Dam Site Inn

29 08 2009
  • 4095 Patterson Lake Road
  • Pinckney, MI 48169
  • (734) 878-9300
  • Website (not working)
  • No Online Menu
The Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

The Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

I made a lot of people happy today.  I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told, “Go to hell.”  Today, I did.  Sure, it was just Hell, MI, but I can still tell all those people who have given me that order over the years that I’ve been to Hell and back…and it was fun. 

J and I were stuck on Travel Channel’s “Extreme” shows last weekend.  During the “Extreme Roadside Attractions” I was reintroduced to Hell, MI.  I say reintroduced not because I’ve ever been there, but it was something I had heard about while I was growing up in Illinois. 

For many years, my brother and I delivered papers.  We lived in a small community and the daily newspaper in the area wasn’t huge.  One really hot day, the paper lead with the headline “It’s Hotter Than Hell (Michigan, That Is).”  We got a ton of phone calls from angry customers that thought it was inappropriate and yelled at us like we had something to do with content.  That’s the only newspaper headline I think I’ll ever remember word-for-word. 

So, J and I finally got to sleep in and we took advantage of it.  It was a little after noon before I stumbled into the living room already really hungry.  We figured out that Hell wasn’t all that far away and it would be fun just to say we’ve been there.  Since they had a bar/restaurant, we could make that a reason to go. 

The Dam Site Inn is on Patterson Lake Road in what is technically considered Pinckney.  Hell is actually an unincorporated part of Livingston County.  For USPS purposes, they have a Pinckney address and zip code. 

If you’ve never been to Hell, there’s not a whole there.  There’s the bar, an ice cream shop, and a country store that is actually closed right now but apparently re-opening soon. 

Inside the bar at the Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

Inside the bar at the Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

The bar has a reputation of a biker bar and there must have been a poker run or something going on today.  The parking lot was full of Harley’s.  We actually drove by the entrance the first time by because there wasn’t a whole lot of room to turn in. 

After turning around, we went back to the bar and parked in the gravel parking lot near the back of the building alongside a number of bikes. 

The door was on the other side and we walked by a makeshift patio area that has a couple picnic tables.  Not long after we got there, a large group of bikers took over the outside tables which kept a couple tables open inside for the large crowd. 

The decor is very kitschy which is what you would expect in a roadside attraction.  There are “flames” all over the bar and the lights inside the walk-in coolers behind the bar were red.  There were lots of signs, bumper stickers, and t-shirts that all made a play on some of the various phrases we’ve all heard over the years using the word “hell.”

When we first walked in, we didn’t see any open tables.  The seating area is actually pretty small.  There are a few booths along the wall and only a dozen or so tables most of which are eight tops.  The rest of the space is a little stage for live music, a gaming area with a pool table, and of course, the bar. 

We noticed a waitress clearing glasses from what may have been the only four top near the bar.  We took the table right away and a waitress was right behind us to get drink orders and give us menus.  .  Even though it was a bar and a Saturday, we both went with Pepsi’s. 

There are a couple menu items that the Dam Site Inn are proud of.  One is their Buffalo wings that come with a sauce created by the former owner.  They’re apparently really hot which I wasn’t up for.  The other is the homemade breadsticks.  We didn’t order these either, but we saw a number of them come out.  They looked and smelled delicious. 

The Dam Site Inn on Patterson Lake Road in Hell, MI

The Dam Site Inn on Patterson Lake Road in Hell, MI

We both went with sandwiches.  I ordered the Jalapeno Burger with cheese.  None of the burgers come with cheese.  You have to add it on for a buck.  The sandwiches also don’t come with fries.  You have to order a side which is another two bucks.  The burger was delicious.  The jalapenos were put underneath the cheese so I didn’t have to worry about the falling off and there a lot of them.  I was expecting just a few, but there was a jalapeno in every bite.  The burger was served on a commercial sesame seed roll which didn’t really matter because all I could taste was the heat.  I loved it.  The combo of cheese and jalapenos is so perfect.  The fries came in a separate paper boat and there were a lot of them as well.  It was definitely two bucks worth of fries, but I didn’t need that many.  The fries were out of the bag, but very crispy.  I was stuffed when I got done.  J offered some of her fries, but there was no way. 

J ordered the Southwestern Chicken Sandwich.  She was a little hesitant at first because the sauce was called “Hellfire Sauce” and we had no idea what that meant.  Turns out, it was like a spicy Thousand Island.  The sandwich came with just the chicken and sauce on a bun.  None of the sandwiches actually came with lettuce, tomato, and onion, but there was a self service area that had all these condiments.  J took her sandwich to put some lettuce on which helped sop up some of the sauce.  She liked the chicken and said the sauce reminded her of a place we go to in Chicago that has the best cheese-fries you’ll ever have.  She tried to give me a taste, but my taste buds were so burned off by the jalapenos, I couldn’t taste anything.  She also got fries with her meal and she ate about half. 

The thing we were most impressed with the speed of the service.  The bar was packed yet we never felt neglected.  Our drinks were refilled promptly and we didn’t wait too long for our food.  They were really doing a great job of turning the tables and right after we left, about another 100 bikers showed up. 

Our bill was a little high at $22 but that was because we had to pay for a lot of extras.  It’s not horrible, but it is a bar.  It actually reminds me a lot of a bar back home that my mom works at.  It’s kind of out in the country all by itself and there’s not many reasons to go there other than to eat.  The food was good.  The atmosphere was interesting.  It’s not a scary biker bar, but it’s not like a bar you’d find in a city like Lansing.




14 responses

24 09 2010

Good food, good drinks, good staff, and a lot of good people to hang out with. Don’t let the bikers scare you. I think they average about 58 years of age and most of their leather comes out of the closet once or twice a year!

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