New axe-throwing venue, bar, and restaurant opens in downtown Port Huron

One of the newest businesses making its debut in downtown Port Huron, Bootleggers Axe Co. offers a great opportunity for food and fun in the Blue Water Area.

Located on Quay Street along the Black River’s waterfront, the restaurant, bar, and axe-throwing venue opened its doors on May 22 and is owned by a family of entrepreneurs with a passion for traveling and good food.

Gene Harrison, who is originally from Port Huron, co-owns Bootleggers with his wife, Karee, and his son, Robert. He and his son, who currently resides in Kalamazoo, have owned Wings Etc. and Black & Blue Brewery for the past five years, but have been in the restaurant business for about eight years since opening their first Wings Etc. in Sturges, Michigan.

Bootleggers Axe Co. is located at 402 Quay St. in Port Huron, Michigan.

“We chose to open this location due to open availability of the building space and the need to bring something different to the area,” says Robert Harrison. “Every time we open one of these venues, it's really cool to watch people go from having no idea of what’s going on, to it becoming a fully functional concept.”

Robert Harrison says they acquired the property around 2019 and came up with a concept that would blend their interests.

“I had been toying with the idea of world fusion for a while and axe throwing is my dad’s passion,” says Robert Harrison. “So we just kind of mashed them together.”

Bootleggers has eight axe-throwing lanes available for patrons to test their skills and the owners say they plan to introduce axe-throwing leagues soon. In addition to some recreation, the business is also home to a speakeasy and a full bar with 40 taps.

One of the establishment's most popular appetizers, the Bootleggers Fries are topped with brisket, melted cheese, barbecue sauce, and green onions.“We also have what I call the “liquor library,” says Robert Harrison. “If you want something it will pretty much be on our wall, but if it isn’t let us know and we’ll get it in for you.”

For those looking to grab a bite to eat, Bootleggers offers a unique menu featuring several dishes inspired by other cultures and regions such as the Bootleggers Butter Chicken or the Chicken Satay Salad.

“As a team, we kind of take recipes from places we’ve traveled to and refine them into something that you can produce in a restaurant kitchen in America,” says Robert Harrison. “Our goal isn’t to be truly authentic to a particular region. We even have a joke that we “bootleg” the recipes back to Port Huron to provide for our guests.”

For more information about hours, menu offerings, or axe-throwing rules and requirements, visit
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Read more articles by Harold Powell.

Harold Powell is the Community Correspondent for The Keel and owner of Phantom Pen Media offering multimedia services to individuals and organizations across the Blue Water Area. He is a current board member for the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce and the most recent Chamber Choice recipient at the Eddy Awards. Harold is an avid volunteer for the YMCA of the Blue Water Area as well as Bridge Builders Counseling & Mentoring and in his spare time, enjoys spending time with his son, writing and listening to music, playing video games, and not folding laundry.