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The Strand Brewery & Grill

September 4, 2017

  • 93415 County Road 690
  • Dowagiac, MI 49047
  • (269) 424-7500
  • Website
  • Menu

J and I don’t typically get long holiday weekends off together.  One of usually ends up having to work the holiday, but this Labor Day, we actually did get to spend the whole weekend together.

We made the most of it.  On Saturday, we went to the Binder Park Zoo for the first time since the Lion exhibit opened.  We were disappointed at first because they lions appeared to not be out but we eventually found them sleeping at the back of the exhibit.

We did the zoo pretty early and B fell asleep as soon as we got in the car so we didn’t go to lunch while we were in Battle Creek.

When we got home, I asked J if she wanted to road trip for an early dinner.  The kids were being good and we haven’t really done that in a while, so she said yes.

About a month ago, some friends from Chicago vacationed at the Sister Lakes in Cass County.  They put pictures up from a restaurant in that area that looked fantastic that neither J or I had ever heard of.  Dowagiac isn’t too far of a drive from Kalamazoo, so we decided to see if this place was as our good as our friends made it look.

The Strand Brewery & Grill has only been open for a couple months in the unincorporated area of Keeler Township in Cass County known as Sister Lakes near Dowagiac.  The restaurant is new construction built on County Road 690 just across the street from Round Lake.  

The parking lot for the restaurant is behind the building which make total sense.  You don’t want to ruin that view of the lake (more in a minute).   The entrance along the side of the building brings you right in to the host stand.  There are dining rooms in either direction with one off to the right being a little quieter and more of a traditional dining room.

Off to the left is the bar area which has a much louder, more traditional sports pub type feel to it.  The bar is near the back of the space with TV’s hanging throughout.  On this Saturday afternoon, all of them were filled with college football and there was the occasional cheer as Notre Dame ran up the score.

We actually bypassed this area and went straight for the patio.  It was such a gorgeous night that sitting outside was a no-brainer.  The hostess took us through the bar area and out through the garage type doors that open up from the bar to the patio to a table on the large patio that looks out over Round Lake.

The restaurant is not right on the water, but it does have a great view if you ignore the traffic going by on the road.  It’s easy to sit and relax watching the water that sort of fades off into the horizon before giving way to beautiful sunsets during the summer months.

There is a large fenced in yard surrounding the patio that has space for cornhole games and even a private area with more picnic tables.  This was great for us because we could let the kids run around a little bit with other kids whose parents had dragged them out to dinner while we were waiting for food.

The first thing I did was grab the beer list only to be pretty disappointed.  While they have “brewery” in their name, they don’t have a license to operate a brewery yet….so they don’t have any of their own beers.  They do have a couple of collaborations with other local breweries…but they were out of those.  The beer list was alright, but nothing really special.

I ended up ordering a Raspberry IPA from Perrin Brewing just because it was the only thing that really sounded good to me after the disappointment of not having their own beer.

While I was a little bummed with drink selection, J was not.  She found a Red Sangria from Round Barn right away and made her choice quickly.  Our waitress told her to be careful with the drink because the 10% ABV sneaks up on you pretty quickly.

The menu (which isn’t available online yet for some reason) is on par with most breweries in the area.  It’s an ecclectic mix of upscale pub foods and unique spins on traditional bar food.

I ordered what I typically order, the Breakfast Burger although this one had a pretty unique and delicious twist.  It starts with a brioche roll and a perfectly pink and juicy burger patty that is topped with American cheese, bacon, a bacon  maple glaze, a sunny side up fried egg and a chili  hollandaise sauce.  That sauce is fantastic.  There’s just a little squirt of it on top of the egg, but you get such a kick of flavor from it.  I’ve eaten a lot of burgers that put fried eggs on top, but never one with a hollandaise sauce.  The sandwich is super messy and a challenge to eat, but a challenge that must be tackled.  I couldn’t put this burger down if I wanted to.  It was that good (and that messy).  The burger comes with chips, but I upgraded to fries.  They are crispy battered fries that come with a little cup of ketchup.  The cost of the upgrade is $2 which makes the meal $14 total.  It’s a little expensive, but totally worth every penny.

J ordered the Pulled Pork sandwich.  We could smell the smoke from the smoker when we parked so we knew ahead of time this was house smoke BBQ.  The sandwich is served on a Ciabatta roll with a house made sauce and house made slaw.  The sauce was a dark, rich sauce that wasn’t overly sweet but accented the smokiness of the pork.  The  menu calls the bun a “dutch crunch roll,” but whatever you want to call it, it soaked up a lot of the flavor and held up to the juicy, tender pork that was slathered in the thick sauce.  J also upgraded her side to the french fries.

We got both kids a grilled cheese off the kids menu.  They also had mac & cheese, but it was made with white cheddar and L typically doesn’t like anything that’s not Kraft.  The grilled cheese were pretty standard American cheese and golden brown toasted bread.  They also got fries with their sandwich.  Both kids took about three bites and were itching to get back up and run around.  I think we got both to eat at least half of their sandwiches before we let them go chase some bigger kids playing bags.  J and I finished off most of the sandwiches but let the fries go back.  It was just too much food for the two of us.

Our bill for dinner was around $45 before tip.  The food was outstanding, but the beer list could use work.  They have the brewery set up and ready to go, so hopefully they will get their license to start brewing soon and that problem will solve itself.

The Strand Brewery & Grill is absolutely worth the drive from Kalamazoo or South Bend.  This is a place we never would have heard about if our Chicago area friends hadn’t vacationed there.  They have a great spot right across the street from Round Lake that provides incredible, relaxing views as you enjoy a cocktail on the patio alongside some high quality food that you’re more accustomed  to finding in a city.

The Strand Brewery & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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