This rustic restaurant brings the 'up north' south of Detroit


At Big Bear Lodge the fire is a place to gather and enjoy a good meal, but it's also how they like to cook their meals. With a wood-fired grill and oven, they make some tasty rotisserie chicken and wood-fired pizzas. 

"When it's your passion, that's what you do, and our passion is food. I love to bake, my husband loves to cook. Food has just become part of our lives," says Mary Camarata, co-owner of Big Bear Lodge.  

Lucky for us, Mary and her husband Dennis found their passion early in life. Dennis started his first restaurant, Pipers Restaurant, when he was only 21 years old.

"He's been working and doing that restaurant for 44 years. About midway through his career he was ready to make a change," said Mary. 

So in 2001 they opened Big Bear Lodge across the street from Pipers in Brownstown. The outside looks like a lodge from northern Michigan with logs of wood and stone used as siding. 

"We knew we wanted to name it something up north-ish. We came up with the name Big Bear Lodge because my husband is kind of a big guy, and he kind of seems like a big bear," said Mary.

The place was inspired by their many trips up north that they have been going on since they were children. They picked out everything in their cozy restaurant including some family heirlooms they used as decorations. The interior is warm and inviting with lots of wood, flannel-covered chairs, and three fireplaces. 

"What we enjoy is the peace and tranquility of being up north, and the less hectic life, and we decided to bring it down to south of Detroit," said Mary. 

In terms of food, they have eclectic American fare with everything from pastas to tacos.They make their food from scratch including their scrumptious dinner bread, and their giant cakes. Their wood-fired oven allows them to make items like pizzas, cedar-planked salmon, and their apple almond-stuffed chicken, while their wood-fired grill makes their smokey burgers, prime rib and rotisserie chicken. 

Big Bear lodge is located at 25253 Telegraph Rd. in Brownstown, Michigan. 




About the Author: