Anyone who’s been to South Haven knows it’s a special escape into serene small-town charm and Great Lakes marine life. It gets even better when you add our diversity of dining featuring a spate of plates that make for great Instagram pictures.
Here’s a look at some South Haven dining with dishes that tantalize your eyes before satisfying your craving.
Chomp Gourmet Hot Dogs
Seasonal stand for lunch and dinner / corner of Eagle and Kalamazoo
You might be dining in South Haven, but your mouth would never know it: This gourmet hot dog stand takes your taste buds on a cross-country trip. Chomp opened in 2017 to great fanfare among locals and visitors alike.
Two of Chomp's delicious dogs
The New York and the Detroit Coney are but two delicious dogs you can “chomp” on when you stop by. Just a few other varieties include the Chicago, the Mexican Street Corn Dog and Chomp classics such the BBQ Slaw and Reuben Dogs. You can also build your own hot dog piled high with your toppings of choice.
Facebook Review (Sarah C):
“Stopped here because we'd been swimming all day and we were craving chili dogs. These were the most amazing dogs ever. The guy working…was super cool to talk to and we were amazed by the magic he created with his gloved hands. Afterward, we drove 2.5 hours home and those dogs were all we were thinking about! It's been 2 weeks and we're driving back to those delicious gourmet dogs! 12 minutes until arrival!”
Frozen delights and beverage bar / 515 Williams St. Unit 4 (Old Harbor Village)
Tucked downstairs by the small red lighthouse building on the Black River harbor, this South Haven restaurant serves refreshing drinks and chilled treats, many of which you won’t often find in the contiguous states. Try beloved choices such as shaved ice, bubble tea, the Halo Halo and Japanese ice tea. You’ll also love their savory smoothies and soft-serve ice cream.
Hawaiian shaved ice at Captain Cravinz
Facebook Review (Daphne S):
“Delicious! I ate here twice in 4 hours – that is how much I loved it. The Coconut Snow Cream and the Taro Snow Cream are smooth and refreshing and if I lived a little closer I’d have the problem of wanting to eat them every day. Seriously.”
Dockside boathouse and grill (seasonal) / 278 Dyckman Ave. (next to the bridge)
Great food and drink and friendly people at a cozy South Haven restaurant on the water: Some think of Captain Lou’s as their happy place. Devotees of the dining even go by the same community name: Lousers!
You don’t need to visit often to discover why Lou’s was nominated for multiple Best of South Haven 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards including Best French Fries, Best Hamburger, Best Beer Selection and Best Outdoor Seating (with a scenic view of the marina and the drawbridge).
Perch piled high at Captain Lou's
Then of course there’s Captain Lou’s famous Perch Basket. Lightly battered, golden fried and described as “crazy good,” the fresh-catch Lake Michigan fish is served with crispy fries and tasty tartar sauce. Zesty Cajun sauce is great for dipping too. The perch is so popular that Lou’s sold more than 4.5 tons of it last summer alone!
Facebook Review (Anita H):
“I love being close to the water and being able to see all the different watercraft go by. We like our menu choices and beverages. Close to home for us and it's relaxing. I always have someone comment on my Captain Lou's hoody when I wear it Up North and say ‘I've been there or where is that place’"!
American steakhouse / 272 Broadway
Steak that sizzles on your plate, falls away when you slice it and melts in your mouth from the very first bite: Now you know what it’s like to fine-dine on Midwestern corn-fed beef picked strictly from a singular vendor.
Each cut of beef is wet-aged for at least 30 days and then hand-chosen and -cut before being seared at 1800°F. Sophie’s specialty broiler creates a textured, caramelized crust that seals in the juices for big bursts of flavor.
A generous pork chop seared to perfection at Sophie's
Whether you’re in the mood for filet mignon, top sirloin or a perfectly prepared pork chop, this South Haven restaurant is ready for your appetite when you’re ready to treat yourself.
Trip Advisor Review (Columbus, OH):
“ Our server was extremely personable and did an excellent job. Our table of 8 had a mix of fish, prime rib and steaks. I think everyone, including some that are pretty particular, enjoyed their meal. Steaks were done just as ordered. Wine list was great too!.”
About the Author
A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.