We loved the mix of informal and fine dining we found when we visited Put-in-Bay, Ohio earlier this summer.
Here's a sampling of places we ate during our visit to the village:
The Upper Deck at the BoardwalkI've seen signs touting the Boardwalk as the Lobster Bisque Capital of Ohio many times while driving out the Marblehead Peninsula, and I finally got the chance to sample this ballyhooed bisque during my most recent visit to Put-in-Bay.
Anyone who knows me won't be surprised to hear that I ended up at the Boardwalk's Upper Deck on our first day in Put-in-Bay and wasted no time in ordering a lunch of Lobster Bisque in a bread bowl.
The bisque, thick with of big chunks of sweet lobster, was more than enough for a filling and tasty lunch.
The Upper Deck opened in 2007, is the newest in a larger family of restaurants at Put-in-Bay Harbor and village that includes Hooligan's, Clawdaddy's Bar, Rita's Cantina, The Keys, Marvin Gardens Bar and a retail store, The Lobster Trap.
It also has what has to be one of the best views of Put-in-Bay Harbor.
The temperatures during our Put-in-Bay stay hit record-breaking highs, so we stopped at the Upper Deck the next day for a break from the heat and a cold drink. I wasn't wild about the restaurant's ice tea the day before, so I asked the bartender if she could suggest something cold and non-alcoholic to drink. She suggested a frozen non-alcoholic raspberry margarita, which turned out to be perfect for the day and my mood.
Put-in-Bay Brewing CompanyWe visited the island's historical museum the next day and stopped by this nearby pub for an early dinner.
We liked this place because of its local history connections and its location near the historic Put-in-Bay Town Hall, Opera House and the museum.
The property belonged to the village's third mayor, Valentine Dollar, at the turn of the twentieth century before passing through several different owners. One set of owners, the Rittman family, built a grocery and meat store on the site, later adding a garage to the site to complete with a nearby gas station. Township officials purchased the garage as a fire station and fire trucks once sat in what is now the restaurant's open-air dining area with the garage door opening out into the street.
Carl and Chris Krueger purchased the property at auction in 1995, converting it into a brew pub with Scott Jackson in 1996.
The server's suggestion for me this day was the Put-in-Bay Brewing Company's own Watermelon Wheat.
I was a little leery of the idea, but found the unfiltered wheat brew to be fairly light and refreshing on a hot day. The beer was great with a fried perch sandwich.
The restaurant's other house brews include a regular Summer Brew wheat, Ole Cotton Top Irish Red, West Shore IPA, South Bass Oatmeal Stout, Pass Out Bourbon Stout (aged with Kentucky Bourbon for a "bold" finish), PIBBC Christmas Ale, Island Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Lager.
The Goat Soup and Whiskey TavernWe spotted The Goat when we stopped at the Chocolate Cafe that shares its building for ice tea.
The Goat is a short ride out of downtown Put-in-Bay on Catawba Avenue, and the fact that it had a parking lot that could accommodate more than just a few golf carts helped us decide to eat dinner there on our last nearly 100-degree day on the island.
It was a good decision!
The restaurant, once a Put-in-Bay winery, has a spacious indoor dining area and gazebo dining out back.
The Goat especially prides itself on its fresh-made-daily soups. We opted for a cup of the Romanian mushroom soup as an appetizer, a thick, mushroom-laden and uniquely paprika-spiced mushroom mixture.
The seafood macaroni and cheese had plenty of lobster, shrimp, scallop and crab baked into a rich homemade macaroni and cheese and topped with large pieces of lobster tail. It was nearly too beautiful to eat, but I managed to do so!
I had a nice cold Yuengling beer with my dinner (we can't get Yuengling at home in Michigan, but the company started distributing it in Ohio about a year ago, so it's often the beverage of choice for me at dinner).
Tim ordered a classic rib eye steak that came with home style mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked broccoli.
I like the restaurant's stress on locally sourcing food whenever possible and growing some of their own herbs and veggies at a garden in back of the restaurant.
The Goat also has a restaurant in Keystone, Colorado.
Chocolate CafeThe Cafe is a great place to stop for a quick snack, coffee or ice tea.
The store, operated by Indiana's South Bend Chocolate Company, is open at Put-in-Bay during the summer months.
Chocolate Cafe entrance, lower level of building it shares with The Goat
The company offers more than 100 different kind of chocolate treats, including the peanut butter crunch popcorn we bought to take home with us.
There is also a small display of vintage chocolate memorabilia at the store.
The South Bend Chocolate Company has 13 company-owned stores in northern Indiana, as well as 4 franchised operations in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Thanks to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Visitors Bureau and Miller Ferries for sponsoring my visit to Put-in-Bay, providing lodging, ferry transportation, help arranging visits to South Bass Island and Put-in-Bay attractions for my review, with no further compensation. I was free to express my own opinions about the stay and experiences, and the opinions expressed here are mine.
© Dominique King 2013 All rights reserved