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Joe's Friendly Tavern

11015 W. Front St., Empire, MI 49630
+1 231-326-5506
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Ranked #2 of 7 Restaurants in Empire
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Hours:
Sun - Thu 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 7:30 am - 11:00 pm
Cuisines: American
8 visitor photos
Restaurant details
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121 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    51
    51
    15
    4
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Gentofte
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014 NEW

This is a place where the locals ALSO go, not only the tourists. The interior is a dinner type, where you envision the local teenagers hanging out for decades. Where your grandfather dated your grandmother. Food is excellent.

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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014

We ordered carry out our first night in town. My wife and I both ordered the cheeseburger plates, one with fries and one with onion rings. Both were awesome! They cook their burgers medium so be sure to ask for well done, if that bothers you. My wife was worried at first but ended up eating every bite. Our only... More

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

Thank you for choosing Joe's. We are glad you enjoyed our burgers. The burgers are one of the things we are known for....we grind the burger ourselves, fresh each day which does make a difference. We hope to see you again soon. More

Traverse City, Michigan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

I stopped in yesterday for a Blue Cheese Burger and Sweet Potato fries with a side of cole slaw. I promised myself I wouldn't eat it all… but there was no stopping once I started. I live in Traverse City and wouldn't ever pass up the chance to eat a burger at Joe's. Love the food and love the small... More

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

Thank you for choosing Joe's award winning burgers. They are indeed hard to put down once you start. Please stop in again for another whenever you are in the area. We look forward to seeing you again. More

Michigan
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

Joe's Friendly Tavern is a family-friendly restaurant that boasts local flavor - friendly people, good food, good service and interesting memorabilia decorating the walls. We all enjoyed our food - the fresh fish special was well prepared and very good, and a good deal price-wise compared to other restaurants in the region. Husband and son had burgers and said they... More

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

Thank your for taking the time to tell the Trip Advisor community about Joe's Friendly Tavern. We are happy that you enjoyed your visit and we look forward to the opportunity to serve you again. More

michigan
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

This place had a great breakfast. The place had an log cabin up north feel and the waitresses were a little quirky:)

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

Thank you for sharing you experience at Joe's. Glad you enjoyed your breakfast and your quirky waitress. Truth be told, the whole town is a little quirky. Come back this winter to visit us to see us in "Full On quirky" mode. More

Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Joe's, run by Frank, is a hidden gem in the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes area. I am always amazed at the quality and variety they prepare out of such a small kitchen. Lake Walleye served with barley risotto! Fabulous! Scallops, great burgers, soups, salads, huge breakfasts, and the atmosphere that hasn't changed in the 31 years I've been going up... More

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

Thank you so much for your very generous review of Joe's. It's nice to have someone appreciate us for what we are. Yes, Joe's is a small town place with a small town vibe in a quirky old building that defies modernization. But more, Joe's is also a destination for great food with a staff who truly enjoys what they... More

Dallas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Every few years we visit the Empire area and we must eat at the Friendly, almost on a daily basis. Even in the middle of high season the service and food are outstanding and the atmosphere is fantastic for families, especially after a day at the beach. Like the beach, this restaurant is a treasure!

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

Thank you for not only saying such kind things about us but also for mentioning our beach. It is indeed a gem. We are glad to be a part of your Empire tradition. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you again. More

Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

The friendly atmosphere is great. Service was good. The burgers, to die for, the best I have ever had!!!! :)

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

You came all the way from the UK to praise our burgers....why thank you! Glad you enjoyed. Please visit us again the next time you are on this side of the "pond". More

Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014 via mobile

A tavern with two beers and tap and nothing much besides burgers. My sweet potato fries were ice cold as was my back after a waitress dumped a glass of ice water on me. She was more concerned about expressing her anger to the person that bumped her instead of apologizing and helping me clean up the mess. Nothing from... More

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

We are sorry you had such a disappointing experience in our restaurant. Feedback like yours is very valuable to us, giving the information we need to improve our service and amenities. In a way of of explanation I'd like to say that towards the end of each season things do get a little sketchy. Many of our veteran employees are... More

2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014

Wonderful service, great food at a reasonable price. My family went here based on reviews and we were not disappointed.

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

Thank you for sharing your Joe's experience with the Trip Advisor community. The burgers are one of our specialties. We grind the burger ourselves fresh daily. It's one of the little touches we ad that make a big difference. We hope to see you again. More

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