For Week 3 of our Restaurant Month coverage, we’re bringing you a selection of options from the north side of Berrien County, with tasty blend ranging from restaurants that have only recently entered the local culinary scene to long-treasured favorites. From elevated counter fare to seafood and steaks, brunch to after-dinner beverages – we’ve got your dining needs covered:
Anemel: Opened in Benton Harbor’s Arts District last year, Anemel features super-fresh ingredients and the kind of innovative flavors you’d expect from chef/owner James Gailbraith – but with the casual vibe of a counter-service taco stand. The restaurant specializes in tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and tacos, but the dishes are inspired by a variety of international cuisines, as evidenced by menu items like Nashville Hot Chicken Milanesa with aji amarancho, avocado and pickled red onions, Tuna Tostadas with chipotle mayo, tobacco onions, and avocado, Lamb Shawarma with tabbouleh, harissa tomatoes, and charred tzatziki, and Potato Pastor Taco with tepache salsa, guajillo, and shoestring potatoes. You’ll also find a cocktail menu and a Saturday brunch.
The Brick House: Declaring itself the place for “Good Mood Food,” The Brick House is a relative newcomer to the Benton Harbor Arts District, featuring thoughtful pub fare in a classic brick building that’s housed numerous well-known restaurants in the past. The menu features standbys like The Brick House’s signature Smash Burger with American cheese, pickles, onion and brick sauce on a brioche bun, as well as more whimsical options like the Atomic Punk sandwich – ham, brie, seasonal apples and spinach with honey mustard, served warm on sourdough bread – or the Eruption, roast beef with crumbled bleu cheese, pickled red onions, greens, and creamy horseradish sauce, served cold on a ciabatta roll. Even the kids’ menu has a clever spin, featuring the “I Don’t Know”, (chicken tenders), “I Don’t Want That,” (grilled cheese) and “I’m Not Hungry” (single smash burger.)
The Blackbird Waterhouse: This “rustic scratch kitchen” serves up fresh, simple, made-from-scratch food in unexpected combinations, including meats butchered and smoked in-house and hand-cut fries. The menu features plenty of gluten-free options as well. Try the Pulled BBQ Sandwich with brisket or pork and your choice of Guava BBQ, Asian BBQ, or Spicy Carolina BBQ sauce; the gluten-free Pork Filet – bacon-wrapped, with white wine mustard cream sauce, crispy red potato, rosemary oil and a seasonal vegetable; or the Shrimp and Sausage Fettucine, also gluten-free with Carrot Cream Sauce, parmesan cheese, parsley, carrot, and parmesan crisp.
221 Main and The Terrace: This beloved downtown St. Joseph establishment is really two restaurants in one. With a shared menu offering a variety of options from steaks and seafood to salads and sandwiches, 221Main maintains a cozy, comfortable pub ambiance while its upstairs sister restaurant, The Terrace, offers an airy, adults-only vibe with patio seating during the warmer months (it’s a great place to catch the sunset!) 221 Main and The Terrace are known for their cocktails, with an enormous whiskey selection boasting over 320 varieties from all over the world, as well as favorite dishes like Slow-Roasted Half Chicken with coffee & brown sugar rub, German fingerling potatoes and seasonal veg au jus, the Burrata salad with fresh basil, tomato, brioche croutons, red onion, lemon vinaigrette and balsamic drizzle, and Brussels Sprouts with bacon and honey. And, of course, a selection of mouthwatering steaks, cooked perfectly to order and offered with accoutrement like zip sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and lobster tail.
Bistro on the Boulevard. Housed in the Boulevard Inn overlooking the bluff downtown St. Joe, this restaurant has long been a local staple yet always keeps things fresh. With a menu featuring upscale American cuisine crafted with locally-grown ingredients, plus a full bar and the largest wine menu in the area, Bistro is the perfect spot for a special dinner or a cocktail in the cozy lounge. Savor dishes like the Halibut, with chili-honey glaze, Israeli couscous, sauteed spinach and charred lime beurre blanc, the Bistro Veggie Bowl with roasted sower’s purse winter squash melange, whipped goat cheese, dates, spiced pecans, hot honey drizzle, parmesan and pomegranate, the Strozapretti Pasta with asparagus, spring peas, rock shrimp, cremini mushrooms, boursin and marsala cream, or the Chicken Cobb Salad with slab bacon, avocado, jammy eggs, cherry tomato, frisee, and mustard vinaigrette – a personal favorite of mine.