Monday, June 27, 2016

Harbor Country Food

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Eating up SW Michigan

Summer is here! And that means lots of Midwest Living for me. I live for this shit. One of the better summertime trips from within Chicago is Michigan's Harbor Country. Hardly a secret as it's been taken over by us FIBs and FISH going on a couple decades. I always make it out this way at least once if not a few times each summer as I have peops with places in these parts. Today's five stops are spots I checked out last summer while lounging in the area. Cheers to a memorable summer.

Your trip begins at Michigan.org (Tim Allen voice)
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Whistle Stop Grocery

Union Pier, MI

Folks renting houses in these parts should take note on our first place up. It's a grocery store where local stuff can be obtained. It's also a sandwich shop and bakery. It's not all that big but the shelves are packed and the coolers are filled. It's where I go to grab a six pack of local brew to go with some baked goods for the house and anything else I might need such as marinades, wood, or juice.

Baked Treats for Sale 

Everything is good here but the best thing they got going are the sandwiches. I haven't tried but a couple though both were awesome with the BLT constantly being good. I mean this is the official sandwich of summer. Locally baked bread with locally cured bacon and some in-season tomatoes.

BLT Sandwich 
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Nani's Cafe & Beach Shop

Union Pier, MI

Nani's Cafe and Beach shop sits on the well traveled Red Arrow Highway. They advertise gourmet sausage and beach supplies. Both of which are things I need. So I stopped in and bought some suntan lotion while getting some lunch last summer. The menu is pretty standard with hot dogs playing the key role. But they also have a tasty shrimp salad sandwich. Best thing about this is the bun itself which was as close to any of the many rolls I had in Maine. I just wish they did lobster rolls here because if they did so with minimal mayo and properly cooked meat they could be outstanding.

Shrimp Roll

I don't know if I'd call Hebrew National Hot Dogs gourmet but that's what they use here for the sausage. Nani's offers a handful of different hot dogs including a Chicago style. But the one that spoke to me was something I;d never seen before. The Egg Roll Dog puts warm pork, with cabbage & ginger slaw, and sweet & sour and Chinese mustard on top of a hot dog. A combo that's surprisingly tasty and a nice snack to have as an option should you be near their spot in Union Pier. They also make sandwiches and salads. If they use the same homemade rolls on the rest of the sandwiches I can see those being delicious as well. So check them out, I think kids will like it.

Egg Roll Hot Dog
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Red Arrow Roadhouse

Union Pier, MI

Passed by this place plenty of time over the years and finally tried it with some friends last summer. I have no shame in saying I enjoy the Gringo-Mex places like this put out however I just didn't think my green chile pork burrito from here was anything special. On top of this they have tourist prices and sometimes waits but this wasn't something I'd want to stand around for. Maybe other stuff is good?

Green Chile Burrito
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bread+bar

Quick stop for a drink at this trendy spot that sits on the harbor in Benton Harbor. It's in an area that was hit hard post factory jobs but the area is taking off again. And it's doing so with the addition of bars and restaurants. We stopped into here in-between lunch and dinner but they still had a transition menu with some small bites for those also seeking booze. We got a plate of well made tartines including a smoked whitefish that was fantastic. We agreed we'd be back when opportunity allowed.

Tartine's in Benton Harbor, MI
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Staymaker

Three Oaks, MI

Regular readers might remember a post from a couple years ago titled 'Eating Up Lake Michigan' in which Journeyman Distillery was featured. Near the end of last summer they opened up a restaurant next door and we stopped in not too long after opening. Beautiful space.

a peek inside 

The menu features shared plates, soups and salad, entrees and Detroit style Pizza. The latter of which is starting to have it's moment as it's been seen around NYC lately. That said it was a trend before NYC picked up on it. People are just reporting on it now. Staymaker makes a B-grade style in my book. It had potential for sure but the middle part in a couple pieces weren't as cooked as they should've been. Detroit style pizza is pan and comes in squares and should be very sturdy when picked up and not flop at all. So that was really my only complaint about this but considering we were there in the beginning I wouldn't be surprised if they fixed this. I'll be back as it's a great place to drink in the back on a nice summer day as the cocktails are pretty good too. See ya next time.

Detroit Style Pizza
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The Whistle Stop Grocery
15700 Red Arrow Hwy
Union Pier, MI 49129
(269) 405-9920

Nani's Cafe & Beach Shop
16117 Red Arrow Hwy
Union Pier, MI 49129
(269) 469-7000

Red Arrow Roadhouse
15710 Red Arrow Hwy
Union Pier, MI 49129
(269) 469-3939

bread+bar
645 Riverview Dr
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(269) 757-7219

Staymaker
109 Generations Dr
Three Oaks, MI 49128
(269) 820-2076

2 comments:

ypsi-slim said...

I think you mean "Eating Up SW Michigan"

The Lookbook said...

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