Tag Archives: bay city

Castaways – Bay City, MI


This Restaurant Impression post is purely selfish.

You see, when we go back to Bay City, Michigan, and back to Castaways {which is inevitable!}, I want to know what to order! I have no pictures of mouth-watering delights to share with you. So you are gonna have to go old school and picture them yourself, just like you are reading a book.

Still, that may be difficult. I don’t have a ton of notes. So this post will probably lack the descriptive words necessary to conjure up a visual in your imagination. I really need to remember to write down my thoughts on dining in a restaurant within hours of eating there, or at least the next day. {Note to self.}

On this visit to Castaways, I was in a burger kind of mood. I’m very rarely in such a mood; but when I am, the burger I order has to be a really good one. It has to be worth it. 

So how did I know that Castaways had good burgers?

I didn’t.

However, while walking from the bar to the tables where our group was sitting, I passed by a plate of cheesy bread being delivered to a table. It sold me. However, I did see a plate of cheesy bread delivered to a nearby table. It sold me. I’m not sure why I was in a let’s-eat-unhealthy-because-we-are-on-vacation-mood.

Oh yeah. I just ran 3+ miles that morning in 95+ weather and humidity so high that it sucked the air right out of my chest.

Now I didn’t know what to do…

Cheesy bread?


Decisions. Decisions. In the end, I don’t know how I did it, but I talked Rob into splitting both with me! I figured that if the burger wasn’t great, the cheesy bread just HAD to be!

The Cheese Bread came out first and was just as expected – globbed with melted golden brown cheese. Yes, it satisfied, but the order was huge and we knew we had to slow down for the next “course”. We tried to offer it up to others, but many people were waiting for their pizza to arrive – also popular at Castaways.

The burger we ordered was the Island Burger. It sounds exotic, like it might have pineapple on it or something. But it was really just your basic burger.


Island Burger

Topped with bacon, sautéed onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, mayo and both Swiss and American Cheese. – $6.95


But this burger was excellent! We ordered it medium rare as we always do and it was cooked to perfection. It was juicy and flavorful. Because I have neither pictures nor detailed notes, I can’t tell you ’bout the bun nor the fries. Just that we loved this burger. We were pleasantly surprised. When we go back to Bay City, when that burger mood strikes, this is where I’ll be getting one!

Rob ordered a mixed drink from their menu, but wasn’t too impressed. So he followed my lead and switched over to Cherry Wheat. I knew by now that we weren’t going to find Cherry Wheat on tap at home, so I had to take advantage!

The service here is more impressive than we generally give them credit. Castaways is our group’s go-to joint post golf-tournament. We usually have 20 or so people coming and going in our group at any given time. We usually set up one or two long tables together. People order at different times and some go in and out to play volleyball. And somehow the servers remember what you were drinking, who ordered what and which people get which bills. While I’m sure there are bound to be screw-ups of some sort at any establishment among this confusion, the staff just seems to always know what they are doing and doesn’t seem flustered. They make sure to keep the drinks flowing. You are never waiting for very long!

So, there you have it – my vague record of what we last ate at Castaways. Next year, I won’t be asking Rob, “Did I like the tuna melt here?” Instead, I will know exactly what to order.

Where do you like to go when you are in a burger mood?



Lucky’s – Bay City, MI


This Wine Wednesday, we are going back to Bay City, Michigan!

Remember when I noted that there is a winery in every state? Well, Michigan has several! When we were visiting friends in Bay City, we opted for a local wine when dining out. One of the most fun things about traveling is trying local cuisine and produce. When we were in Michigan last September, I picked up Michigan blueberries and peaches to swirl into my morning yogurt. This year, we picked up fresh black raspberries and honey from the Gladwin Farmer’s Market.

When dining out, we always like to try the local brew and vino, too.

We went to lunch with our friend Lisa and her daughter one lovely afternoon to Lucky’s. When I check out their website, I see that they call themselves a steak house. While I don’t remember that about it {I know, I know, it was only a month and a half ago}, I do remember that as far as Bay City goes, this place has more options than your basic local restaurants serving of burgers, fried green beans, wet burritos and pizza.

This long loaf of bread comes to the table in a bag and you can just rip off a chunk. There is some sort of garlicky seasoning on it, too. After everyone got a chunk, I took it out of the bag and put it on bread plate for your viewing pleasure:

Lucky’s Homemade Bread

My meal included a cup of soup:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I would have never thought to order this soup, but because it came with my meal, I gave it a try. I’m so glad I did! It was one of the best soups I’ve had in a really long time. If we go back, I need to remember to get this. In fact, a big ol’ bowl of it might be the only thing I order. And I’d be satisfied. It may just have inspired me to make the Tortilla Soup from The Homesick Texan Cookbook this fall…

Rob was also very impressed by his soup:

Steak Vegetable Soup:Homemade, hearty vegetable soup with lots of vegetables and tender cuts of steak.”

Our friend Lisa ordered an appetizing appetizer as her meal:

Toasted Cheese Ravioli – Served with marinara and creamy spicy ranch – $6.99

Little Kayla ordered from the kid’s menu:

Pasta Alfredo – 3.99 {Kayla asked to add shrimp!}

Seriously. That is a kid’s-sized portion?! I can guarantee you that daddy ate most of the rest of it when they took it home!

Entrées at Lucky’s come with soup and a choice of one side item. Here is my order:

Grilled Salmon – Chargrilled Atlantic salmon served with fresh dill sauce – $10.99

Seriously? Only $10.99? The dinner serving is only $13.99. I’m lucky to get a nice cut of salmon for $20 in the Twin Cities! {Usually closer to $30.} For $10.99, the salmon was pretty tasty. And I’m a sucker for a creamy dill sauce. The Cottage Fries, however, were not what I was expecting. I didn’t so much care for them. But that’s okay, I had already had plenty to eat!

Rob’s entrée:

Prime Chopped Steak –With sweet sautéed onions and mushroom sauce – $9.99

A steak for $9.99? Sure, it was a lunch portion. Still, Rob said he should have never ordered this. He doesn’t normally like nor order this type of steak and he wasn’t sure why he did. So while he didn’t really like it, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t done properly. If you liked chopped steak and canned mushrooms, it’s probably for you! To suit his tastes, Rob should have gone with the Top Sirloin instead. For his side, he chose the Cheddar Mac & Cheese. He adored it’s creamy, cheesiness and cleaned the dish!

And now to the wine. We washed it all down with local one:

Leelanau Spring Splendor 

Yeah, not exactly the best pairing for Rob’s steak; but it was excellent with my salmon! The funny thing is that we tend to drink red wines most often. But there’s something about local wines in the Midwest that make the whites more palatable. This one was a bit sweet, which we’ve come to expect, too. And since it was during that hot 4th of July week that swept the country this year, this was a thirst quencher!

Leelanau Cellars is located in the Northwest corner of Lower Michigan. Rob and I have often talked about stopping on our drive out to visit family and friends. It just hasn’t happened yet. It looks like such a beautiful area!

Where’s your favorite place to dine with unbeatable prices?