Skip to content

Plank’s Tavern on the Water

March 11, 2021

  • 800 Whitwam Drive
  • St. Joseph, MI 49085
  • (269) 408-9108
  • Website
  • Menu

My daughter has been begging every weekend to find a place to practice her ice skating.  She really missed the year off and has dove in head first since we got her back in lessons last month.  

We’ve been able to find some place the last four weeks for her to practice despite most ice arenas still being closed to open skate.  We’ve hit outdoor rinks in South Haven and Plainwell when it was still cold enough for that.  We found Griff’s IceHouse West in Holland open by reservation a few weeks ago.  This past weekend, we found the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph.  

I asked J if she wanted to take the kids skating again before I said anything to L.  J said it’d be fun and told me to find a patio we could get reservations for.  

There aren’t a lot of outdoor dining options in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area and there are even fewer options for making reservations.  I found one place taking reservations via OpenTable so I got 11:30 AM reservations for lunch then signed us up for the 1:00 PM open skate.  

The reservations we made were for Plank’s Tavern on the Water in St. Joseph.  The restaurant, as the name implies, is on the St. Joseph River inside Harbor Shores Resort on Whitwam Drive just off M-63 on the St. Joseph side of the St. Joseph River. 


The restaurant is in the main lobby of the hotel. Once you get past the check-in counter, you’ll find the host stand on the edge of the restaurant that flows seamlessly from the hotel lobby.

There are a couple of dining rooms with tables spaced out throughout the space. J was a little worried this place was going to be too fancy for us based on the website and the menu but it really isn’t. It’s a hotel restaurant but it a little on the upscale side with the hardwood floors and cushioned chairs. The openness of the restaurant’s floor plan keeps this a little more casual.

Right behind the host stand is a pretty unique looking bar…because every hotel needs a hotel bar. They have a pretty solid list of local beers and some craft cocktails. It’s not a huge bar but plenty of space to unwind before heading up to your room for the night.

J gave the hostess our name and she started to take us to a table in the dining room. I had specifically reserved an outdoor table through OpenTable so we were confused. She said outdoor seating is first come first serve. OK….but there was literally no one outside. We asked if we could sit out there. She kind of looked at us like we were crazy but took us out to the patio and turned the heater above our table on for us.

It was a pretty nice day outside despite being early March. We knew it would be a little chilly but it really wasn’t that bad and we would have been ok without the heater. The heater did make the kids a little more comfortable though and both kids had a lot of questions about the river and piles of gravel from Dock 63 across the way.

Sunday is brunch day at Plank’s Tavern so J and I both ordered drinks because drinks are required for brunch. I ordered a pint of Plank’s Dank Dockside IPA brewed exclusively for Plank’s Tavern by nearby Silver Harbor Brewing. The beer was easy drinking despite the dankness. I had to hold myself back so I’d have something drink when my meal came.

J was turned on to mule’s last summer and has been a really big fan ever since. She picked the Gypsy Mule. This drink is Gypsy vodka from Petoskey, Gosling’s ginger beer, lime juice, dried ginger, and lime. All I got from her was “mmmmmmmmm”……so yeah, she liked it.

The brunch menu looked fancy at first glance but it was actually pretty simply delicious. I had about four things I wanted to try but went with the Plank’s Benedict. I love a good Benedict and this was a good Benedict. It starts with English muffins topped with poached eggs and thick cut ham then covered in a thick, house made hollandaise. Every layer of this dish was delicious. The thick sauce covered every part components and it was just delicious. The plate came with hash browns which had a nice char on the top layer but were pretty soft once you got under that. They were still good and a nice compliment to the meal.

J’s order was the classic breakfast. She got two scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, and a jam. The classic breakfast is called the classic breakfast because it’s a breakfast made of breakfast classics. It’s simple but every piece of it was simply delicious.

There is a kids menu with the typical grilled cheese, mac and cheese, etc. but both kids wanted breakfast. There was nothing really on the menu that would be worth it for them but there are “side add-ons.” The kids like their breakfast simple but they really like their breakfast.

B asked for pancakes and bacon. The bacon was perfectly cooked for our family’s taste. It was crispy but not burnt. The plate came with two very large pancakes. I ripped them in to little pieces because B would rather use his hands than a fork. There was a big jar of syrup that was brought out with it so of course he asked for it. I poured some syrup into the bowl the butter came in so he could dip his pancakes.

We kept asking L if she wanted pancakes but she kept saying no. She just wanted bacon and toast….but once B got the pancakes, guess what? She wanted pancakes. It was fine because B got a lot of pancakes. Between the two of them they ate everything on both the plates. L always wants more bacon and she always tries to negotiate with someone at the table for another piece (or two).

Our bill for brunch was right around $65.

Plank’s Tavern on the Water turned out to be a great spot for us to start our day in St. Joseph. The food was fantastic and it came out quickly. I made sure to tip the waitress a little more than I usually do because she was having to come outside just for us but that’s where we’re at in this whole dining out thing. Inside restaurants still make us uncomfortable but we’re getting back in to outdoor dining. I’m sure L would love to keep finding place to skate paired with delicious food and as long as she wants to keep skating in to the spring, I have a feeling we’ll keep doing this.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2021 1:52 pm

    Sitting outside would have been lovely.

  2. February 28, 2022 6:42 pm

    I am glad you found a place that does reservations too. I would like to go to a tavern somewhere. And a reservation would ensure that I get to go to one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: