Tag Archives: Marine City Fish Company

Marine City: Sweetness OD

10 May

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If you haven’t been to Marine City in a while (or ever) you need to put it on your list of places to visit. This quaint city along the west bank of the St. Clair River has a newly vibrant downtown that includes restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, waterfront parks, a public beach and two live theatres. There’s even a car Ferry that will take you across the river to Sombra, Ontario Canada. Roughly 50 miles northeast of Detroit it’s perfect for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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Today we are seeing a matinée performance of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka at the River Bank Theatre, first we’re having lunch at the Marine City Fish Company. We arrive before the theatre rush; the eatery specializes in local fresh fish, house made pasta, house-smoked ribs and smoked salmon. We’ve selected the BLT: house-smoked brown sugar bacon, white cheddar, tomato, greens and  creole mayo on a grilled french roll. The bacon is crisp, the brown sugar and creole seasoning work well together, yum. The smoked salmon salad starts with a generous portion of baby greens, onion, tomato, cucumber, gourmet cheeses and of course, the house-smoked salmon; the cherry vinaigrette is a nice touch. When we’re finished I notice there isn’t an empty seat in the place. There’s still time before the show, let’s go get dessert.

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The Sweet Tooth moved into its new location earlier this year, the larger space allows the chocolates to be made on-site and includes a rentable room for parties. The man behind the chocolate is Marine City’s own Candy Man, Todd May. Todd has transformed the shop into a Wonka wonderland! Candy bars wear Wonka labels straight out of the movie, other Wonka candy varieties are nestled together on a table display. Whirly Pops and Unicorn Horn suckers are a rainbow of colors, big glass jars hold jaw breakers, suckers and gumballs. Big wooden cases display vintage candy signs and retro candy from the 50’s-70’s.

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On the left side of the shop glass cases display handmade chocolates from truffles, barks and clusters to turtles, toffee and pretzels dipped and sprinkled a half-dozen different ways; a dazzling array of bulk bins line the other wall. The Sweet Tooth also sells Michigan’s own Hudsonville Ice Cream, that’s what I’m having, if I can just decide which flavor….. In the meantime Kris decides on toffee and a chocolate dipped Nutter Butter, I order a scoop of Sleeping Bear Dunes Bear Hug in a cup, best decision I’ve made today. Deep chocolate ice cream, thick caramel swirl and chocolate covered cashews, delicious.

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When we’ve finished we walk down Water Street three doors to the River Bank Theatre. Originally the Marine Savings Bank, the brick and stone building was constructed in the early 1900’s. The structure was converted to a theatre seating 179 patrons with tiered and box seating; the vaults and architectural details remain, love that. Wonka has taken over the theatre, framed posters of lickable wallpaper hang in the lobby. Bank vaults are visible, fascinating to be able to look at them up close. Heading to the theatre entrance we’re handed programs and shown to our seats.

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We’re sitting in the last row, we have a wonderful overall view of the space; decorative plaster has been restored, fancy medallions and highly detailed moldings surround the interior. Two staff members from The Sweet Tooth hold old-fashioned cigarette-girl-type-boxes filled with Wonka bars on stage, patrons stand in line for Nestle Crunch, Reese’s and Cookies and Cream bars (wrapped in Wonka labels, of course) in hopes that they might be the lucky recipient of a ‘golden ticket’. Before the show starts winners raise their hand, they each receive a Sweet Tooth gift card.

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The lights dim and the show begins, Willy Wonka emerges from box seating, as he descends the staircase to the stage he sings Pure Imagination and our ride to the Wonka factory begins. The sets are colorful, creative and downright fun, all of our favorite golden ticket winners are here, audience members can’t help sing along to songs ingrained in our memories– The Candy Man, I’ve got a Golden Ticket, I Want It Now, etc. Oh, I can’t forget the Oompa Loompas, elementary-aged children dressed in white overalls, orange-faced, wearing green wigs, singing and dancing—adorable. As all good stories go, they all lived happily ever after. In the wise words of Willy Wonka “If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it.” Now get out there and have some fun! 

Marine City: Memories for Sale….

4 Apr

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Sometimes we all get a little stir crazy, you just want to get away, see something different. Maybe you’re short on time, you don’t have a whole weekend, only a Saturday. Let me introduce you to Marine City, this pint-sized town on the St. Clair River has more to offer than you might imagine; shops and restaurants, a beautiful historic City Hall building, a beach and an incredible water view. Today Kris was in the mood for a scenic drive, M-29 was just what he had in mind, bordering Anchor Bay and up along the St. Clair River it is both pretty and relaxing. Our plan is to do some antique shopping, we begin on Broadway, about a dozen different shops line the street, many of them purveyors of antiques; Back Porch, Old Times N Such,  and Girl Next Door to name a few. Each store seems to have its own special niche; one was almost all glassware and china, I had to be extra careful walking around in my winter coat with my purse hung over my shoulder. This lady has the loveliest cups and saucers I have ever seen, attractive patterns, bold colors and gold trim. She has depression glass in yellow, pink and green, even a souvenir plate from the old Ford Rotunda building, cool! We traversed both sides of the street, buildings are close together making it easy to go from one to the next. Some places are little antique malls, independent vendors each have their own booth adding variety to the selection. We see spiffy vintage radios and cameras, shiny black typewriters and early clock radios; we love the offbeat colors and streamlined styles.

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In another shop we see tin toys and rusty metal toy trucks, their wear a tell-tale sign of hours of play. We spy old railroad lanterns with red and blue glass, metal signs, bicycles and vintage instruments. One store has great kitchen ware from tables, stoves and toasters to Fiestaware, cookbooks and aprons. Antique stores are always an adventure, whether you buy something or not; the variety of items and time span covered is pretty amazing. We always see something we have never seen before, today it was a collection of ceramic fish liquor decanters; something that has to be seen to be appreciated. One of the larger places, the Vera Grace Emporium, has a marvelous array of antiques, shabby chic and new items; girls, you will love this place! A perfect blend of new and old items artfully arranged have me ooohing and aahhing at every display. New and vintage jewelry combined with yards of tulle and lace are frilly and attractive. Dark wood china cabinets are filled with delicate glassware, miniature white lights are draped around the pieces for a dazzling effect. An assortment of vintage mirrors, picture frames and upholstered chairs are eye-catching. Outdoor objects and garden pieces mingle side by side with hat boxes and shawls. This store deserves an A+ in eye-appeal and charm.

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At last hunger has distracted us from our shopping, we drive around the corner to Water Street and park in front of “The Original” Marine City Fish Company, where we will be having lunch. The restaurant sports large front windows, in the summer you will notice a steady stream of swimsuit clad pedestrians making their way to the beach. Inside, the theme, as you would expect, is fishing. Dozens of fish in a mixture of sizes, shapes and colors are mounted on the walls, funny sayings and fishing paraphernalia fill the wall space; there’s a nostalgic campy feel to the place. The menu offers much more than seafood; homemade pastas, house-smoked ribs and salmon, sandwiches and salads too, they even make their own beef tenderloin Jerky. We looked up from the menu to get a glance at a sandwich on its way to a table, no need to look any further, “we’ll take that!”  It didn’t take long for the food to arrive, a house salad, a side of crispy hand-cut fries and the sandwich; start with a fresh-baked Asiago roll, add a thick slice of brown sugar peppered bacon, a piece of Gouda cheese that has started to melt, top that with a chunk of fork-tender beef brisket drizzled with the house bbq sauce, and there you have it, one incredibly delicious sandwich. 

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There are more antique shops on this block, we stop in at the Water Street Antique Mall, as we enter I notice a variety a nautical pieces and decoys, an old bicycle and a bright orange Chrysler Sno Runner are displayed in the front window. Small rooms off-shoot from the main space, like items are grouped together. A gorgeous wood dining room set has caught the attention of a pair of shoppers. We finish looking around and head to the last shop a few doors down, it is almost closing time so we cannot linger for long. Many of the objects here are closer to mid-century, there’s a swanky bar cabinet complete with a glass ice bucket and matching glasses, a nifty art deco coffee serving set is mighty tempting. Glass ash trays and paper weights showcase fancy hotels and buildings from the early 20th century, so many interesting things to look at!

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No trip to Marine City is complete without visiting The Sweet Tooth. It is the weekend before Easter, the windows are filled with fanciful pastel-colored eggs, cute ducklings and spring flowers. Inside you will find the makings of an old-fashioned candy store; the left wall is lined with candy sold in bulk. Here you will find Mary Janes, Hershey Kisses, gumballs, black taffy, licorice and every type of ‘gummy’ or ‘sour’ candy you could want. Shelving units offer nostalgic candy from the 1900’s to the 1970’s, been looking for Zots, Pop Rocks, Razzles, Mallow Cups or a Chunky? They have those and more……At the back of the store a tasty array of ice cream flavors from Hudsonville await you. Served up in a dish or cone, it’s hard to resist flavors like Cake Batter, Tiger Traxx, Orange Pineapple and Sleeping Bear Dunes Bear Hug, and it’s all made right here in Michigan! If that’s not enough, owner Todd also sells his own handmade chocolates; from truffles to clusters, brownie pops and chocolate dipped Oreo’s to chocolate covered bacon and the best variety of barks you’ll ever see, his chocolates are divine. Sweet Tooth is whimsical, delightful and  impossible to leave without making a purchase; Kris selected a jalapeno and a peanut butter cayenne truffle, I went with Key lime and red velvet… and some Zagnut bars….and some Hot Tamales and….well, you get the picture, Yum! 

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