There is nothing better after a day in the sun than a nice hearty meal, and what is even better is if the place you are eating at can give you that same summer feel. This is where Mike's on the Water comes in, located in the Michigan Harbor Marina in Saint Clair Shores.
"I'm not even a boater, but I love the water. It is a calming soothing feeling. I always use the words, 'It adds years to your life,'" says Michael LeFever the owner of Mike's on the Water.
LeFever has been on the Nautical Mile for quite a while. He started working for his grandfather and Leto on the Lake in 1967. He later bought Leto on the Lake and another restaurant on the Nautical Mile before retiring, but that wasn't the end for him.
"I was traveling around the world, and was actually at the time in Istanbul, Turkey and I got a phone call from my brother in law that my sister got ill, and I came back home," says LeFever. While he was at home a friend came over to visit and told him that the owner of Michigan Harbor Marine was interested in opening a restaurant in his marina and wanted LeFever to run it.
"Saw this little white clapboard building that was attached to a big building and I said 'east coast burger bar, Key West, let it rip'," explains LeFever.
Mike's on the Water opened in 2011 and has since expanded, literally, adding on more deck space and more seating. LeFever's latest addition is probably the craziest one yet, a food truck on the roof.
"I had guests up here last year, when I opened in June, saying 'Mike we want some food' and I tried to give them food and literally hamburger buns would be flying off the trays as we were walking up the steps so that didn't work. Just walking through the downstairs deck one day I said I am going to put a kitchen upstairs, but not just a kitchen, I am going to put a food truck," says LeFever.
The food truck was installed in July of 2018 and featured an array of colorful buoys on the outside along with Snoopy in the driver's seat. It matches the restaurant's bright, open style, which gives the whole place a Florida flavor.
"People and guests and friends bring me stuff, and their boat pictures are hanging on the walls and 'Mike there I am, thanks for putting me up' to all the nautical decor, I just want to make it that Key West, that east coast feel, very warm, everything on the walls has a story," says LeFever.
For food, they have burgers and plenty of seafood. Much like the restaurant itself, the menu expanded over the years. "Because I listen to my guests," explains LeFever. "They said 'Mike we can't just have burgers and onion rings and fries, why don't we get us some perch, and salmon, and Mahi, and mussels,'" so LeFever accommodated them. One dish that he added that got very popular is their lobster roll. You can choose to have one roll or two and it comes with a side of house made potato chips.
"It feels like you are on vacation coming down here on the water," says LeFever.
Mike's on the Water is located at 24600 Jefferson Avenue in St. Clair Shores.
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