Michigan’s Best Local Restaurants: Artesian Wells, 7 miles from MIS, grills a NASCAR Reuben

IRISH HILLS, MI – The Artesian Wells Sports Tavern is steeped in history, but also great atmosphere and food.

Nestled in the Irish Hills near Jackson and just seven miles from Michigan International Speedway, the site began as a popular watering hole on the old Chicago Trail when settlers came to the area in the 19th century.

In 1920, a canteen opened on the site, which eventually turned into a restaurant. Current owner Tom Carey took over the property in 2000 and constructed a new modern building which he named the Artesian Wells Sports Tavern.

“We wanted a place where people could hang out,” Carey said. “There really isn’t a place to watch games in this area, so we made it more of a sports theme.”

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Guests will also find a wide variety of American-style dishes on the menu, including burgers, sandwiches, fish, and salads.

The riblet basket is the best seller, Carey said. It is a A full pound of house smoked riblets with your choice of barbecue sauce and served with fries and coleslaw.

The “NASCAR Racing” Reuben is also a popular choice for customers. It’s made with home-braised corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and 1000-island dressing, served on rye bread.

People also enjoy the 24 beers on tap, Carey said.

Features like a large outdoor patio, large indoor dining area, and motorcycles are also popular, he said.

Artesian Wells Sports Tavern, 18711 US12, is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Visit his Facebook page and website for more information.

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