We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Joe's Friendly Tavern

Certificate of Excellence
American, Bar, Pub
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
11015 W. Front St., Empire, MI 49630
+1 231-326-5506
Website
Today
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
All hours
Hours:
Sun - Thu 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 7:30 am - 11:00 pm
More Info
Add Photo Write a Review

241 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
Showing 240: English reviews
Westville, Indiana
Level Contributor
239 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is a good place to get a meal in Empire. It's a bar atmosphere, but I saw some kids eating in. The food is very good. Service swift & courteous. It stayed busy way after the lunch hour.

Helpful?
Thank ccindyk48
rochester, mn
Level Contributor
29 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We stayed at the Inn down the street, and walked to Joe's for supper 2 evenings. Both times the restaurant was very busy, but we were seated immediately and our food came very quickly. We all enjoyed our food. The walleye sandwich was excellent and my husband tried something new and loved it, Dave's Dogs! Our daughter got the shrimp... More 

Helpful?
Thank mbkgnat
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you choosing Joe's for your dinner destination during your visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed our little tavern (and Dave's Dogs!). I'll be sure to let JP know she was a hit. Again, thank you for telling the TA community about Joe's Friendly Tavern, we hope to see you... More 

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We stopped to grab a sandwich to go on the way to Traverse City. People were lined up on the sidewalk to eat. You should definitely stop for the food. They have a nice selection of beers as well.

Helpful?
Thank dannpalmer
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for visiting us and for you generous review. We look forward to seeing you again the next time you are in our area. More 

Port Huron, Michigan
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Hard by the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan in the northwestern quadrant of Michigan's Lower Peninsula is the tiny village of Empire. Within the village of Empire is Joe's Friendly Tavern whose ambience alone can be a great assist in downshifting to a slower upnorth speed. We were a family of six spanning three generations who together enjoyed three meals... More 

Helpful?
Thank Tenemos A
Carmel, IN
Level Contributor
60 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

There aren't many options in Empire, so this is one of only a few places to eat. The summer beach and Sleeping Bear Dunes crowd seem to overwhelm the town. We arrived mid afternoon and Joe's was still packed for lunch, but luckily didn't have to wait long for a table. It's an old style tavern, but had a wide... More 

Helpful?
Thank Porchswings
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your review and thank you for understanding that things get hectic this time of year. We hope you visit us and our area again. More 

Columbia, Missouri
Level Contributor
604 reviews
341 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 332 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We ordered the special (steelhead trout in foil) and a caesar salad. The trout was better than I thought it would be. The salad was fine. This was a very busy time; a group of 24 had been seated shortly before our arrival, and tables were being filled as soon as cleared. We waited for more than 35 minutes after... More 

Helpful?
Thank Edge W
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

We apologize for the poor service you received at Joe's. Taking care of our guest in a friendly and efficient manner is something we take pride in. Sometimes things do get away from us and then Joe's Friendly Tavern becomes Joe's Frantic Tavern. Thank you for being so understanding and thank you for your generous review. We hope you visit... More 

Mason, Ohio
Level Contributor
86 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Not cheap but worth it. Great variety of beers and specialty drinks. I went with the adult. Root Beer. Yummy with vanilla flavored vodka. Had the smart salad- I think that was what it was called. The chicken on was great. Would have had a burger but was trying to pick something a bit healthier. Waffle fries were crispy and... More 

Helpful?
Thank nmspeech
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for joining us at Joe's. The specialty drinks this year are extra special. Jessica, the new bar manager, ran Gemma's, our Coffee/Ice Cream/Baked Goods shop here in Empire and she has brought that sense of fun with her. We are glad you enjoyed your visit, we hope to see you again. More 

Naperville, Illinois
Level Contributor
31 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Great burgers and waffle fries, the atmosphere is similar to a standard tavern, casual dress and decent prices for the area

Helpful?
Thank Bzears
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your review, glad you like us. We look forward to seeing you again. More 

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
121 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Perfectly cooked burger and a delicious grilled cheese made for a perfect lunch for my husband and I this Summer! Service was great. Good spot for large groups and kids. Lots of food and drink options and all reasonably priced!

Helpful?
Thank bostonkse
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your generous review, we are glad you enjoyed your experience at Joe's Friendly Tavern. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you again. More 

Maple City, Michigan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Mostly off season for us, fewer crowds, solid food, NMich Tavern Fine for families Suspect good for seasonal

Helpful?
Thank JTHoag
Villageinnempire, Public Relations Manager at Joe's Friendly Tavern, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. More 

Travelers who viewed Joe's Friendly Tavern also viewed

Empire, Leelanau County
Glen Arbor, Leelanau County
 
Glen Arbor, Leelanau County
Empire, Leelanau County
 
Empire, Leelanau County
Glen Arbor, Leelanau County
 

Been to Joe's Friendly Tavern? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing
Improve this listing

Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Cuisine
American, Bar, Pub
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wheelchair Accessible
Good for
Bar scene, Families with children, Dining on a budget
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
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

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?