Benton Harbor is a small town on the west side of Michigan. In recent years, the former manufacturing community has seen a revival and features a thriving art district full of must-try restaurants.
Here are our favorite Benton Harbor restaurants for barbecue, beer, a pick-me-up and small plates. Try them on your next road trip.
For more than 25 years, this Benton Harbor staple has been feeding the community with its signature smoked racks of ribs, brisket, chicken, and rib tips. The rib tips are Lark’s most popular menu item and come with the homemade smoky yet slightly sweet barbecue. 174 W. Main St., Benton Harbor; 269-926-9833.
More than 100 years ago, Palace Livery was a gathering place for locals and tourists alike, and that legacy lives on in craft brewery The Livery. Featuring 16 taps (two nitro) of its craft beer, The Livery also boasts a pet-friendly outdoor beer garden, locally sourced food with a focus on spent-grain pizza and shareable snacks such as the Loaded Hummus, and live entertainment in The Upper Livery. 190 Fifth St., Benton Harbor; 269-925-8760.
For a pick-me-up
Brian Maynard discovered good coffee in 1982, when he tried 100 percent Arabica for the first time. That inspired him to start a mail-order coffee company, which he ran for a few years before trading in his beans for a steady paycheck and benefits. After 27 years in the marketing field, it was time to get back to coffee. In 2018, he founded Forté Coffee, which sources single-origin coffee, offering classic espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos, macchiatos, and flat whites, complemented by housemade cookies, brownies, scones, and muffins. 138 Water St., Benton Harbor; 269-934-5181.
For small plates in a sophisticated atmosphere
With its big-city energy and globally inspired menu, Houndstooth packs a lot
of style into its space. Siblings Cheyenne and James Galbraith launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2018 to bring the restaurant to the vibrant Arts District of the city; the menu features locally driven small plates and entrees with a curated wine and beer list and unique cocktails. They set a goal of $40,000 and raised more than $50,000 in two months. Dishes like Skrei Cod with piquillo shito, plantain, and peanut maafe and Bay Scallop Aguachile with salsa verde typify the creative yet approachable fare. 132 Pipestone St., Benton Harbor; 269-252-5250.
This story is from the September 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.