Tucked away along the scenic drive of M-22 just north of the small town of Frankfort in northern Michigan, you can find the cozy little restaurant called The Manitou. A staple for locals and vacationers alike, The Manitou has been serving up ‘Northwoods Fine Dining’ experiences to guests since 1979. Owners Doug and Lisa MacHugh have been running the business together after being married in 1984. Ever since then the couple has delighted guests with both savory upscale food and a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. On any given summer evening you can find Doug sitting in the beautifully landscaped outdoor area greeting guests with his larger-than-life smile and glass of wine. He is most definitely the face of the restaurant but don’t let that fool you about who orchestrates behind the scenes. Lisa and her daughter, Alex, take on the responsibilities of the day to day which include everything from managing staff to creating the flavorful dishes that come from their kitchen.
“HOW HARD CAN IT BE…”
For many of us who have worked in the food service industry, we understand the amount of effort and energy it takes to run a successful restaurant. For Lisa MacHugh, this started the day she decided to take on ownership of The Manitou. Her thought was ‘how hard can it be’…which she would soon find out. Many long days (and nights) have shown Lisa just how hard it is. Every spring for the last 37 years, Lisa and Doug make preparations to welcome guests for the upcoming summer and fall seasons. All of this effort has paid off with a reputation of exceptional food and undeniable charm that is second to none.
The charm starts and ends with Doug. Most everyone who has been to The Manitou knows who Doug is after one or two visits. He embodies the friendly and comfortable feeling that the entire place exudes. The staff, decor, and even the garden landscaping all radiate a welcoming feeling to their guests that is led by the man telling stories and drinking wine alongside customers throughout each evening.
The exceptional food of The Manitou comes directly from what Lisa has developed in their kitchen over the years. With no real culinary background to start with, she was forced to learn on the job.
From the level of sophistication that every dish The Manitou has, you would swear that Lisa was a culinary-trained chef. The two biggest components that Lisa has depended on to continue this level are consistency and quality. Those two attributes have defined what ‘Northwoods Fine Dining’ is all about at The Manitou and has really set them apart from any restaurant in the area. The exceptional food that The Manitou continues to put out is a testament to Lisa’s dedication and hard work over the years.
Just after Lisa bought into The Manitou 37 years ago, there was a knock on the door by a gentleman named Mark Shattuck. He was an energetic new salesperson at Superior Foods looking to sell some fish to the new owner/operator at The Manitou. Little did either of them know that this first meeting would develop into the relationship it is today between Superior and The Manitou. Superior was a fit from the beginning. The consistency and quality that Lisa has strived for in every dish are the same things that Superior has aspired for over the years. From the Great Lakes caught Lake Perch to the Black Angus Ribeye, many of the ‘center of the plate’ items on The Manitou’s menu are sourced from Superior. The Manitou has expected the same consistency and quality from Superior over the years as their customers expect from them. Mark, and now Travis Murdock their current Superior sales representative, have taken pride in knowing this and attempting to live up to these high expectations.
All of us at Superior Foods would like to give Doug, Lisa, their daughter, Manager Alex MacHugh Lowery, and the rest of The Manitou staff a heartfelt Thank You. Customers like The Manitou have helped make Superior Foods a successful company for many years. Their level of commitment to their customers and staff is the same level that Superior aims for. We look forward to many more years of partnering with The Manitou.
Located 9 miles north of Frankfort, MI between Crystal Lake & Platte River on M-22.
4349 N. Scenic Hwy, Honor, MI 49640