You don’t just happen to be driving by Legs Inn and decide spontaneously to pop in for Polish sausage. That’s not to say the restaurant doesn’t catch your eye. The unusual stone structure is renowned for its rows of upended cast-iron stove legs that serve as a kind of rooftop railing (hence it’s name). But the inside, too, is a curious mishmash of handmade wooden furniture, driftwood re-purposed as art, totem poles, a giant bar fashioned from the trunk of a hemlock tree and taxidermic bears, deer, raccoons and other native species.
But Legs Inn is so off Michigan’s beaten path, that unless you’re also visiting Mackinac Island, are driving the nearby scenic “Tunnel of Trees” or heading to Headlands International Dark Sky Park to gaze at the stars, you probably won’t be passing through the tiny community of Cross Village. Unless, of course, Legs Inn is your destination, which applies to almost everyone who comes here to dine.
Opened in the 1920s by a Polish immigrant and owned by the same family for almost 90 years, Legs Inn is now in its third generation of restaurauteurs. It still specializes in Polish cuisine, including pierogi (dumpings), Polish sausage and a very delicious bigos (a hunter’s stew of various meats, sausage, sauerkraut and vegetables), all made from scratch. It also offers the local Great Lakes whitefish, sandwiches, goulash, potato pancakes and other fare, not to mention more than 100 varieties of beer from around the world, including Polish beer. The staff includes students from other countries who come here to work and study.
But the best part? Legs Inn is located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, with both indoor and outdoor dining offering great views. Open from about mid-May to mid-October, this restaurant is worth the detour no matter where you’re heading, or even if you’re heading nowhere at all.