The colorful paper place mats at Mike’s on the Water
are emblazoned with a bright red cartoon lobster,
and while that might seem a little out of synch with
the products of the local waters, it’s become
something of a symbol of this lively waterfront spot
that sprawls along the shoreline in the Michigan
Harbor Marina in St. Clair Shores.
Lobster rolls have become among the most popular
dishes here, the lemon-accented salad made with the
claws and knuckles of the crustacean, tucked into
grilled rolls and served with housemade chips. The
house has kept a tally of the number served each
summer since the dish was introduced four summers
ago, now more than 30,000. This year’s tally so far:
In keeping with its casual summertime setting,
nearly everything at Mike’s is served atop
red-and-white checked waxed paper in plastic
baskets. Exceptions include some of the fish
entrees, including the fresh lake perch in panko
breading, served with a tart coleslaw, French fries
and fresh lemon, another of the house specialties,
that arrive on conventional plates from the busy
kitchen well run by chef Maurice Webb.
It might seem as if you must order fish at Mike’s,
but there is much more on the bill of fare,
including an array of burgers made with Angus beef,
grilled bologna on an onion roll and even a New York
strip steak. It’s certainly not fancy fare, but it
is well prepared, reasonably priced and brought to
the tables efficiently by runners.
at Mike’s this summer is the rooftop bar, unveiled
last week to great anticipation, and it’s something
of a surprise. In contrast to the completely
informal setting both indoors and on the open decks
below, The Lookout is done up like the cabin of a
sleek cruiser, with teak-and holly boat flooring,
maritime clocks showing world time zones, and just
50 seats, 12 leather padded chairs at the bar
itself, all with a view of the lake.
In keeping with the theme, wines served there are
Boathouse Wines from Leelanau. The only food
available at The Lookout is a few snacks prepared on
the barbecue at the steps.
There’s little doubt about which St. Clair Shores
restaurant is most popular during the summer: Mike
LeFevre’s sprawling waterfront spot on the Nautical
Mile is pleasantly crowded most of the time, and
will be until it closes for the season on Oct. 30.
There’s something special about a seasonal place,
especially one run by an enthusiastic, hands-on
proprietor who is there most of the time, making
sure things are running smoothly. And the staff,
many of whom return every year, reflect his
hospitality. You may not get split-second service,
but the ensemble feeling here is appealing.
Mike’s on the Water
24530 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores
Call: (586) 872-2630
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-11
p.m. Fri.-Sat, noon-11 p.m., noon-9 p.m. Sun. Bar
later. Season ends on Oct. 30.
Prices: Appetizers $5.95-$10.95, some sharable,
burgers $5.75-$8.95, sandwiches $6.95-$12.25, soups
and salads $3.25-$13.95, entrees $10.95-$21.95, on
an all-day menu. Desserts $1.50-$4 from the ice
cream truck parked outside.
Credit cards: All major, Liquor: Full bar, Noise
level: Moderate to high, Parking: Large attached lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers. Note, however, that
the new rooftop bar, open every day except Mon.,
requires climbing a flight of stairs.