Visiting Empire During COVID-19

Northern Michigan remains in phase 5 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan, meaning that most businesses are open, with social distancing measures in place. While we understand that the risk of COVID-19 has not gone away, we are hopeful that together we can make continued decisions to stay safe and keep our businesses open.

Please visit for updates on policies in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 before your visit. Note that masks are now required to be worn when in indoor public spaces per Executive Order 2020-147.

Visitors are required to wear a mask when inside a restaurant or shop, and we ask that everyone maintains 6 feet of distance from those not in your household.

Stay Safe to Stay Open 
Wear a mask indoors
Maintain distance
Wash your hands
Be kind

As our community works together to slow the spread of COVID-19, The Empire Chamber of Commerce is committed to sharing local information to keep the public informed during this time. We will share local business hours, as well as various resources to help those in need. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for these updates, and bookmark this post, which will continue to be updated as information changes.

Food & Groceries 

Local businesses in northern Michigan have worked to implement the social distancing measures necessary to keep their employees, patrons, and community safe. Please be patient with all of our small businesses as they work to adjust their practices with your safety in mind.

Empire Village Inn 

The Empire Village Inn, located on M-22 in Empire, is open daily from 11 am – 9 pm, offering its full menu for outdoor dining service or to-go. Curbside pickup is available, and they have also expanded their outdoor seating area to allow for full-service food and drinks outdoors. They offer pizza, sandwiches, salads, and burgers, along with a variety of sides, and sell growlers of root beer and beer to go. They have also opened a pop-up grocery store in the building, carrying many essentials. You can call them at 231-326-5101 to place your order for take-out. Indoor dining has been suspended at this time.

Joe’s Friendly Tavern 

Joe’s Friendly Tavern, located on Front Street in Empire, has reopened for outdoor dining and to-go service, and they have a new outdoor seating area. The restaurant is not offering indoor dining service at this time. Guests who choose to eat outside can place their orders through a new carry-out window, where to-go orders can be picked up as well.

Shipwreck Cafe 

Shipwreck Cafe makes fantastic breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and they will remain open 8 am – 6 pm daily. You can access their full menu online and call ahead or order in person. You can call them at 231-835-2580 to place an order. They have outdoor seating available.

Art’s Tavern 

Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor is open daily for limited indoor & outdoor dine-in service from 11am-10pm. Their restaurant has been rearranged for safe dining, and a host will greet you outside to lead you to your table. The current menu is available to view on their Facebook page.

Grocer’s Daughter

Grocer’s Daughter is open from 12pm-6pm for indoor service. They are open every day except Wednesdays. Their store has been rearranged for safe shopping, and curbside is still available by calling (231) 326-3030 to place your order. You can view more information on their website.

Mel & Fell 

Mel & Fell is an Empire-based meal-subscription service, offering delivery of meals prepared and ready to reheat. You can sign up to receive their weekly menu via their website and order via email.

Anderson’s Market 

Anderson’s Glen Arbor Market is open Sunday through Thursday from 8am-7pm, and Friday & Saturday from 8am-8pm. A mask must be worn to enter their store, and  you can also shop online at

Shopping & Recreation

Glen Lake Community Library

The Glen Lake Community Library has reopened for curbside service from 10am-5pm as of June 8. Search their online catalog to place reserves; call 326-5361 or send us an email at Their digital collections (including free audiobooks, ebooks, and movies) are accessible 24/7 via their website.

Jojo & Bucky

Jojo & Bucky features a colorful collection of art and antiques from local artists Jim Hilton and Becky Willis. Their shop is located on M-22 and is open “when the open flag flies”. You can find out more information, including how to get in touch, on their Facebook page. 

Empire Outdoors

Empire Outdoors is the spot to visit for souvenirs and all your boating and sport needs! They are open 9am-4pm Monday-Saturday, and 9am-noon on Sundays.

Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak

Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak has reopened their doors for shopping They sell an array of northern Michigan merchandise and all the gear you need to enjoy the water. Their store hours are Monday – Saturday, 10am-6pm. They are closed on Sundays. You can shop online at their website. Call 231.326.9283 to place an order today!

Secret Garden

Located on Front Street downtown, The Secret Garden is an emporium of handmade treasures. Featuring a number of local artisans, you’ll want to stop in to purchase gifts on your next visit. The Secret Garden is open daily. Masks are required for entry and customers are limited to ten at a time.

The Misers’ Hoard

Stop into The Misers’ Hoard to browse their unique mix of old and new gifts. Open Monday-Saturday from 11am-6pm, and noon- 5pm on Sunday. Masks are required for entry and there is a limit to six customers in the shop at a time.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has re-opened all hiking trails, trailheads, and parking lots. Campgrounds and the Visitor Center in Empire have also reopened. Masks must be worn to enter the Visitor Center and campground offices. You can find out more on their website.

Hotels & Accommodations

Duneswood Resort

The Duneswood Resort on M-109 has updated their rooms and added precautions to ensure your ability to safely distance from other guests while visiting. All rooms have been updated with an air conditioner and most now have a mini-fridge available to limit the use of the community kitchen. Each room is equipped with its own outdoor lounge area, and the expansive grounds and easy access to the Heritage Trail allow for many opportunities to get some fresh air! Masks are required when you are on the premises outside of your room or lounge area.

The Lakeshore Inn

The Lakeshore Inn in downtown Empire has reopened their second building, which was renovated this spring. Both the New Lakeshore Inn and the Annex are located within walking distance to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor Center, downtown shopping & restaurants, and Lake Michigan.

Additionally, we have put together a list of local resources to assist during these difficult times. We will continue to update this information as more becomes available. 

Benzie Area Christian Neighbors

Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN) is providing drive-up food and limited financial help. Please call before you come to notify the staff at 231-882-9544. Food is available from 10 am till 2 pm., and financial assistance is available after 2:30 pm. BACN is also accepting financial and food donations. You can call them for more information, or donate on their website.

Mutual Aid Document for Benzie County

Benzie Connects, a community organization located in Benzie County, has put together a document of resources available in Benzie County and throughout the northern Michigan region. Information on available food, mental health, and financial resources are included, along with a number of other resources including businesses that are currently hiring.

Wishing health to you all. If you do choose to visit northern Michigan, please consider the health of the community you are entering, and do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, maintaining your distance, and washing your hands. 


Last updated July 13, 2020