Home to the Clinton River and sharing 32 miles
of shoreline with Lake St. Clair, Macomb County has no shortage of water destinations. Eateries are embracing the views. Here are four waterfront restaurants to check out this summer.
Crews Inn, Harrison Township
The Crews Inn motto is “Who cares about your liver when you’re partying on the river?” and patrons seem to embrace the maxim. Visitors can cruise into one of the eight boat wells at this casual dining spot, or the parking lot for land travelers.
Located off the Clinton River, Crews Inn boasts water views and a loaded outdoor tiki bar. Open year-round for lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menu
includes a variety of seafood appetizers and entrees, as well as soups, sandwiches, and salads.
“I think for the quality of food that we put out for the waterfront dining, we really step up the dining experience a little bit,” general manager Jeff Metry says. “We make all our own soups here, we make all our own salad dressings, we're not bringing any frozen foods in, and we're preparing all the sauces ourselves. You get good quality food, and you're getting one of the best views in the tri-county area.”
In addition to food with a view, Crews Inn also features live music — typically Sundays starting at 3 p.m. and Thursdays at 6 or 7 p.m. outside near the tiki bar.
“We’re a very friendly place,” Metry says. “You're going to come in here and you're going to get treated like you’re family — like you've been a regular coming here for 20 years.”
The Continental at Ford House. Photo supplied / John F. Martin.
The Continental at Ford House, Grosse Pointe Shores
Come for a meal here and leave with a bit of history. Established last year, this lakeside restaurant is located in the new visitor center of the Ford House
— the historic estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford.
The casual spot offers unique American cuisine and a full bar, and the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.
“There are some menu items that are inspired by the Ford family's history,” says Clare Pfeiffer, the director of communications and engagement for Ford House. “In particular, Eleanor Ford was a Hudson as well, so we have some menu items that are from the historic Hudson's department store restaurant, including popover rolls and a Maurice salad.”
In addition to patio dining, The Continental has the Speedster — a quick service counter named after one of Edsel Ford’s cars — where guests can order take out and opt to picnic on the estate grounds on the lawn or by the lake.
“It’s really a nice place to kind of get away because when you visit [the restaurant], you can also visit the 87-acre grounds and gardens at Ford House, so you can dine and then go for a stroll and walk along the lake or walk through the rose garden, look at the historic home — it really creates a whole destination,” Pfeiffer says.
Octopus' Beer Garden, Mount Clemens
Enjoying a craft beer in the Octopus’ Garden (in the shade) is proving popular this summer. Opened in 2019 by the Halaas family, this restaurant is a barge floating on the Clinton River. The Octopus’ Garden is seasonal, operating mid-May through mid-October.
“We're warm weather, outside dining only,” owner and chef Bob Halaas says. “There's covered seating, but there's no solid walls, so that's definitely what makes it different.”
The menu has Halaas-original recipes from sandwiches to fresh seafood to cocktails — casual American food with flair, Halaas calls it.
“As far as the menu offerings that we have, there's some unique stuff on there as well,” Halaas says. “I tried to go with big bold, kind of sassy, salty, savory, sweet flavors that pair well with craft beer, and then the beers, I put a lot of time and study into that as well to try to bring in not only the best that Michigan has to offer, but I tried to do some national stuff and even some world stuff that maybe people haven't had a chance to experience.”
And of course, a Beatles-inspired restaurant is not complete without music. The Octopus’ Garden has live entertainment booked through the end of the season for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, as well as a few weekend events on the calendar
Mike's on the Water. Photo Supplied / Donald Shulte.
Mike's on the Water, St. Clair Shores
Going into its twelfth season of business, Mike’s on the Water is full of character with its walls smothered in memorabilia. This cozy restaurant off of Lake St. Clair is known for its East Coast-inspired seafood, burgers, and signature lobster rolls.
The restaurant is open seasonally, from the end of March through October.
Owner Mike LeFevre turned the former bathhouse building into a restaurant in 2011 and has expanded it every year since its opening. What started out as a 150-seater restaurant grew to seat more than 350 people with a patio, family room, outside deck, and upstairs lookout.
“The restaurant also has about 26 boat wells to handle about up to 50 some feet,” LeFevre says. “They are marked in blue. That's part of the aura of the restaurant — come off the water, dock your boat, come in for a nice meal, cold beer and a burger, and off you go.”
The rooftop lookout opened as a bar with drinks only, and after multiple attempts to get food from the downstairs kitchen to the top deck, LeFevre decided to try something else.
“It made a lot of sense to put a kitchen up there, but I made it more quirky,” LeFevre says. “I did a food truck because I always wanted to do a food truck somewhere, somehow and I did it on top of the roof.”