great for Dining on a Budget

Great food doesn’t have to break the bank. Some of the best local restaurants offer an amazing experience for just a little cash. Enjoy these gems when you’re looking for affordable restaurants in Jackson, MI:

  • West Point Lounge — 1712 Spring Arbor Road. A hidden gem in Jackson, West Point offers the best burgers in town in a casual setting. You’ll find numerous Jackson natives enjoying a meal here, where your dollar goes a long way.
  • Chilango’s Mexican Grill — 1020 E. Ganson St. Housed in a converted gas station, this Mexican restaurant is good for families and the budget-conscious alike. Offering generous portions that are freshly prepared, Chilango’s offers prompt, courteous service with a great variety of Mexican dishes.
  • The Pickle Barrel Deli — 156 W. Michigan Ave. This deli offers fresh-made soups, salads and sandwiches, and their bread comes from Ann Arbor’s Zingerman’s and Jackson’s European bakeries. The deli strives to use other Michigan-made products in their offerings, and its dedicated following combined with its great food are the reasons it’s still going strong today.
  • Beach Bar — 3505 Ocean Beach Road. The recipient of the Best Outdoor Deck Seating Restaurant award in 2013, the Beach Bar takes pride in its fresh — never frozen — ingredients. Everything is made to order, and the atmosphere is relaxing. It opened in 1946 and has flourished as a family-owned business. Whether you’re looking for pizza, soups or croissant sandwiches, this is a must-visit destination.

Great for Breakfast or Brunch

When you do something well, why try to do more? Restaurants that specialize in breakfast and brunch are the perfect way to start a busy day:

  • Roxy Café — 606 N. West Ave. Offering large quantities of food at more-than-reasonable prices, Roxy is a great place to visit when you need something hearty to start off your day. With a range of interesting menu options — for example, the Gary Busey omelet, which is filled with Froot Loops cereal — and a motto of “Serving Breakfast and Lunch Until We Decide to Go Home,” you won’t be bored during your meal.
  • Chilango’s Broken Egg — 3634 McCain Road, Suite 6. Yet another restaurant in the Chilango’s family makes our lists. This time, it’s their breakfast offerings at the Broken Egg. They offer farm-fresh eggs and locally sourced ingredients that result in creative food with a Spanish flair.

What Makes Jackson a Great Place to Eat — and Live?

Jackson is more than amazing food. Jackson, MI is a one-of-a-kind place to call home, raise a family and build a business.

Located in the central-southern part of Michigan, Jackson offers a moderately low cost of living, low property crime and convenient central location. If you’re looking for an area that’s rich in resources and tradition, Jackson is the place for you. The county offers its residents:

  • 12 public school districts, three charter schools and seven private and parochial schools.
  • Three institutions of higher learning: Baker College, Jackson Community College and Spring Arbor University.
  • 22 parks, totaling more than 600 acres and offering limitless outdoor recreational activities.
  • A commitment to safety. The city’s and county’s police departments are centrally located downtown, so they can react quickly to any emergency.
  • Many activities, including a month-long Shakespeare festival, access to nearby Michigan International Speedway and the Cascades County Parks.

If you love your four seasons and are looking for an area that offers big-city amenities with a small-town feel, Jackson, MI is the place for you. With roughly 60,000 occupied dwellings in the county and 40,000 families calling Jackson County home, Jackson is growing with no signs of slowing down. And with Battle Creek, Ann Arbor and Lansing nearby, you’re never more than a short drive from whatever tickles your fancy.

Learn More About What Makes Jackson, MI Special

We love Jackson, MI, and we think you will, too. But there’s more to the area than just great restaurants. Learn more about the town’s unique attractions, its top schools and the arts — and browse homes for sale in Jackson.

If you like what you see and want to schedule a tour of the wonderful HomeFirst™ Communities in Jackson — Walnut Ridge and English Meadows — or you just have a question about the myriad amenities we offer, contact us. We’d love to help you make your next move.

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