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Review (sorta): Turkey Roost, Kawkawlin, Michigan

Turkey? A full-blown turkey dinner, with stuffing and potatoes, and cranberries … in July?? You bet your boondockers! Turkey anytime, and this particular plate is one I’ve been enjoying off-and-on my whole life! No, not … the same plate of turkey and stuff … my whole life … that would be … no, that’s not right …

Up in Kawkawlin north of Bay City, on M-13 (east of I-75 between Beaver and Linwood Roads) is a great old place called the Turkey Roost. Located on the east side of the road, it’s painted pink so you can find it:

They actually used to keep turkeys in a pen by the road, but the practice had to be stopped for various reasons. (There’s an old picture of this pen on the wall inside the restaurant.)

The Turkey Roost is one of Michigan’s older food destinations, and remain a destination today. Long before I-75 bypassed the town of Kawkawlin, folks making the drive through town would stop in for a hot, satisfying meal. Today, the restaurant is a destination all its own, and remains popular as a place for kids to take grandparents who used to go there when they were young.

The dish at the top, the meal I ate for lunch this past Friday afternoon, is only the half-plate turkey dinner. Yes, the full plate is almost twice as big! What’s interesting about these turkey dinners is the speed involved. Rarely will it take more than five minutes between the time you order the turkey dinners, and when they’re delivered, piping hot. The turkey is moist and tender, the stuffing it covers is hot and satisfying, and those biscuits are better than most.

The Turkey Roost does have a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their breakfasts are like Grandma used to make, very filling, and very delicious.

If you’re headed north at all at any time, the Turkey Roost is close enough to I-75 that it isn’t enough out of the way to ignore. We get there as often as we can, and really, that’s definitely not often enough.

17 comments to Review (sorta): Turkey Roost, Kawkawlin, Michigan

  • Indeed, The Turkey Roost is a must! My favorite is the Turkey Club Sandwich. Then head North and grab a pie or two from Judy’s Famous Pies at Linwood Corners. If you’re still hungry, eat at Linwood Corner’s Restaurant … you won’t be disappointed. Down the road, heading north, is another must … William’s Cheese and don’t leave without sampling the Original Pinconning Horseradish Cheese spread (buy more than you think you should ’cause it’s fun to crack one open on the trip, especially yummy with pumpernickle pretzel sticks).

  • We came real close to stopping in to Judy’s this time, but that’ll have to wait. That whole area has so much to offer, it’s difficult to fit it all in!

  • Ohio Lady

    Thanks for the info on the Turkey Roost–I’m heading up that way on Thursday and hope to make it my supper stop on my way north. Sound delicious !!

  • Robin Blumenschein

    I will be 40 years old in September and I havent been to The Turkey Roost since I was a very young girl and I want to come here for my birthday. I remember the wonderful mounds of turkey and gravey.
    I cant wait

  • Wilbur Schmidt

    the turkey roost is the center of kawkawlin the food is the best in the whole area. If you are a first timer in the area on your way up north you have to stop and see what its all about. if you come early and get some breakfast. i usually get the number 1, prospectors breakfast. make sure to tell the watier that you dont want onions in your potatos. unless you like onions then you should ask for them inside. it probly tasstes good with onions if you like that sorta thing. but when you get there its your choice to decide so i wont decide for ya.

  • Thanks Wilbur! I haven’t had a breakfast meal there in a number of years. I was actually considering reviewing that side of their menu next time we’re in town. Unfortunately that probably won’t be until spring, but it sure is a destination we’re mindful of.

  • BRAD VERNON

    I’M 55 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN A FAN OF THE TURKEY ROOST SINCE I WAS A BOY, WHEN MY PARENTS TOOK MY BROTHERS AND I. I AM FORTUNATE TO LIVE IN THE AREA AND HAVE DINED HERE MANY TIMES, FOR MANY YEARS. MY WIFE AND OUR 4 CHILDREN DO THE ROOST OFTEN … IT’S EXCELLENT! … YOU CAN HAVE A THANKSGIVING FEAST ANYTIME OF THE YEAR. IT’S CLEAN, THE SERVICE IS OUTSTAND, AND IT’S FAST … FASTER THAN FASTFOOD, REALLY! THE QUALITY OF ALL THEIR FOODS, DINNERS, SANDWICHES AND SOUPS (TRY THEIR SOUPS!), ARE “GOOD HOMECOOKED COMFORT FOOD”. ALSO, I CAN FEED MY FAMILY FOR THE SAME COST, IF NOT LESS, THAN THE TRADITIONAL FASTFOOD JOINTS … AND MUCH MORE NUTRITIOUS. TREAT YOURSELF, THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO THE TURKEY ROOST … YOU WON’T BE SORRY … YOU’LL SEE THAT IT’S MONEY WELL SPENT!

  • Purple Neon Lights

    I am a Turkey Roost evangelist and total disciple. I have no finanicial involvement whatsoever with the Turkey Roost; I am just a complete fan.

    I first went to the Turkey Roost in the late 1950s when I was a toddler. The Turkey Roost was opened in 1955, so I’ve been going there almost since it started. I’ve been going there about 50 years, every year at least several times a year.

    I go there every year, several times, when make my annual two-week visit back to Michigan, where I was raised. When I lived in Michigan, I went there far more than several times a year.

    I have a Turkey Roost bumper sticker on my car to educate the Californians where I now live about the greatest restaurant in the universe.

    I have a vintage old Turkey Roost T-shirt with the old logo. (I don’t like the new logo nearly as much.) One of these days, I intend to have a professional t-shirt maker scan the logo and make me more of the original tishirts.

    Believe it or not, the Turkey Roost is so important to me that I would have a special batch of t-shirts made up. (You can buy current T-shirts at the present Turkey Roost, but the logo is just not as good, in my opinion.)

    The place is totally retro without setting out to be that way. they are putting on no airs. The waitresses wear white uniforms, etc. That’s just the way they are.

    It will absolutely blow your doors off how fast you get served there. You might wait 1-3 minutes to get your meal once you order.

    This place is a genuine original. It isn’t trying to be a 50s diner, or trying to be anything., It just serves turkey dinners, with a few other things on the menu, and does this exceedingly well

  • Bob K

    I remember stopping at the Turkey Roost when I was a child. I am 47 now. We used to stop there on our way to Glennie, or Skidway Lake. I don’t remember ever finishing everything that was on my plate. And yes, I remember the turkey pen that used to be on the property. Wow, this brings back a lot of memories.

    I was very happy to see a bumper sticker on a vehicle the other day, giving an indication that the restaurant was still in business. I can’t wait to take my family there now in order to share this place with them, and to “relive” some great childhood memories.

    Thank you for posting the review!

  • Cayte

    I am a second generation Turkey Roost addict. Pretty much we’ve been stopping there at least once a year my entire life (all 28 years of it) and when my mom was a kid my grandparents would usually stop there on the way up to the lake (chain lake).
    There and Grampa Tony’s in Bay city (the one on columbus) are the best places in the world to eat.

  • Theresa

    I LOVE the Turkey Roost it is the best reasturant I ever ate at! I am twelve years old and i go there all the time. You walk in the doorand it is so clean you seat yourself and after you order you food will be there in two minutes. The rich turkey taste with the tramendous gravy, dreasing,mash potatoes and don’t forget the strawbeery shortcake. The services is great. Stop in and eat. Make this your #1 reasturant because its my favorite.

  • took the family to the turkey roost friday night. have heard alot of good things about the food. what a wonderful dinner it will take one heck of a resturant to beat the roost.todd and his crew were great. we have never recieved a meal so fast.the quality of the food is top of the line.

  • todd

    Awesome food a must stop. Although turkey is the main attraction,the hot roast beef sandwich is fantastic as well.

  • Wanda Brockway

    Does anyone know if they are gonna be open on Thanksgiving and how far is the drive from Detroit?

  • Wanda, I called them and they will be open 6:30am till 7pm Thanksgiving Day 2011. The Turkey Roost is about 120 miles north of Detroit, or about a two-hour drive.

  • Kraig

    I have been going here on the way up North since the 1950’s. My Parents would make this a stopping point from Port Huron to Lewiston. Can’t not stop, too many memories!

  • MERRY FELK

    I LOVE TO GO HERE AGAIN WENT BACK IN THE 80’S WANT TO TAKE MY FAMILY GOTTA LOVE THE INTERNET HOWEVR CAN ANYONE TELL ME THEIR HOURS ?

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