March is a special month in Southwest Michigan, ushering in warmer temperatures and the first glimpse of Spring. March is also Restaurant Month in Berrien County, providing yet another reason (as if we needed one) to celebrate the many food establishments that call our region home.
How Restaurant Month Got Its Start In Berrien County
Restaurant Month in Berrien County began during the pandemic as a way to support local restaurants reeling from the shutdown. The Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber recognized the devastating impact of a 75-day state mandated closure of indoor dining in 2020 and the capacity restrictions that followed in early 2021, and wanted to draw community support to keep restaurants afloat during that difficult season.
In March of that year, Restaurant Month was launched and the Buy Local Berrien Facebook group was once again utilized as a proactive approach to highlight small businesses offering take-out options. Residents responded in an impressive show of force, ordering carry-out meals in an effort to keep these beloved restaurants in business, and sharing their experiences with friends online.
This connection of residents and restaurants continues, and this March we are reminded of the way we came together to support small business and encouraged to keep the momentum going.
Restaurant Month 2022
In celebration of Restaurant Month, throughout March we’ll feature restaurants in Berrien County and highlight a wide range of selections to cover every meal of the day from sunrise to sunset.
In our next article, we’ll suggest coffee joints to get your caffeine fix and breakfast favorites for the most important meal of the day. Then, we’ll provide a few quick-stop lunch spots perfect for a mid-day meeting or a meal-on-the-go. In the fourth installment of our series we’ll feature date-night-worthy dinner destinations and family-friendly establishments to keep both kids and the parents happy. Finally, we’ll highlight taprooms, wineries and breweries you can visit for a tasting or full dining experience.
Full Circle Cafe & Espresso Bar (Photo Credit: Anna Olson)
You’ll learn about places like the Full Circle Café and Espresso Bar in Stevensville, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, and sweets with a delectable menu and impressive plate presentation. If you’re hungry for breakfast, select from a variety of crustless quiche options and homemade bakery treats like maple pecan sticky buns or blueberry streusel coffee cake.
Lunch is covered too, with menu items like the Apple Pecan Salad and the Flying Pig Sandwich, or homemade soups like Creamy Tomato and Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower, gluten-free and available for take-home by the pint and quart. “Fresh and delicious” seem to be the best words to describe every option on the menu, and the folks at Full Circle pride themselves on customized orders to fit any customer’s palate and dietary needs.
For those looking for something new to try this month, look no further than the variety offered by The Market, a 9,000 square foot indoor year-round farmers market in St. Joe that boasts of eight different businesses including The Cheese Lady St. Joe, Dad’s Farm & Café, Infusco Coffee Roasters, St. Joe Wine Shoppe, St. Joe Community Taproom, The Tea Annex, and Wild Ginger Flowers and Gifts.
The fun atmosphere and wide selection of items makes this the perfect place to enjoy a Wednesday work lunch or a Saturday morning coffee date. Try out the High Steaks sandwich at Dad’s Farm & Café, a mouth-watering meal with thin sliced New York strip, caramelized onion, roasted red peppers, provolone, and garlic aioli. Or stop in on a Taco Tuesday and ask for the Birria tacos or the quesadilla meal.
You Can Help Southwest Michigan’s Restaurants Survive – And Thrive
Arthur Havlicek, President and CEO of The Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, is once again calling on Berrien County residents to use their dollars to support local restaurants this month. According to Havlicek, “Restaurants are still battling many pandemic-related challenges. This year, we can again prevent permanent closures by helping these businesses persevere until Southwest Michigan’s summer hospitality season returns.
Many restaurants take full advantage of the extra attention offered by Restaurant Month and provide a variety of specials to encourage residents to participate. It’s a great month to support local businesses and try a new spot, with so many establishments catering to locals and eager to win a return visit. Your local dollars help local restaurant owners continue to serve with a smile in Southwest Michigan. Keep a close eye on the Buy Local Berrien Facebook group for real-time reviews and restaurant specials!
About the Writer: Stacey Martin is a local author and freelance writer with a passion for promoting Southwest Michigan. She is the author of We Grow Kids Here and New Girl at Church, and the creator and host of “The Folks Back Home” podcast. She’s a former marketing executive and current Domestic Director of a house full of kids.Find more of her writing at staceymartinwrites.com.