Contributors to the chapter: From the Water
King’s Fish Market
Two locations: 11501 W. Lake Street, Naubinway, MI 49762
(906) 477-6362 or (906) 477-6282 and
Theron King’s Fish Joint
M-123 Moran, MI 49760;
Bob King and his sons, Kenny and Theron, (thought to be the sixth generation of Kings to fish the fresh water lake) look to catch whitefish with a smidgen of lake trout and salmon. Fishing is really the only life this family has known, since an ancestor put a mackinac into Lake Michigan a long, long time ago. Sample the wild-caught lake fish at Kings Market in two U.P. locations, both serving tasty grub.
5528 S. Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
The unassuming appearance of this fish shack between Pentwater and Ludington, belies the deliciousness that can be found inside. Only open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the sixth generation boasts wild-caught lake fish fillets ready to be deep-fried in vats of hot oil or packaged to go. Named one of America’s Top 10 seafood shacks, Bortell got its start in 1898 with German Uriah Bortell. With only a smattering of picnic tables outside, you might have half-a-mind to head for Summit Township Park, right across the road, but that’s a gamble. It would be a crying shame to let steaming hot, crispy fish go cold.
6425 N. Lake Shore Drive, Cross Village, MI 49723
Restauranteurs George and Kathy Smolak count on fresh wild-caught fish from Big Stone Bay Fishery which can’t be compared to the frozen stuff. The scenic Polish restaurant’s blackened Great Lakes whitefish, broiled Great Lakes whitefish, walleye – the catch of the day, Straits whitefish platter and smoked whitefish appetizer with homemade rye bread, is a tasty testimony that local is better.
Big Stone Bay Fishery
10975 US Highway 23, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Owner Cameron McMurry took to fishing like no other, apprenticing at Mackinaw City’s Bell Fisheries before launching his own business. At his operation, the crew cleans, fillets, packages and delivers all the live-long summer days. Check out his fish spread – it’s the stuff of dreams. During tourist season, it doesn’t stay long.
John Cross Fisheries
209 Belvedere Avenue, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Back in 1954, John Cross, started the business – fishing in lakes Michigan, Superior and Huron and selling his catch at Charlevoix fish market. Later, his son, Jack Cross, pursued fishing with all he had in him until the 2000 federal consent decree returned commercial fishing to the tribal fisheries. Now Jack and June Cross concentrate on working with trusted sources to provide independent restaurants, customers, and wholesalers with wild-caught Great Lakes fish.
Superior Fish Company
309 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48068
The full-service fish market was started by Kevin and David Dean’s father, John Dean, who had dabbled in the seafood industry since he caught frog legs on St. Clair shores. John Dean became a partner in 1959. Since then, the Dean family continues to share the best of the Great Lakes, emphasizing wild-caught.