M-22 is a legendary stretch of highway in Northern Michigan. It originates in Manistee County just north of town and winds along the shore through Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau Counties all the way into Grand Traverse, including the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and countless miles of breathtaking scenery. Twenty miles north of Manistee on M-22 is the lovely resort community of Onekama. This “two lake town” hugs Portage Lake which boasts a channel linking it to Lake Michigan. Sailboats may participate in a regatta on Portage or a longer cruise on the big lake. Power boats appreciate the safe harbor of the smaller lake as they head out through the channel seeking adventure and abundant fishing.
Perched on a rise with a perfect view of Portage Lake is the Glenwood whose sign promises “distinctive dining.” This is a bit of an understatement. Manistee County residents and visitors have claimed the Glenwood as a favorite destination since it opened in 1994. Twenty-two years later, their delicious dinners served in a comfortably rustic setting continue to impress even the most discerning diner.
The Glenwood Restaurant is only the most recent business to occupy the building. It has been a lodge, resort and restaurant since shortly after the turn of the last century. The current owners have taken great care to keep the historic feel of the place which is central to its charm. Our favorite place to dine is on the porch where great food is only enhanced by evening lake breezes. These are prime seats so reservations are a must – up to several days prior to your visit.
We couldn’t resist the appetizers on the menu as we considered what to order for dinner. As always, there are several specials which are described in glorious detail by our server. However, they are also listed on blackboards on the wall. This is helpful since we are often so mesmerized by the enticing details that we can’t remember all the choices. We also get to order drinks from an excellent list of wines, craft beers and specialty martinis and cocktails.
The dinner above is duck with peaches and goat cheese photographed just before it was devoured. The other is a magnificent shrimp salad which disappeared just as quickly. The menu at the Glenwood always includes some classic favorites like Almond Battered Shrimp and Cucumber Salmon. However, there are always new creative choices. And like all fine dining experiences, the dessert tray is dazzling. Especially if it is your birthday.
The Glenwood also has a line of of packaged foods for sale. They have two specialty salad dressings; lime ginger and cherry mustard vinaigrette. Their pies are also hugely popular. To accommodate their many fans and customers, the Glenwood operates a store called the Glenwood Market on River Street in downtown Manistee. Here shoppers can indulge in many of the treats and flavors from the restaurant.
The sun begins to angle around 6:30 and cooler breezes hit the porch. This is the golden hour when the day unwinds and evening approaches. It is the perfect time for a lakeside table at the Glenwood in Onekama Michigan.