In a world replete with aspirational, Instagram-worthy dining images, restaurants that truly live up to the promise are rare, yes? Perhaps particularly in small lakefront towns where demographics shift with the seasons, there can be little incentive to abandon what’s known to work for most and follow a singular vision.

Well, Susan’s has a vision. One of casual meals with an unapologetic fondness for fine dining. Beachy, mid-century style grounded in an old architectural gem of a building. And a minimalist’s passion for detail—be it on the plate, in the glass, or throughout the space. In the tiny town of Sawyer, Susan’s is doing Susan’s, and we’re really glad it is.

As suited for date night as an impromptu ‘we need to get fed!’ mission, Susan’s bar, dining room, and patio have a fresh, modern, relaxed feel that clearly conveys you’ve landed somewhere special. A near-perfect intersection of beach town and uptown, where the pace is never rushed, the atmosphere always welcoming, and good taste prevails whether you’re in for a sandwich or a four-course meal.

Owner Cecilia Peterson is the surprisingly mellow force behind it all. After years of owning the building and working in corporate law, Cecilia decided to return to her roots in hospitality and craft a niche dining experience with chef Michael Kinasz. (Lured from premiere Chicago kitchens thanks to a compelling pitch and a soft spot for Michigan’s lakeshore.) If grateful regulars and notable guests are any indication, it’s safe to say vision accomplished.

Local Tip: Reservations at Susan’s are old-school—by phone or email. (You won’t find them on your dining app.) It’s worth the effort, though, especially for large parties and summer weekends.

words  Collette DiJohn Kemper
images  Jodi Bodtke
updated  Mar 19, 2024


5851 Sawyer Road
Sawyer, MI 49125

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