On a recent trip back to Michigan, I visited my favorite restaurant on earth called The Clarkston Union in the small town of Clarkston where I grew up. To say I’m obsessed with this place would be an understatement. I literally crave food from the Clarkston Union at least two or three times a week ALL the way in California – almost three years after moving here (which I’m aware makes me sound like a complete heffer, but I simply don’t care). If you are ever in Michigan and have the opportunity to visit this one-of-a-kind place, you needn’t know more than these two and a half words: Mac & Cheese. Canadian sharp cheddar, mild pinconning layered with penne rigate and a crunchy crust make for an absolutely unbeatable combination. Having visited the famous Beecher’s in Seattle, I can honestly say that I enjoy the originality of the Clarkston Union’s Mac & Cheese more. This isn’t said to bash Beecher’s by any means – they make a mean Mac & Cheese, it’s simply the crunchy crust that puts The Union’s in first place (something you miss out on at Beecher’s in their small cup, ice-cream-scoop serving method as a result of their endless line down Pike Street). If you’re feeling particularly exploratory, try The Union’s Mac & Cheese with ham or better yet, lobster – my favorite… my mouth is watering as I type. Two other dishes worth noting are the Caesar Salad (which I know sounds boring, but I’ve spent years trying to replicate the dressing – it’s heavenly) and the Press (an iron-pressed panini that changes daily and I’ve never had one I didn’t finish). I won’t even get started on the Sunday breakfast. Holy Eggs Benedict and Biscuits & Gravy! Dear Clarkston Union, please come cater my
future wedding life.
As if my food rant wasn’t enough, the interior of The Clarkston Union is nothing short of inspirational as a designer. An old church turned bar/restaurant, the structure retains its beauty in its original stained glass windows as well as pews for a creative (and setting appropriate) twist on banquette seating. Funky accents such as vintage art, photography and wall objects, a disco ball and 40+ beer taps top this place off. Enjoy The Clarkston Union with a Bell’s Oberon or Hopslam (my two favorite beers) from Kalamazoo, Michigan and thank me later.
If you can’t make it to Michigan anytime in the near future, check out The Clarkston Union on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on The Food Network December 12th at 10:00pm.