Nine unique settings to celebrate summertime meals

Waterfront, rooftop, garden, or farm—New Buffalo and the surrounding communities enjoy a fantastic collection of destinations for al fresco meals. Among the many worthy restaurant patios and decks, we feature nine uniquely sited to celebrate the Lake Michigan shore and beachtown culture.

Rose and bruschetta on a metal table with New Buffalo Harbor in the background at Terrace Room.

Terrace Room

A natural choice for date night, Terrace Room features an elegant waterfront patio on New Buffalo Harbor. Relaxed and just a little upscale, expect unrushed, graceful service and a farm-driven, rustic Italian menu that invites lingering over courses. Just want a drink? Terrace Room has a reputation for generous, well-crafted cocktails. Order up and enjoy the view from an Adirondack on the harborfront lawn.

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Four young women having dinner with New Buffalo Harbor in the background at Bentwood Tavern, in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Bentwood Tavern

Our second waterfront venue places you at the west end of New Buffalo Harbor at the heart of the summer marina scene. You’ll never for a minute forget you’re on vacation here as boats glide in and out of slips and folks roll in sandy and suntanned from the beach. Appropriately, seafood features are plenty, with a lobster roll that never disappoints. Our number one choice for brunch, we love a post-meal stroll along the marina boardwalk.

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A view of blue and white umbrellas on The Stray Dog rooftop in New Buffalo, Michigan.

The Stray Dog

New Buffalo’s iconic bar & grill also happens to have a killer rooftop reserved for the drinking-age crowd. With a breezy beachtown look and Lake Michigan views, Stray Dog’s rooftop has an irresistible Midwest meets SoCal atmosphere ideal for beach day post-game. The menu is a consistent crowd-pleaser, with burgers, sandwiches, tacos, salads, and plenty of drink-friendly shareables.

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A view of the steeple and a brewery sign at Beer Church in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Beer Church Brewing

You’re unlikely to miss Beer Church as you enter town, with two levels of colorful outdoor seating astride a stately white Civil War-era church. The food game focuses on wood-fired pizza Napoletana with flavor profiles as creative and confident as the atmosphere. Sports fans, this is your place! Multiple outdoor screens ensure you won’t miss a play. And like The Stray Dog, the upper deck is reserved for folks 21 and over.

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Lush foliage, umbrellas, and lanterns in the garden at Brewster's Italian Cafe in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Brewster’s Italian Cafe

Brewster’s is a beloved local mainstay for Italian comfort. Almost like entering another place and time, the outdoor experience is akin to an Old World European garden, lush with foliage and blooming annuals, stone, stucco, and the gentle sound of fountains. Designed on a grid of semi-private niches, the atmosphere is mellow and unassuming. You’ll never know you’re in the center of town on Brewster’s remarkable patio.

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Two couples on a putting green with a rustic wood fence and open farm fields in the background in Three Oaks, Michigan.


A true one-of-a-kind view behind Journeyman’s original Still Room, Staymaker’s outdoor deck faces a stunning 30,000 square-foot putting green modeled after Scotland’s famed Himalayas Putting Course. Beyond that? Miles of open agricultural space. Always kid-friendly, play a round on the fun and challenging course before settling in for award-winning whiskey and thoughtful gastropub fare.

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A brick building with large arched windows with modern dining furniture in the foreground at Susan's in Sawyer, Michigan.


Susan’s is another date-night favorite, a super-pleasing juxtaposition of vintage architecture, fresh midcentury design, and small-town charm. The patio is spacious and open, blessedly shady on hot summer evenings and beautifully landscaped to enhance rather than obscure its connection to tiny downtown Sawyer. Explore an always delicious tasting menu with an artful take on casual fine dining for the lakeshore.

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An exterior view of River Saint Joe's tasting room with picnic tables and farm fields in the background in Buchanan, Michigan.

River Saint Joe

This lovely brewery places you among the fields of Flatwater Farms, the organic farmstead that grows the hops in your glass and the produce on your plate. Simple and essential in the best way, dine at picnic tables around the architecturally-significant tasting room, or gathered around Adirondacks and firepits throughout the expansive, wide-open landscape. With pastoral views and room to move, this is an especially dreamy choice for families with little ones and well-behaved pets.

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A view of Tabor Hill Winery from the vineyard in Buchanan, Michigan.

Tabor Hill Winery

Tabor Hill is classic wine country. Among the oldest wineries in the appellation and the single full-service restaurant, outdoor dining here offers majestic views of Tabor Hill’s 60-acre vineyard estate. And a bonus for adventurers! Hike Mt. Tabor Trail, a 3.5-mile trek through forest and vineyard to sister estate, Round Barn. Trail drinks welcome!

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