The 5 Livingston County restaurants I miss the most

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Truth be told, Livingston County’s dining scene has never been better than it is right now. The last decade or so has seen some outstanding additions to our restaurant offerings: Ciao Amicis, La Vita Bistro, the new Taco Bell in Howell.

Ah, but for every Ciao Amicis we’ve gained, there’s a Canopy that we’ve lost. And man, do I miss some of our long-gone dining spots.

There are dozens and dozens of candidates for this list, but I had to whittle it down. So, here’s my list of:


1. The Honeydew Cafe, Howell
This was a downtown restaurant that opened and closed a couple times in a few different locations. It was a cool, quirky place with a pasta-and-potatoes dish called Ala Mala Ooe that I absolutely loved.

2. Annie’s Pot, Howell
It was in a little strip mall just east of town, and Annie’s Pot had the best pizza and breadsticks you’d find anywhere. They also had a bunch of old-timey stuff on the walls that added to the great atmosphere.

3. The Pinckney Inn
There’s a great business in this location now (the Dio dinner-theater), but man, do I miss the Pinckney Inn. Their pecan chicken might be my single favorite dinner entree in Livingston County history.

4. Cardona’s Pizza, Brighton
This is one of the legendary spots in Brighton history. It was a pizzeria’s pizzeria – great food, great drink, great atmosphere. And for a little while in the early 1980s, when the stand-up comedy boom was beginning, it hosted a Comedy Night once a week. Among the budding stand-up stars who took the stage at Cardona’s: Tim Allen, Dave Coulier and Sinbad.

5. The Canopy, Brighton
In Livingston County restaurant history, this was the grandaddy of them all. Linen tablecloths, steak and lobster, Earl Williams at the piano. We’ve never again seen a restaurant this elegant.

• BRIGHTON: The Garden Spot, Kmart Grill, the Nugget, Sammy’s Sail Inn
• HOWELL: Old Howell House, the Midget, Marion Oaks, TW & Friends
• FOWLERVILLE: Big Boy, Lucky’s Pub
• PINCKNEY: Lakes Grill
• HARTLAND: Oasis Truck Stop

So, what’s on YOUR list of the Livingston County restaurants you miss the most?

About Buddy Moorehouse 124 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.


  1. I owned Annie’s Pot for almost 20 years. When I read that it’s still missed it did my heart good. We had the BEST help a person could ask for. They all became family. I miss them, and think of them often. Lots of good memories came from Annie’s. The customers seemed to enjoy being part of our family also. Thank you, Annie

  2. We lived in Royal Oak but any excuse that brought us to Brighton meant dinner at The Canopy. It was one of my kid sister’s favorite restaurants.

  3. I have heard stories from my dad about The Canopy….People would drive from all over to eat there. Lots of sports people and celebrities. Then my dad and his friends would be playing cards sitting on the steps waiting for a table.

  4. Lucky’s? LUCKY’S???

    I suppose it was a great place to go if you ever wondered what it would be like to be invisible, but while the food was…um…existent, the service was non-.

    One Goat Burger was better than any meal that ever slithered out of their kitchen. Faint praise indeed.

  5. I grew up in the Canopy kitchen (so did my daughter) as my mom worked there for years. I do miss that and also the Partridge Inn where i had my first job. Can’t find a good soda these days….

  6. Was the Pinckney Inn housed in the old general store? I loved the general store. Unfortunately it was force to close to the opening of a new supermarket on the edge of town. I haven’t been back to Pinckney since the mid 1980’s

    • Yep, that’s where it was. There’s a great dinner-theater place there now called the Dio.

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