By Tai Alexander
It’s summer and that means grilling season in the Great Lakes State. With an increased interest in al fresco dining, there are a handful of restaurants opening up their outdoor spaces to accommodate the flavors and savors of the grill.
Celebrating its one-year anniversary on June 1, Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company in downtown Charlevoix offers up a unique blend of craft beer and grilled pub fare on its patio overlooking Round Lake, just south of the town’s famous lift bridge. The sister property to the Bridge Street Tap Room next door, the brewery is one of nearly 250 that operate around the state—supporting Michigan’s claim as “The Great Beer State.”
With a dedication to local, both the brewery and the tap room look to Michigan-based producers for both the food and beverages on their menus. On the patio, you’ll find Michigan angus burgers, hot dogs and brats from nearby Plaths, bar-b-cue chicken and skewered veggies, paired with the likes of Up North Pale Ale, Michigan Beach Blonde or Pine River Porter—year-round brews on the 8-tap system.
If the food, beer and views, aren’t enough LCBC (as it is referred to by the locals) also offers live entertainment on the deck on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer and into the early fall season.
As one of Michigan’s longest-running, family-owned and operated businesses, Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub in downtown Marshall is always looking for ways to keep things fresh and exciting. Like adding a grill to their outdoor patio, where weekly specials are served up on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The 700-square-foot patio outside of Winston’s Pub features a generous grilling space, along with 34 seats for guests, stretching out along Eagle Street. From late spring through early fall, weather permitting, Executive Sous Chef Tim “TG” Gibbs serves up mouth-watering items such as barbecue pork cutlet with sweet potatoes and corn on the cob, baby back ribs with baked beans and sweet corn, and barbecue chicken with roasted potatoes and asparagus.
“Our grill nights have become very popular with both our regulars and our new visitors,” says third-generation owner Hans Schuler. “Over the past few years, we’ve made improvements to the patio itself, as well as increasing the frequency with which we fire up the grill to accommodate increased requests from our guests.”
Taking a different twist, you actually become the grillmaster at The Grill House n Allegan—an historic 1836 complex that serves up one of the most unique and flavorful dining opportunities in the state.
Upon arrival, guests select their favorite meat—choosing from six different cuts of steak, shrimp, tuna, chicken or kabobs—before heading to the 30-person indoor grill for a fired-up, hands-on experience like no other. Sides such as house salad, potato, sautéed onions, signature baked beans and Texas toast round out the meal.
The Grill House features an indoor dining room, lower-level bar and outdoor courtyard offering a variety of spaces for a romantic dinner, family gathering or group outing. The Silo, a new structure built on the site of the farm’s former barn, is now one of the area’s most popular banquet and wedding spaces.
Located in the former Hubbard House, a boarding home for area lumberjacks, the 7,000-square-foot farmhouse was the area’s first local public lodging and watering hole. Legend has it that in 1847, a bar-room knife fight lead to the death of one of the sawmill workers and his body was buried on the property in an unmarked grave. Don’t be surprised if Jack, the spirit of that man, makes his presence known to you during your visit. He’s known to move chairs, dim the lights, open or close doors and on rare occasions, a single shot of whiskey—Jack’s drink of choice—mysteriously appears on the lower level bar.
Reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of Michigan BLUE Magazine.