Gluten Free in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

On my honor, I think there’s no place more beautiful than Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Then again, living in Michigan, I may be biased. In addition to its beauty, there are many great gluten free options in the Upper Peninsula as well. Check out what we enjoyed during our vacation to Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette.

Upper Peninsula Mackinac Bridge

Where is the “Upper Peninsula?”

So, for my Non-Michigan friends, the Upper Peninsula is separated by the Lower Peninsula of Michigan by the Mackinac (pronounced Mack -in-aw) Straits. The two land masses are connected by the Mackinac Bridge, the third largest suspension bridge in the United States. Opened in 1957, it covers the 5 mile span of 1-75 from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace. While the west side of the peninsula borders Wisconsin by land, it is, in fact, part of Michigan.

Upper Peninsula Iron Town Pasties gluten free pasty

Iron Town Pasties in Negaunee

What’s a pasty? Similar to calzone, it’s a handheld meal wrapped in dough. Unlike a calzone, it contains no sauce. Some will dip them in gravy, although some frown on that and use ketchup instead. Traditional pasties, like the one above, contain beef, potatoes, rutabaga, onion and spices.

Iron Town Pasties offers what they call “gluten friendly” pasties. Because of the large population of those with Finnish heritage (and Celiac Disease), businesses often take the term “gluten free” seriously.

Here is how they prepare and store their gluten friendly pasties. “We deep clean prior to gluten friendly work. We  stop our regular flour work at least 24 hours prior to doing our gluten friendly. (We call them gluten friendly due to us using regular flour in our facility.) As long as we have an hour notice we can get it hot for you while supplies last.”

Upper Peninsula Tino's Pizza

Tino’s Bar and Pizza in Negaunee

We also ate at Tino’s in Negaunee while on our gluten free Upper Peninsula vacation. While they take precautions, they use a very small kitchen. They change gloves and preparing gf pizzas on their own pan. The cook stated she would use fresh sauce and toppings after I asked. However, they also use the term “gluten friendly” because they know the chance for cross contact is possible. They offer grain based and cauliflower gluten free crusts.

Gluten Free Donckers Smash

Donckers in Marquette

Downtown Marquette is such a treasure. I feel like one day is simply not enough to explore it all. Some restaurants are more knowledgeable than others. Our meal at Donckers may just be my favorite meal of the entire trip. Read my full blog post about out Donckers breakfast.

Ore Dock Brewing's Breakwater Gluten Free Hard Seltzer

Ore Town Brewing in Marquette

For those who know me well, they know it takes less than 4 oz of any alcohol to make me tipsy. #CheapDate. During our gluten free Upper Peninsula journey, we stopped at Ore Dock Brewing so my husband could have a (non gf) beer. Imagine my surprise when I learned they make their own gluten free seltzer, named Breakwater. I drank this entire glass of Black Cherry seltzer and enjoyed every last drop.

Upper Peninsula Marquette Food Coop Gluten Free Feel Good Foods Three Cheese Bites

Marquette Food Co-op

When traveling, I always recommend visiting local grocery stores. Especially the small health food stores, as sometimes you find local stuff you can’t find at home. Ironically, on our gluten free Upper Peninsula vacation, I found national brands at Marquette Food Co-Op I couldn’t find at home. This box came home with me, for sure!

Presque Isle Park, Michigan

Presque Isle Park, Michigan

I am so blessed to live in Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes. This 300+ acre park, jutting out into Michigan’s Lake Superior, personifies beauty. The water shows itself in the deepest blues and greens. While we spent an hour or so exploring, one can definitely spend hours at Presque Isle Park and not be bored.

Upper Peninsula Miner Mural

Upper Peninsula’s Mining History

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is synonymous with mining. In fact, the western counties are nicknamed “Copper Country.” While many mines sit empty, researchers now study their potential for hydro energy storage that could not only revolutionize the area, but the country. This mural in Ishpeming serves as a reminder of the area’s history.

Upper Peninsula Buck's Restaurant Gluten Free Bacon Cheeseburger

Buck’s Restaurant, Ishpeming

You’ll find Buck’s Restaurant just across the street from that mural. Although they don’t advertise gluten free options, locals come here for gluten free burgers and “cudighi.” They serve their gluten free burgers on Udi’s buns. However, they do not have a dedicated fryer. Therefore, no french fries as a side.

Upper Peninsula Gluten Free Smores

BYO Gluten Free Grahams

Of course, the safest place to eat during any vacation is your own kitchen. We stayed at a friend’s cabin on the Dead River Storage Basin. I had access to pots, pans and my own toaster that I brought. We enjoyed gluten free waffles, hot dogs, and S’mores. My recipe for homemade gluten free graham crackers is here on my blog. 

Dead River Storage Basin Negaunee Michigan

My Happy Place

I am my happiest near any body of water. During our gluten free Upper Peninsula getaway, we were blessed to stay in a house on the waterfront. Each morning, I walked out and this is what greeted me. If you have yet to visit Michigan’s UP, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s untouched beauty is worth the drive.

Other Northern Gluten Free Dining Locations

People often ask me for restaurant recommendations for across our state. (Upper and Lower Peninsula’s, combined.) Below are restaurants others have recommended. However, I have not personally eaten at these locations, nor asked them about their food prep.

Mackinac Island – The Gate House (Part of the Grand Hotel)

St Ignace – *The Village Inn (I ate here years ago. I had a great experience, but always check with places, as procedures may change.)

Sault Ste Marie – The Wicked Sister (P.S. – Pronounced “Soo Saint Marie.”)

Have any other Upper Peninsula gluten free dining suggestions? Please leave a comment below. As always, ask your own questions about food prep at any location I (or others mention.) Posts such as these serve as education about what is available. Do you own due diligence. 


  1. I had one of my favorite meals at Tracey’s at the Roam Inn. The whitefish chowder and potato encrusted whitefish were amazing!!! Pricey but so worth the quality!!

  2. Zaks in Sault Saint Marie have gluten free waffle cones and ice cream also Karl’s Cuisine Café has a gluten free menu and great gf subs.

  3. Love Donckers and Ore Dock! Was just up there myself last week and was delighted to see that my old stomping grounds (NMU alum – Go ‘Cats!) could accommodate my recently discovered gluten issues.

  4. It’s not a restaurant, but The Gas Lite General Store in Copper Harbor has a surprising amount of gluten free products if you’re on a trip and pretty far from the larger areas like Marquette. They sell both well known and lesser known brands, and have a designated gluten free section with everything from frozen pizza, cereal, cookies, crackers, pasta, soup, and more. I chatted with the manager briefly and she said they try to make sure there are enough gluten free options for people to eat each meal of the day, and they’re always looking for people’s recommendations on good GF products to stock. This was as of last summer, but I imagine it’s still pretty similar. It was a pleasant surprise and I never turn down a chance for sweets.

    1. I can confirm this was the case in fall of 2021. According to workers, the previous owner was GF and the new one decided to continue to carry products.

      Very handy when you’re about an hour away from any other store!

  5. On Mackinac Island my celiac daughter and I ate at the Yankee Rebel tavern and they were amazing. A bit pricey but the waitress knew the whole menu, including sauces, salad dressings etc.. They had gluten free bread. Between the 3 of us, we had 2 different salads, 2 different burgers, as I eat turkey not beef, and the prime rib. I sent my brother who has a celiac son there several days later.

  6. Places in MQT worth visiting for GF options:

    Dig’s downtown MQT – (the burger and whitefish tacos)

    Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery (ask for GF menu)

    The Courtyards; Home of Second Line T-Boys and Tappas Food Truck

  7. The post regarding Irontown Pasties Gluten Friendly pasties has some misleading information. We do not close the shop on Sundays. We do deep clean prior to gluten friendly work. We do not ONLY make gluten friendly pasties on Mondays. We do stop our regular flour work at least 24 hours prior to doing our gluten friendly. We call them gluten friendly due to us using regular flour in our facility. We will sell our gluten friendly all day any day; as long as we have an hour notice we can get it hot for you while supplies last.

    1. Dear Amber, thank you for your comment. When I wrote this post in 2019, this is what I was told. I will update my post with your comments to reflect this information.

    2. We visited this weekend, and your gluten-friendly pastie was the first I’ve ever found, and even more delicious than gluten ones I’ve had at other places. Thank you!

      1. SO glad you enjoyed the pasties. Please note that I am not the owner of that business. I’m simply a blogger who shares about places where I’ve safely eaten gluten free.

  8. Just left the Fitzgerald restaurant in Eagle River and they had a couple GF options on the menu that were clearly labeled. The food was excellent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *