The Stray Dog
J and I pretty lucky. Our families get along and (we think) genuinely enjoy hanging out with each other.
That played to our advantage on Easter. We started out asking her parents to meet for lunch because it was her step-dad’s birthday. We then invited my parents and one of my aunts. A few days before Easter, my brother said his girls really wanted to see L, so we invited them to.
We planned to make a day out of it starting with lunch and ending at the beach.
Since L and I moved to Michigan five years ago, we have been meeting our parents in the Michigan City/New Buffalo area. One of our favorite restaurants has always been The Stray Dog in New Buffalo. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the building in July of 2012 and it took them about a year to rebuild.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so we asked everyone to be there by the time they opened at noon on Sunday. We had such a large group, we wanted to hit them right away, so we could get seated quickly and get the girls down to the beach.
To our surprise, there wasn’t much of a crowd when they opened. We were seated right away in the four seasons patio alongside another large group and our waitress came over right away to start taking drink orders.
As we were walking by the bar in the main dining area, I caught a quick glimpse of the taps and found one amazing one that I couldn’t pass up. I ordered a pint of Stone’s Enjoy by 4-20-14. I love the Enjoy By series and this was my first opportunity to have one from a keg. I’ve gotten the last few Enjoy By’s in the bottle, so I was really excited to try this one on the expiration date from a tap. I was not disappointed. It was citrus-y smooth and I could have drank a couple of them, but that would have been bad considering we were going to the beach afterwards.
My Mother-in-Law ordered a Bloody Mary while J ordered a Mojito and my father-in-law a Miller Lite bottle. The rest of the table went mostly with Diet Cokes except for my dad who ordered a Sprite.
As with most places, I didn’t have a hard time when it came to ordering lunch. I stayed close to my M.O. and ordered the Blue Harbor Burger. The 8 ounce burger comes topped with blue cheese and bacon. There’s also a side of skin-on fries. The burger had that perfect little pink spot in the middle and used blue cheese crumbles to give the sandwich that juicy, tangy taste I love. The bacon was very crispy and added a little bit of a crunch to the burger.
J ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. She was sitting on the other side of the table from me, so I didn’t really ask her what she thought of it. The sandwich looked to be larger pieces of pulled pork in a sweet BBQ sauce. It appeared she ate most of it which is usually a good sign. Her sandwich also came with fries.
For L, we ordered a cheese quesadilla. She couldn’t eat those slices fast enough. As soon as the waitress set it down, she was double fisting the whoel wheat flour tortilla filled with cheddar cheese. Her sandwich should have come with fries, but I believe J asked for fruit instead. We were always planning on letting L eat some fries, but if they are the first thing she sees, it will be the only thing she eats.
My brother and sister-in-law split a pizza while their two girls also split a kids size pizza. I’m not exactly sure which one they got as they were on the other end of the table and lunch conversation was mostly limited to trying to get the kids to eat their meals and sit still, but later he told me it was really good and he really liked the place. It’s the first time they had been there and it’s a meeting spot they would like to take advantage of in the future.
My dad and father-in-law both went for their own versions of a burger. Again, didn’t see what either of them ordered, but I know they both seemed happy with what they got.
My mother-in-law ordered the fish tacos. She was sitting right next to me, so I did get a chance to check those out. The plate comes with three flour tortillas and inside those tortillas is crispy fried talapia, lettuce, pico, colby jack cheese, and a cumin lime sauce. Again, she seemed to enjoy them but got distracted by her grand daughter and took the rest home for later.
Because they were sitting on the other end of the table, I actually have no clue what my mom and aunt ordered. I believe my mom got some kind of wrap and my aunt ordered a sandwich. Both expressed a liking of their meals later as we played on the beach.
The bill for the twelve us was a little over $150 and it was a very enjoyable Easter lunch. I know the new space is bigger than the old building, but it really has the same feel and same charm that the original building did. All four families have are fans of The Stray Dog and it’s such a great place for us to meet halfway for lunch.