Any summer destination has it’s hidden gems, and this summer we found the Harsens Island Schoolhouse Grille. We took a small road trip of about an hour north east of where we live. Just on the northern side of Lake St. Claire and quite literally a stone’s throw from Canada is Harsens Island. The mostly marshland and U shaped island is filled with summer homes, that requires a quick 10 minute car ferry right to get to. This small island is fun for a day trip, great for fishing and a good bite to eat.
The island itself has a handful of restaurants that cater to tourists, locals and boaters. On our recent trip we stopped for lunch at the Harsens Island Schoolhouse Grille, the former school of the island that closed in the early 2000’s and was turned into a restaurant a few years later. The inside of the school has been turned into a full service restaurant that features typical bar fare as well as a bit more upscale options. They have options that are marked for vegan diners as well as gluten free wraps for tacos. The meals were moderately priced, but once you’re on the island for the day your choices are a bit limited. We did find there was a bit of a waiting time when we got to the restuarant, since we had a larger group. But everyone was accomodated in the lower dining space. The older classrooms upstairs have been converted to additional dining spaces and the back patio is a bar space with a fire pit for outside dining and events.
While my choices for gluten free dining were a bit limited (I’m not a fan of fish tacos), once I mentioned my diet the wait staff was able to accomodate me without a problem. They conveyed the issues with the kitchen and they took extra care of my meal. Even the youngest member of our party was able to get grilled cheese without a hassle – on homemade bread and using cheddar cheese.
Although the smaller dining space inside can be a problem if you have a larger group, the ecclectic interior and variety of food make the Harsens Island Schoolhouse Grille is a great place to stop, grab a bite and take a break while you’re enjoying your time on the island.