32 Best Restaurants in Jackson, Michigan (Local & Unique) in 2020

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With signature Coney dogs, BBQ, burgers, pizza, sushi, and more, Jackson Michigan has food options for every appetite. And once you’ve eaten your dinner, don’t forget to stop for coffee or satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the local coffee shops, ice cream parlors, or bakeries. With over 150 options of places to eat in Jackson County, here are the best Jackson Michigan restaurants we recommend you try.

Steaks Eatery - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Steaks Eatery on Facebook

Best Casual Dining Restaurants in Jackson Michigan

If you’re looking for a casual sit-down restaurant, there are plenty of locally-owned, casual dining restaurants in Jackson Michigan from which to choose.

Knight’s

If you’re looking for traditional American fare, Knight’s has exactly what you want. It’s one of the best steak and seafood restaurants in Jackson. Since 1952, it has served excellent food and drinks for real value. Although the focus of its menu is steak, prime rib, burgers, seafood, and chicken, its other offerings include pasta, sandwiches, and salads.

West Texas Barbecue Co.

A no-frills BBQ joint, West Texas Barbecue Co. is a destination for authentic Texas-style pit barbecue on Jackson’s south side. The rustic “dining room” seats 24, and an additional 32 seats are available outside at picnic tables overlooking the gravel parking lot. What the restaurant lacks in accommodations, it more than makes up with great food you’ll be talking about for days!

Not looking to “rough it”? Catering is always available for any size group.

Steaks Eatery

When you walk into a restaurant and are greeted by a glass cooler of hand-cut steaks fresh from the butcher, you know you’ve picked a winner. Steaks Eatery on the south side of Jackson might be the best steakhouse in Jackson. The homemade bread, the hand-tossed salads, the cooked-to-order steaks, and the weekend specials have locals coming back time and time again. Not a steak fan? The chicken, pork, and pasta dishes are noteworthy as well.

Local Tip: if you love steak, be sure to dine in on T-Bone Tuesday for an amazing steak dinner for under $20!

Los Tres Amigos

For authentic Mexican flavor, visit one of the three Los Tres Amigos locations in Jackson Michigan. All of the dishes are prepared with mild flavor, but you can request its special hot sauce to spice it up. The restaurant makes its sauces from scratch on a daily basis. Its menu includes a range of quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and more.

Beach Bar & Restaurant

If you haven’t had Beach Bar Tomato Soup, you’re missing out. Although, that’s just one of the amazing world-famous soups that the Beach Bar & Restaurant on Clark Lake serves. But they’re not just a soup bar. The family-friendly restaurant also offers a made-to-order, never frozen, menu of sandwiches, croissants, salads, and pizzas for dine-in or take-out.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Beach Bar has live entertainment on Wednesdays and Sundays from 5:30-9:30 pm.

Beach Bar Restaurant - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Beach Bar Restaurant on Facebook

Sandhill Crane Vineyards

With a relaxing dining experience, Sandhill Crane Vineyards is a family-run winery that only makes wine with Michigan-grown fruit. Its cafe menu consists of wine-friendly eats, such as starters and a customizable charcuterie board. Special food pairings are available when it releases a new wine.

Chilango’s

With four different restaurants in Jackson, Chilango’s offers a variety of Tex-Mex cuisine. For breakfast or lunch, you might visit Chilango’s Broken Egg on the city’s west side. Chilango’s Burrito Bar downtown is a great casual dining location. Also located downtown, Chilango’s Cantina Grill offers authentic Mexican dishes and a full bar, perfect for a dinner date or group gathering. Chilangos’ Chop Bar in downtown Jackson makes amazing salad and smoothies, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or light-fare dinner option.

Vegan menu options are available at each location.

Grand River Brewery

A brewery, winery, distillery, and eatery, Grand River Brewery is a farm to table restaurant with locations in Jackson and Marshall. The menu is made up of dishes using fresh, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, each made from scratch in the restaurant’s kitchen. They even smoke their own BBQ on-site! Best of all, its menu includes vegan and gluten-free options.

Bone Island Grille

Located in Vandercook Lake, Bone Island Grille is a family-friendly, warm tropical restaurant and bar. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday, the menu has many seafood favorites as well as salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, Tex-Mex, steak, and more. The bar is a favorite watering hole for locals and boasts a wide variety of drinks and locally-brewed Michigan beers.

Klavon’s Pizzeria & Pub

Handcrafting pizzas since 2007, Klavon’s Pizzeria & Pub has been voted Jackson’s favorite place to watch a sporting event, thanks to its walls full of TVs and a full-service bar. Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, a Detroiter, a wood-fired pizza, or one of the many other pub-style menu items, you won’t leave hungry! We recommend the pepperoni pizza rolls, but be sure to order them as soon as you arrive (or call ahead) as they only make a certain number each day. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available.

Local Tip: while they don’t accept reservations, call ahead to have your name added to the waitlist before you head to the restaurant. You’ll just need to arrive 15 minutes prior to your assigned seating time.

Klavon's - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Klavon’s on Facebook

Best Jackson Michigan Restaurants for Coney Dogs

Did you know that Detroit wasn’t the original home of the Coney dog in Michigan? The first Coney dog in the state was actually made in Jackson. Here are a few places where you can get these iconic hot dogs topped with chili, mustard, and diced onions.

Jackson Coney Island

Did someone say coney dog? The original coney dogs were first served at Jackson Coney Island in 1914 – even before Detroit made them popular – and are still being served here today. Located near the historic Jackson Train Station, grab lunch on your way through town and be a part of history!

Virginia Coney Island

Also founded in 1914, Virginia Coney Island has some of the best Coney dogs in Jackson. With daily food specials, the restaurant only uses fresh ingredients. Its menu also includes homemade meals and desserts, including cheesecake, cookie bars, and brownies.

Rooster’s Coney Island

Serving frankfurter classics, Rooster’s Coney Island is another great joint for getting Coney dogs. Its menu includes other traditional American dishes as well.

International Dog House

If you want a bigger hot dog variety, International Dog House won’t disappoint. Since 1980, this restaurant has been serving a menu of all kinds of concoctions in a bun.

Andy’s Pizza

More than just another pizza place in Jackson Michigan, Andy’s Pizza has been family owned and operated since 1966 and was voted Jackson’s Best Pizza & Coneys. Pizzas, coneys, burgers, sandwiches, sides, dessert, and more are on the menu. With lunch and dinner menu options, you can dine-in at one of their three Jackson locations or have it delivered after 5 pm.

Jackson Coney Island - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Jackson Coney Island on Facebook

JunkYard Dog

While coney dogs are on the menu at JunkYard Dog, you’ll find a wide variety of hot dog toppings available. Serving only 100% pure beef hot dogs that have been steamed in beer, all their buns and dogs are locally sourced and made in Michigan. Local favorites include Junk Yard Fries, Buffalo Tots, Pretzel Dog, The JunkYard Dog, and The Mac Dog.

Best Better-Than-Fast-Food Restaurants in Jackson

When you want a quick bite to eat, fast food is usually the best option. However, you don’t have to settle for a mediocre meal. Below are a few local eateries that offer great food, fast.

Kibby Cobb Deli

A hidden gem for sure, Kibby Cobb Deli is located in the back of the Kibby Cobb Liquor Store on the south side of Cascades Park. Homemade bagel sandwiches and soup are the main menu items (as well as fresh bagels sold individually or by the dozen, along with a variety of spreads), and it makes a perfect grab-and-go lunch for a picnic at the park or on a cold and dreary day.

We recommend ordering the Pretzel Mania with tomato soup!

Rudy’s Drive In

Open seasonally (February through October) on Page Avenue in Michigan Center (just 10 minutes from downtown Jackson), Rudy’s Drive In is a local favorite. For 48 years, this old-fashioned drive-in has been owned and operated by the same local family. Serving coney island dogs, homemade root beer, milkshakes, and more, this family-friendly and pet-friendly restaurant in Jackson Michigan is a summertime tradition that draws customers from all over southcentral Michigan.

Fun Fact: Rudy’s makes their own root beer every day and serves it in chilled glass mugs.

City Crepes

Whether you want a savory or sweet dish, City Crepes doesn’t disappoint, and you can request gluten-free batter. It has fun names for its crepes and uses a variety of toppings. For example, its sweet crepes feature cinnamon, chocolate, coconut, marshmallows, bananas, cherries, strawberries and more. Its savory crepes feature grilled chicken, pizza sauce, roast beef, turkey, ham, tomatoes, spinach, eggs, cheeses, and more.

Gluten-free batter is available upon request.

Rudy's Drive-In - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Rudy’s Drive-In on Facebook

The Dirty Bird

Known for their chicken wings and beer, The Dirty Bird is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner in downtown Jackson. Chicken, salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, quesadillas, mac and cheese, and appetizers are dine-in and carry-out favorites. They also have a bar with 40 beer varieties on tap.

Best Diners in Jackson Michigan

When you’re looking for a local restaurant with a hometown feel, you might want to eat at one of Jackson Michigan’s best diners. These are some of our favorite places to enjoy breakfast and lunch in Jackson!

Roxy Cafe

“Serving breakfast and lunch until we decide to go home”, Roxy Cafe is ideal for breakfast, lunch, or weekend brunch. The outside might look small, but the inside is full of booths and tables ready for solo diners and groups alike. Just walk in the back door through the kitchen, or come around to the street entrance. The menu is full of freshly prepared Americana cuisine, and the portions never leave you hungry!

Gluten-free options are available.

Schlenkers Sandwich Shop

Touting the best burgers in Jackson, Schlenkers Sandwich Shop also serves unique items, such as fried cauliflower and a special everything sauce. This American diner only has a lunch menu, and you can get your meal to go.

WestEnd Farm To Table

Serving breakfast and lunch, WestEnd Farm To Table is committed to using only fresh ingredients. Established in 2017, the diner has a modern but comfortable atmosphere. Aside from traditional breakfast and lunch dishes, it offers daily specials for adventurous guests.

Candi’s BZB Cafe

Breakfast, brunch, or lunch? Candi’s BZB Cafe has been a downtown staple for over 50 years. Serving breakfast and lunch items on their simple menu, this hometown diner is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. You can’t go wrong with any of their menu items or daily specials.

Roxy Cafe - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Roxy Cafe on Facebook

Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Jackson

While Jackson is known for its casual dining options, there are also a few upscale restaurants available for fine dining in Jackson Michigan.

Veritas

If you’re looking for upscale fine dining in Jackson Michigan, you’ll want to reserve a table at Veritas. Lunch options include soup and salad, sandwiches on homemade bread, and delicious entrees. For dinner, you can enjoy a dry-aged steak, specialty seafood, or hand-rolled sushi. And don’t forget to peruse the drinks and desserts menus!

Want to host a private event? No problem. Catering and go-to options are also available.

Veritas also complements the menu at Drinks & Deceptions, which is in the secret second-floor showroom. The Veritas culinary team and magician Daniel Martin have collaborated to present a unique concept of a magic show with drinks.

Bella Notte Ristorante

Specializing in Italian food, Bella Notte Ristorante has a main dining room and four banquet rooms to accommodate every special occasion. The culinary team creates specials every day, and its extensive menu always features Italian-inspired dishes as well as American and Mediterranean cuisines made with the freshest ingredients.

AKA Sushi

With new renovations in the kitchen and dining room, AKA Sushi offers a fine dining experience with an innovative menu. Along with classic Japanese cuisine, the culinary team puts its spin on traditional dishes. You can sit at the bar to watch the chefs make your sushi.

AKA Sushi - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via AKA Sushi on Facebook

Best Coffee Shops in Jackson Michigan

Many of the above Jackson Michigan restaurants serve coffee, but sometimes you want to go out for coffee after dinner or meet a friend at a local coffee shop. Here are the best coffee shops in Jackson Michigan.

Jackson Coffee Co.

Coffee is a serious business at Jackson Coffee Co. In small batches, it roasts its own whole beans on the premises so that you get the freshest coffee possible. Locals consider it one of the best places for coffee in Jackson. The upper level has booth and couch seating available, and live music can frequently be enjoyed in the evenings and on weekends.

Fortress Cafe

Located inside the Lean Rocket Lab in Downtown Jackson, Fortress Cafe serves freshly roasted Fortress Coffee, healthy grab-and-go sandwiches, wraps, and salads, blended bowls, shakes, and smoothies, and freshly made grab-and-go snacks.

Vito’s Espresso

With a made-from-scratch menu including hand-crafted espresso-based drinks, sweet treats, hot soups, sandwiches, and wraps, Vito’s Espresso is a great place for a coffee or lunch date in Jackson Michigan.

Fortress Cafe - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Fortress Cafe on Facebook

Best Places for Dessert in Jackson Michigan

Are you looking for an afternoon snack, or perhaps you want to stop for dessert after dinner? Here are some of our favorite ice cream parlors, bakeries, and doughnut shops in Jackson Michigan.

The Parlour of Jackson

If you’re in the mood for ice cream, The Parlour of Jackson is a national icon. Since 1900, it’s been the home of more than 40 old-fashion, hand-dipped ice cream flavors. You can participate in its “Dare To Be Great” challenge, which requires you to eat 21 scoops in one hour. The dish is free if you’re successful. Also, there are hot dogs, burgers and other American dishes on the menu.

Sweet Scoops

For an even bigger variety of ice cream and combinations, check out Sweet Scoops. It always has the same 35 flavors and rotates 13 others. On top of that, you can choose from its 32 flavor combinations or make any combination that you want. Ice cream cakes, bubble smoothies, and acai bowls and smoothie bowls are available too.

Hinkley Bakery

When you’re in the mood for a baked treat, you can’t go wrong at Hinkley Bakery. This family-run place has been popular for its homemade doughnuts since 1913. You can get glazed doughnuts, apple fritters, filled long-johns, chocolate crescents, and more.

RJ’s Heavenly Delights

Cupcakes, cakes, over-the-top milkshakes and more, RJ’s Heavenly Delights in Jackson Michigan is the place to go for decadent desserts. Stop in for a treat, order sweets to go, or sign up for a baking or cake decorating class.

The Blue Julep

If your sweet tooth is craving hand-crafted cakes and cupcakes, be sure to stop in at The Blue Julep for a sweet treat. With a different menu of cupcake flavors available each day, you’ll want to visit time and again to try all the combinations of cake and filling!

The Parlour - one of the best Jackson Michigan restaurants
photo via Jackson Citizen Patriot on Facebook

There are so many great places to eat and things to do in Jackson Michigan. To be in the know, sign up for our weekly “what’s happening in Jackson” emails.

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This post was lovingly written and is updated regularly by the team at Join in Jackson!