15 Flint Area Foods to Try Before You Die — Flint Food Bucket List Vol. 1
It wasn't easy, but after much debate we're finally done with volume one of our Flint Food Bucket List. In other words -- here are 15 Flint Area foods you have to try before you die.
On the surface, it's easy to write Flint off as a place with no real culinary identity. After we knocked out the obvious seven or eight Flint food staples, we were stumped. So we began taking a long, hard look at our food scene, and asking around quite a bit. Much to our surprise, we learned that there are a ton of great dishes just waiting to be discovered in the area.
After much intensive research, taste testing, soul-searching, and eating lunches that were way too big for any one human -- we have finally completed our first volume of the Flint Food Bucket List. So if you haven't yet had "the pleasure," make sure you try these 15 Flint area foods before you die, which are presented in no particular order. We'll leave the impossible task of ranking these up to you.
Empress of China
Despite some solid competition in the area, Empress of China Cantonese Restaurant is in a league of its own. The ornate atmosphere of the long-standing Flint eatery alone makes it an immersive dining experience... and that's before any food gets to your table. One of the city's best kept secrets is their delicious Mongolian Beef, but once you've had it -- you'll never order it from anywhere else without a heaping side of disappointment.
Starlite Diner & Coney Island | Angelo's Famous Coney Island
The Flint Coney is, perhaps, the best known Flint food creation. There's not much to a Flint Coney, but anything less than a Koegel vienna and Abbott's Meat coney sauce is unacceptable. There are several places that do them right, but two longtime local faves are Starlite and Angelo's. Plus, neither serve Detroit coneys, so there's zero chance you'll accidentally end up with a chili dog if you simply order "a coney."
The Torch Bar and Grill
When you start asking where you can go to get a good burger around town, you'll get a lot of answers. However, you'll most likely hear the phrase "Torch Burger" more than anything else. Their burgers are made from fresh ground, never frozen sirloin, which is delivered to the bar daily, then cooked right in front of you -- their grill is behind the bar.
If you're looking for more burger options, check out our list of the Best Places to Get a Burger in the Flint Area as well.
Vehicle City Tacos
There are tacos, and then there are Vehicle City Tacos. It's not even fair to put places that make, what most consider, "traditional tacos" in the same category as VCT. All of their tacos are next level, but the Mother Clucker is so unique that even native Texan and legendary drummer (Pantera, Hellyeah) Vinnie Paul's mind was blown. Made with deep fried beer-battered chicken, pico de gallo, chipotle crema, two freshly grilled corn tortillas, and their spicy habanero mango salsa -- the Mother Clucker will change everything you know about the taco game forever. It should be noted that "The Regular" is also just as revolutionary, and is anything but what its name implies.
4-Star Deluxe Pizza
Luigi's Restaurant & Pizzeria
Luigi's is a longtime Flint favorite. In fact, they've been dishing out awesome Italian cuisine on Flint's East side since 1955. There are a handful of great pizza joints in the Flint area, but many consider Luigi's pie to be the best. Their thin-crusted masterpieces never skimp on the toppings, or on flavor. The pizza-lover in you will not be disappointed.
Clio Roadhouse Bar and Grill
Clio Roadhouse has an extensive burger menu that is strong enough to be the main attraction of any bar and grill, but the item of theirs you see more than anything is the Bloody Brunch. You may not recognize the name at first, but you've definitely seen at least one friend share a picture of this almost comical monstrosity on social media. They take a giant bloody mary, and pretty much put a meal for 4 in it. The signature drink -- served with celery, pickle, olives, cucumber, tomato, cheese, a giant onion ring, sliders, wings, shrimp, bacon, and a beef stick straw -- looks quite ridiculous, but there's not a hangover in town that can stand up to its might.
Fish & Chips
Whitey's Restaurant & Take Out
A lot of Flint places do fish & chips justice, but in the court of public opinion and just about local every top 10 list or "Best of" competition -- one place has reigned supreme for decades. That place is Whitey's Restaurant & Take Out of Davison. Pretty much all we need to tell you is that if you want damn good fish & chips -- go to Whitey's.
Halo Burger is a true Flint original. The ever-growing chain got its start right down on the bricks of Saginaw Street back in 1923. Some things have changed over the years, but one thing remains the same -- Flint loves a Boston Cooler. The beverage puts a regional spin on the ice cream float by using Detroit's uniquely-flavored Vernor's Ginger Ale instead of a traditional soda. "The D" may have started it, but no one in Flint grew up without at least trying one. Therefore. it's kind of our thing now too.
Super Steak, Cheese & Mushrooms Sub
Big John Steak and Onion
Another of Flint's more renowned originals, Big John Steak & Onion has been serving up delicious steak subs since 1972. You can ask everyone in the Flint area how they like their Big John's sub, and most of us locals will judge one another based on the intricacies of said order, like whether or not they eat theirs with onions or red sauce. Local nitpicking each others preferences aside -- Big John Steak & Onion makes one hell of a steak sub. It quickly becomes a must-have for anyone returning to Flint that's already had one.
Fenton Fire Hall
The Fenton Fire Hall does so many things phenomenally well, but their mac & cheese lineup is definitely a standout. The restaurant, a member of the Union Joints family, features the famous recipe found at their Clarkston Union locations, but also offers unique variations like the spicy and delicious Franco Mac, featuring chorizo, smoked shrimp, and sweet corn.
Any Hibachi Dinner w/ Double Yum Yum Sauce
Sagano Japanese Bistro & Steakhouse
Sagano is so fantastic that we couldn't even settle on one single meal to get from their hibachi menu. Really, it's all great. Pick any combination of shrimp, chicken, lobster, and filet, and you'll go home a happy camper. Every hibachi dinner is cooked on the flat top table, right in front of you, so you get a little show with your meal as well. They also come standard with a salad, soup, rice, noodles, and veggies that are so good on their own that it's difficult to pace yourself. Just be sure get the fried rice and double down on the yum yum sauce and you're good to go, no matter what you choose.
Like the caption of the Instagram photo above implies, the Flint-style nutty donut must be somewhat of a rarity. We often hear people return to Flint who have to have a Nutty Donut because they can't find any place that makes them like they do here. In a world filled with hype for doughnut-croissant hybrids and other oddball combinations, it's easy to take such a subtly delightful thing for granted. Donna's Donuts is widely considered as Michigan's best doughnut-maker, and their star player is the Nutty Donut. It's even nicknamed "The Home of the Nutty Donut." Go ahead and Google "Nutty Donut" and see what you results you get.
Shrimp Alfredo Baked Potato
Spectacular Spudz in the Flint Farmers' Market
You've never had baked potatoes like these, unless you've already eaten at Spectacular Spudz. The Farmers' Market vendor takes their premium baked potatoes from being a side dish, straight to main event status. They have a variety of dynamite combos, but their Shrimp Alfredo is a must for fans of the traditional version of the dish.
Sam's Italian Restaurant
Quietly tucked away just off of US-23 in Swartz Creek, Sam's has been cooking up mouthwatering slices of little Italy since the Nixon administration. Sam's Italian Restaurant has many delicious offerings, but the one that will most likely keep you crawling back are the perfectly seasoned, deep fried dough bites of deliciousness known as Samoritos.
Bacon and Brie Pancakes
Well before being named one of the best breakfast spots in America by sites like the New York's TimeOut, Thrillist, and one of the best in Michigan by MLive, The Laundry had already carved out a large loyal fanbase in the area. Though it is a bit of a hike from Flint proper, incredible breakfast dishes like their skillets, and the out-of-this-world Bacon and Brie pancakes make it worth every last cent of gas you burn to get there... and then some.
Remember, this is only Volume 1 of the Flint Food Bucket List. If you have suggestions for Volume 2, please share them in the comments section or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org