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Joe's Friendly Tavern

Certificate of Excellence
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11015 W. Front St., Empire, MI 49630
+1 231-326-5506
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Today
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Thu 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 7:30 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 183 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 80
    Excellent
  • 67
    Very good
  • 28
    Average
  • 6
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Just what we needed the morning after a wedding and travel.

Only place in town open early serving a hot breakfast. Has a dive-bar feel to it, but the food and service was great.

4 of 5 starsReviewed August 25, 2015
Wanderlust_MI
,
Holland, Michigan
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183 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2015 NEW

We had an enjoyable lunch at Joe's. My Philly cheesesteak sandwich was delicious and filling. Waitress took time to pay attention to the 6 kids in our party and we enjoyed the ambience.

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Holland, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2015 NEW

Only place in town open early serving a hot breakfast. Has a dive-bar feel to it, but the food and service was great.

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Lansing, Michigan
Level Contributor
209 reviews
173 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2015 NEW

I found this place by using Tripadvisor. I was needing a lunch spot not far from Sleeping Bear Dunes. I picked right! The food was VERY good for a bar in a very small town. The bar needs some deep cleaning, but other wise just shows wear. There was 4 guys in the tiny kitchen cranking out food. The menu... More 

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austin, TX
Level Contributor
83 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015 NEW

Ate here one night during a regional power outage. Joe has a generator so was open, mainly serving fried food. Service was good. All the locals were there. I had a fried fish sandwich, which was quite tasty. Can recommend for some local flavor.

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

So you were here after "the storm of the century", thank you. You caught us while our one-lung generator was still going. We were eventually reduced to serving cold sandwiches but everyone seemed to take it in stride. Some places in our area were without power for a week (we didn't have it for 4 days). Hope you come back... More 

Hanover, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2015 NEW

Totally unexpected gourmet salad delivered in a friendly atmosphere. Quinoa, kale, shaved Brussels sprouts and asparagus accompanied by heirloom tomatoes, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. I haven't seen anything like this in this area. A welcome change to the burgers and fries, but if you're into that, my fellow diners gave me a thumbs up to that too. Family friendly... More 

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your kind review of Joe's Friendly Tavern. Yes!!!!!! We are not just about the burgers, we have a great selection of salads, fresh homemade soups and nightly dinner specials featuring items such as Walleye, Steelhead Trout and Duck Breast. But if you are craving a burger.....you can't go wrong with a Joe's burger. Thank you for visiting... More 

Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

Our family stopped here for lunch while visiting the Dunes. Not a lot of restaurant choices in the area, so I guess it's a supply and demand situation. The food was good, however the prices were very expensive! Burgers were $14.50, kids PB&J was $7.00. There were also some kids menu items that were $12.00! We were starving and without... More 

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

We are glad you enjoyed our food, sorry the prices were a bit high for your budget. Our grou,nd fresh daily, 1/3lb after cooking, cheeseburgers, with lettuce, tomato, onion & pickles, minus a side cost $9.50. Our portions are substantial, many guest split a sandwich (which we gladly do) or leave the side off. Yes we do have one children's... More 

Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2015

Ate breakfast here and I get it. There is a premium to be expected due to seasonality and higher delivery cost. So paying 8.50 for a standard 2 egg, bacon, potatoes and toast is somewhat acceptable. But 3.75 for a small chocolate milk? Or 7.00 for a kids meal of box Kraft Mac n cheese and a soda? Food was... More 

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for taking the time to review Joe's, your feed back is important to us. We are glad you think our breakfast is somewhat reasonable....you could have saved $2 for on a similar breakfast at McD's, however the quality is not quite the same (our eggs come in egg shells, theirs....in plastic bags.) We look forward to seeing you... More 

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

We've gone to the Friendly every summer for over thirty years and have never been disappointed. The food is reliably outstanding (the burgers are some of the best you can get anywhere in the country), the staff is always quirky (in the good way) and outgoing, the beer selection is solid, and they brew their own root beer! Apparently under... More 

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for sharing your experience at Joe's. Yes, our prices have gone up some but not as much as you might think. What we had done this summer was automatically added the side (a generous portion) with out charging extra for onion rings etc. and we also stopped charging for extras toppings like sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, fried egg,... More 

Ann Arbor, Michigan
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2015

These folks were absolute heroes after the big storms a few weeks ago -- they worked their generator until it died and served everyone they could. Not only that, but the food was just as tasty as always!

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Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your kind words. The storm that struck us on Sunday, August 2nd was the worst in recorded history for this area. We are glad you appreciated our effort....we did what we could under the circumstances. With that said I'd like to say it wasn't just us. A big shout out and heart felt thank you to all... More 

Lake Ann, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2015

It's hard to get past the prices here. Regardless of the rationale, it's higher than anything in the bigger town of Traverse City for something comparable. Yes, the salads and sandwiches are huge and good, but couldn't you make them half as big for less? There were so many travelers in the restaurant who can't take away leftovers, it seemed... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. We have had a few comments over the summer about our prices and we think we will probably move in the direction you suggested. We do not want to use cheaper ingredients so to lower cost we will cut the size of portions we serve. I will admit, our servings are substantial. Many of our... More 

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 11015 W. Front St., Empire, MI 49630
  • Location: United States  >  Michigan (MI)  >  Leelanau County  >  Empire
  • Phone Number: +1 231-326-5506

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: American, Pub
Open Hours
Sunday
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Monday
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
7:30 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday
7:30 am - 11:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Joe's Friendly Tavern staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?