New restaurant options offer expanded dining diversity in Marysville

Junction Buoy features a nautical theme.
A beachside snack shack. A sports bar and restaurant that serves upscale bar food. A take-out barbecue joint.

A couple of national chain, fast food classics.

That’s at least five new restaurants that have opened in Marysville, and all within less than a year’s time. And then there’s breakfast and lunch spot Ocean Breeze, which opened this week in the old Seros building.

On the veritable eve of 2020, the city of Marysville is on a roll when it comes to adding restaurants to its roster of already well-A&W opened earlier this year, bringing a fast food alternative into town.established and popular dining options.

Not one to rest on his laurels, City Manager Randy Fernandez is pleased with the city’s progress yet looking toward an even more robust future.

“We’re very fortunate with the recent run of new restaurants,” Fernandez says.

“Still, we need more. Going forward in the next five years, we’ll be looking to add more options, like a true steakhouse, so to speak.”

Fernandez is pro-active when it comes to recruiting restaurants to come to Marysville, putting in the requisite cold calls and giving tours of the different sites himself. And he’s not afraid to work regionally, believing that what’s good for St. Clair County is good for Marysville. If a restaurant isn’t coming to Marysville, he’d rather see it go to another community within the region than outside of it.

It’s no secret that Marysville is a community without a traditional downtown. And the neighboring cities that do have traditional downtowns, like Port Huron and Marine City, for instance, have received a lot of attention for their resurgent city centers.

Four Star Grille now offers an igloo and patio for outdoor dining.Still, that’s not to say that Marysville is lacking in advantages, as Fernandez is quick to point out.

“We’re a community of 10,000 on the St. Clair River that has just put $10 million into its waterfront. We’re a great place to live, work, and play,” he says.

“In fact, we have a new slogan. ‘A great place to visit, a better place to love.’ We’re going from livable to lovable. We have a great school system, great services, low crime, and no water meters in our residential homes.

“They call it Dream City for a reason.”

It’s no wonder then, at least in Fernandez’s eyes, why the city has seen so many new restaurants open its doors within these past several months.

There’s the Fieldhouse Sports Bar & Kitchen, which opened in December 2018. The family-owned business boasts bar food created in-house, 24 draft beer taps and many more cans and bottles, and a large selection of wine.

There’s Beach Bites snack shack, a seasonal sandwich and refreshment stand at Chrysler Beach. In addition to sandwiches and hot dogs and the like, Beach Bites even offers nightcrawlers for sale, a boon for local anglers.Junction Buoy is a Marysville staple.

The city used to operate the snack stand at Chrysler Beach but now, Fernandez says, “We privatized it this year. They can offer more things and an expanded menu.”

Seasoned Pitmasters has opened across from the high school. The carryout- and catering-only barbecue stand says that it uses ingredients sourced from local farmers markets and vendors with a menu that includes pulled pork sandwiches, beef brisket, and St. Louis-style ribs.

Golfers can snag a bite to eat while on the links by snagging a bite at Crossfire Grill, too.

Also located across the high school is the new Pizza Hut. While the old location closed a while ago, a local franchisee opened the new location earlier this year.

Another national chain, an A&W Restaurant, has opened on Gratiot Boulevard.

“There’s not another one in the area, so this is a real destination,” Fernandez says of the A&W.

Looking for a new pizza option, Pizza Hut moved back in to Marysville.All in all, that’s a lot of new restaurants for a community the size of Marysville.

But there’s a lot that’s been happening before this recent wave of new restaurants, too. The Marysville Golf Club got a liquor license a few years ago. Harsens Island Brewery opened a few years ago, too. There’s the Four Star Grille, which has been around for years, and, looking to stay fresh, recently opened a new patio for the summers and heated igloos for the winters. And no list is complete without Junction Buoy, the riverside restaurant that has occupied its building, in one form or another, since 1937.

“We don’t want to forget about the restaurants that have been here a long time,” Fernandez says.

“We’re fortunate for the new but we want people to patronize the ones that have been here, too.”

In looking to the future, Fernandez mentions that a couple area franchisees have been searching in Marysville for sites to expand their national brand restaurants. And, as he mentions above, Fernandez would like to see Marysville’s non-national Four Star Grille is one of many dining options in Marysville.brand restaurants continue to expand and diversify.

And then there’s the question of the Mighty Marysville, the site of the old Marysville DTE Power Plant on the St. Clair River.
The site could become home to a large mixed-use development, and soon.

It’s the type of development that could change the fortunes of a town like Marysville.

“You look at Port Huron, you look at Marine City, and they’re having these renaissances of new restaurants,” Fernandez says.

“We may not have a downtown like they do, but we do have 30-plus acres open on the St. Clair River.”