Meet Clyde’s, The Delicious Drive-In Burger Gateway To The Upper Peninsula

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Crossing the bridge nicknamed the Mighty Mac, you can be rest assured that in the Upper Peninsula that if you want a good burger you will not have to settle for a McDonald’s Big Mac.

That’s because just west of the bridge you’ll find a magically retro place that harkens to another time.

That place is Clyde’s.

The one we visited after three days of the Mackinac Policy Conference, according to lore, is the third Clyde’s.

The mini-chain was founded in 1949 by a Clyde – Clyde Van Dusen. The one we visited in St. Ignace is, apparently, independent and built in 1971. There is one in Sault Ste. Marie and Manistique, as well.

And although this restaurant isn’t located in Metro Detroit, it definitely feels like a very Michigan thing.

The first thing of note is that this is a drive-in. Sure, there’s a counter inside and a small porch, but on a nice day, why would you do that to yourself?

Roll down the windows, open the sun roof if you have one and enjoy a bit of Americana.

Especially when they give you the tray that rests on the edge of your window.

Now the food is fried and divine. The burger is juicy and fresh. These are the kinds of places like Shake Shack try to emulate.

The onion rings were tasty and on point.

The fried cauliflower was an attempt at experimentation. I’m under no illusions that this was healthy, but hey, it was a vegetable! Two vegetables in one meal!

The prices here are beyond reasonable and it does brisk business. The car side service was friendly and fast.

It’s important to remember that if you swing through this place, it’s cash only.

That small inconvenience also reminded me a bit of home as in Detroit there are still quite a few bars that work on a cash-only basis. But so worth it.

And so is Clyde’s.

You can find Clyde’s at 3 US Highway 2 W, St. Ignace, MI 49781.

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