Legs Inn: A Polish Delight

by | Oct 6, 2016 | Food, History, Michigan, Travel

If you are in a trivia contest and asked, “Name an architectural marvel that serves authentic Polish cuisine?” The correct answer is Michigan’s Legs Inn! Trivia is not my thing, but I do know several people who are “keepers of strange and useless information.” Their names will not be mentioned.

Legs Inn

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State’s Best Kept Secret

But one of those keepers of information recently said to me while we were waiting for a meeting to start, “You should check out Legs Inn. It’s got your name written all over it.” Not wanting her to know I was interested, I absently replied, “Really, I’ve never heard of it. Where is it located and why does it have my name written all over it?” Like a lion she pounced on the opening and said, “Its UP North and lots of scary looking biker dudes hang out there playing pool and drinking beer.” Like the girl from the “Exorcist” movie, my head swiveled so I could see her face. I carefully said, “Say more,” but the demon voice in my head was screaming, “Sister, you’ve got some serious image issues if your colleagues think you are hanging out with the Hell’s Angels on the weekends.” She said more but it was just white noise because I was stuck on the “scary biker dude” reference.

You can bet that as soon as I was alone in my office, I “Googled” Legs Inn. She was right about my name being written all over it, but she was completely wrong about the scary biker dudes. Legs Inn is a popular family destination near the famous “Tunnel of Trees” on M-119.  It serves genuine Polish food and also has an impressive beer list.  Oh, I’m sure it is a popular destination for motorcycle clubs looking for a scenic drive on a beautiful day, but definitely not a den for the Hell’s Angels. If I were to be completely fair, I would thank her as it is likely I would not have “Googled” it without the scary biker dude reference and missed an amazing experience. Or maybe I should consider moving her to the marketing team….

Yes, they have several pool tables and a bar, but as you can see NO scary biker dudes.

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Well, this guy was a little scary.

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Architectural Marvel

Before it was trendy, Polish immigrant Stanley Smolak made artistic treasures from old parts and discarded wood. Along with Odawa (Ottawa) Indians who lived in the area, Stanley created a dining experience that was a “blend of Old World European and Indian cultures.” From driftwood he created whimsical creatures which inhabit the Inn. From inverted cast iron stove legs he made a railing, which is the basis for the name. For the next 90 years, Legs Inn has been quietly perched on Lake Michigan’s upper coast in Cross Village. I’ve never been anywhere quite like Legs Inn.

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Stanley Smolak

Stanley once said: “Nature is the greatest sculptor – I am only helping to make the artistic objects more visible to the ordinary eye.”

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Polish Food

I love authentic Polish food and ate a lot of it before becoming a Vegan. I knew going in there was a chance I’d have to go off-road and be a “Flexitarian” for the evening. It wasn’t necessary as there were plenty of options for vegetarians. As you can see, there was Michigan Craft Beer so we were set! For the keepers of useless info here is a fact I bet you didn’t know, “In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted Flexitarian as the year’s most useful word.”

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Cottage Rentals

Hidden behind the Inn under the Willow trees right on Lake Michigan are the cottages. There is no WIFI or cell phone service. It is a perfect place to escape from the world. The beach is private and very romantic (Hint, Hint). We couldn’t resist and rented one. These cottages are time machines taking you back to simple times.

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