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Matey’s Bar & Restaurant

June 25, 2018

  • 110 Franklin Street
  • Michigan City, IN 46360
  • (219) 872-9471
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s rare my mom has weekends off.  She’s a server at a couple of different restaurants near where I grew up in Illinois.  A few months ago she was kind of forced in to it full time.  The company she did customer service for sold to a new company and she and the new company didn’t always see eye-to-eye.  She only kept that job for the insurance until she was shown the door.  She really enjoyed her weekend gig as a waitress but there was no way to make it full time.  Now that she’s working at two restaurants as her primary source of income, she’s hesitant to give up her Friday and Saturday nights.

The restaurant she does those weekend nights at is closed for a little bit for renovation.  She took advantage of the time off and took a trip to Vegas with her sister.  When she got home, she asked if we wanted to meet for lunch halfway.  We had nothing else planned for Saturday so we said yes and headed towards Michigan City.

I’ve never had great luck finding places to eat in Michigan City that weren’t chain restaurants.  We were just in Chicago last weekend and on our way back to Michigan, I noticed a billboard for a place near the Outlet Mall we were eventually going to end up at.  I looked it up and saw they had a decent menu so I picked that as our meeting spot for this meet-up lunch.

Matey’s Bar & Restaurant is a three-story indoor/outdoor nautical themed restaurant on Franklin Street just before the Trail Creek Bridge near Lake Michigan.  The restaurant is hard to miss when you turn off Pine Street.  It’s a large blue and yellow building with several outdoor deck areas.  

There’s a large parking lot if you turn off of Franklin Street and go under the overhang.  Right from the get-go, Matey’s seemed like a place that has a lot of young people on Friday and Saturday nights drinking a lot of alcohol.

There are three different dining areas but only one of them is open to family’s.  The sports bar and the “Chart Room” (which wasn’t open yet) seem to be 21+ only.  There’s a sign painted on to a stair case accessible from the parking lot showing families were they can enter.

We made it up the first flight of stairs to come to a landing with a sign that said 21+ only.  This is the first deck area and the part that you drive under when you enter the building.  There are a lot of weather proof chairs and tables lined up in rows with a bar in the middle.  This area was also serving lunch but only to those people without kids.

We had to go up to the Crow’s Nest.  There was a door next to the bathroom that led us up to the top deck of the restaurant.

The Crow’s Nest sits on the very top of the building.  The staircase is right in the middle so it divides the dining space in to two.  We were lucky enough that on one side was a table for six open.  If that hadn’t been open, I’m not sure what we would have done.  There was only about four tables total in the Crow’s Nest and some seating along a bar that wrapped around the entire space.

It was a pretty nice day out so sitting up top wasn’t bad.  There is a blue tarp that covered the dining space to keep the sun out on hot days.  There was also several speakers blaring out a mix of pop music and classic rock all around us.  The cool thing about this space is the view out towards Lake Michigan.  There isn’t a clear shot of the lake but the creek is nearby and the bay is just off in the distance.

My parents were a few minutes behind us so J and I started with drinks.  They didn’t have a great beer list.  It was mostly cheap domestics.  They did have Two-Hearted but I passed on that and did a Yuengling instead.  It was served in a pint can.  I wasn’t offered a glass, but I really don’t need it for a cheap lager.

J got a frozen margarita.  The drinks are all served in plastic cups since we’re outside glass could easily be used as a weapon to rain down on unsuspecting patrons below.

When my parents got there, the waitress came to get their drink orders.  They have Coke products so my dad got a Sprite and my mom a Diet.  We got lemonade for the kids.

It took a while for the waitress to come back with drinks once we were ready to order.  The menu, which doesn’t appear to be online, was pretty simple.  Sandwiches, shareables, salads, and wraps.  There was a little bit of a focus on seafood but there was enough that wasn’t that we were all able to find something.

We started with an order of Fried Pickles for the table.  I don’t typically like fried pickles, but after hearing everyone else talk about how good they were, I picked on up.  The pickles are whole spears, not chips, and they’re covered in a bread crumb coating with a little bit of a kick.  My mom was most impressed with how the breading stayed on it.  The pickled didn’t come out of the breading on the first bite.  It was also a pretty thin breading so you got the crunch of the bread crumbs but the vineagry sweetness of the pickle.

I ordered the Famous Matey’s Burger.  This simple burger is a 1/2lb patty with American cheese.  It comes with the typical lettuce, tomato, pickles onion, and mayo.  I left all the extras off.  The burger had a great char-grilled outside and soft, pink interior.  The bun was toasted around the edges to add a little bit of a crunch to the first few bites.  The sandwich was simple and delicious.  It was nothing out of the ordinary but excelled at being what it was.

J and L ordered the Chicken Tender basket.  L got the smaller kid’s version while J’s was much bigger.  The chicken strips were big, juicy pieces of white chicken with a thin breading.  It didn’t have a home made taste to it, but it was better than the typical food service chicken strips.

B did his own thing and ordered the Grilled Cheese off the Li’l Mates menu.

The grilled cheese is, again, simple, but tasty.  The sandwich is toasted white bread with American cheese sandwiched between it.  B took to this pretty well and had one half eaten before the rest of us even got settled with our food.

My mom ordered a Buffalo Chicken Wrap.  This one isn’t on the Sports Bar Menu so I’m going from memory but it was a large flour tortilla with buffalo chicken, lettuce, and ranch.  My mom isn’t a huge heat person but she asked them to go light on the sauce and they did.  As we were walking out, she said it had a great flavor to it.  She likes a really mild Buffalo chicken and this seemed to do it for her.

My dad shocked the hell out of me and ordered the breaded shrimp sandwich.  I’ve never seen him do that before, but it turned out he really liked it.

As you should have notice, we all upgraded to fries with our meals except my mom who stuck with chips.  Those chips were just a bag of Lay’s that she stuck in her purse and brought home for later.  The upgrade to fries was a $1.50 which is normally worth it, but these fries, all five plates, were so cold they were almost inedible.  I’m not normally one to complain about cold fries but I don’t think I’ve ever been served fries this cold at a sit down restaurant.  It was bad, but it was also the only thing anyone had complaints about as far as the food goes.

The service was also pretty so-so.  Our waitress was very pleasant and seemed to care about us, but, to me, it seemed like it took a long time to get our food.  Everyone else was distracted with the kids so no one seemed to mind.  It gave Grandma and Papa some more time with B and L.  When we did get our food, they forgot ranch for L’s chicken and the cocktail sauce for my dad.  We had to ask twice to get it so the two of them could eat.

Our bill was close to $80 which is about what I was expecting.

Matey’s was an interesting experience.  On the one hand, I feel like families aren’t really welcome, but on the other, they do have a kid’s menu, high chairs, and put the families were the kid’s would want to be, on the top deck.  There’s not a lot of room up there though so on a busy afternoon, you might not be able to get a table.  I get wanting to be 21+ at nights, but it seemed odd during the day.  Other than the fries, we all enjoyed our meals and the rooftop, lakeside dining was a nice change of pace from the usual.  I was actually expecting my family to cross this one off the list for places to meet, but parents really liked it, so it stays on.  I’m willing to give it another go just because it is a cool place and we did have a really enjoyable, relaxing meal looking out over Lake Michigan.

Matey's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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