As part-time Lake Michigan beach dwellers evolve adding year-round weekends and holidays to their summer schedule, some of us veteran full-timers have a helpful reminder. When you are tired of cooking and don't want to drive long distance for a good meal, there are many alternatives these days. One of the best options, even for recreational gamblers is the built-out campus of Four Winds casino. You can squeeze in some boutique shopping and take advantage of either dining room and Four Winds is almost always open, even when everyone else is closed.
Copper Rock. 11111 Wilson Rd.,New Buffalo. 866.494.6371. A meat lover’s delight, this upscale restaurant features Midwestern USDA Prime steaks aged for 42 days in their Himalayan Salt Brick Locker as well as a nice selection of seafood including cold water lobster, fresh seasonal oysters, crab cakes, king crab legs and colossal shrimp. For serious carnivores, there’s the 55-day dry-aged 26-ounces bone-in rib eye while oenophiles will love the 450 selections of wine by the bottle or glass. Must try sides are the truffled lobster mac ‘n cheese made with aged white cheddar and truffle cheese sauce, cavatappi noodles and chunks of lobster meat and the Copper Rock Cheesy Fries -- shoestring fries smothered in truffle cheese sauce, crispy pancetta lardons and scallions. The Copper Classic Dinners offer a three-course selection of starters, entrees and desserts from a list including such selections as a grilled Kurobuta pork chop, roasted chicken breast topped with king crab meat and asparagus accompanied with demi-glace and Hollandaise sauces, Atlantic salmon, apples, caramelized onions and mashed sweet potato, chocolate mousse dome and crème brulèe.
Hard Rock Café Four Winds. 11111 Wilson Rd, New Buffalo. 800.494.6371. Hard Rock’s energy pulsates in perfect synergy with Four Winds, making it a must stop for those who thrive on live entertainment, late night dining options, rock and rock memorabilia (nobody does it better than Hard Rock Café) and well prepared American style cuisine while staying close to the casino action. Adjacent to the gaming area, the two level, 12,000 sq. ft. Hard Rock features seating for 275, live entertainment and, of course, a large gift shop area. Beyond their Legendary Burgers like the 10-ouncer topped with seasoned bacon, Cheddar cheese, crisp fried onion ring, lettuce, tomato and pickles, there’s grilled chicken Marsala and grilled salmon, smokehouse offerings like BBQ ribs and chicken as well as smoked pulled pork, a weekend breakfast buffet and happy hour. The kids’ menu features crispy chicken drum sticks tossed in their signature sweet Hickory BBQ Sauce, hot dogs and oven roasted chicken salad. For dessert, make the hard choice between such sweets as chocolate mousse, strawberry cheesecake, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and chocolate peanut butter pie.