Pump House Grille

11 05 2009
  • 214 State Street
  • St. Joseph, MI 49085
  • (269) 983-0001
  • Website
  • Menu
The Pump House Grill in downtown St. Joseph

The Pump House Grille in downtown St. Joseph

J really wanted to do something with her mom for Mother’s Day.  Over the past couple months, there’s been a lot of traveling back and forth to Chicago for both us and our families.  Instead of her parents coming to Lansing or us driving to Chicago for the second week in a row, we decided to find a halfway point.  The Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area looked like a good meeting point, so the search was on to find a good place for Mother’s Day brunch.

After a quick Google search, I came up with two options.  Neither would take a reservation for less than six people, so we chose the one that opened first.  That one was the Pump House Grille on State Street in beautiful downtown St. Joseph.  State Street is a one-way cobblestone street that is lined with boutiques and restaurants.  It’s kind of touristy, but would still make a great shopping and dining district for the locals.  We actually drove by the restaurant on our first pass through downtown.  The buildings are all connecte and none of them have eye level signs that stick out from the building.  On the second pass down State Street, we noticed the building on the left side of the road.

Brunch started at 11:30 and we got there about 11:40.  Like I already mentioned, they wouldn’t take reservations and there must have been a line when the door opened.  By the time we got there, all the tables were full.  The host told us there would probably be a half hour wait since everyone just sat down to eat.  We took a buzzer and set up at the bar to wait.  The bartender told us we could eat there if we wanted to, but J and her mom couldn’t really reach the bar comfortably and it would have made eating uncomfortable.  Instead, we ordered drinks….just Pepsi’s since they couldn’t serve liquor until noon.  The half hour wait would give me time to step outside and call my mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Read the rest of this entry »


Clara’s Lansing Station – Brunch

11 05 2008
  • 637 E. Michigan AveClara's
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 372-7120
  • Website
  • Menu

I originally reviewed Clara’s Lansing Station on April 14 (review HERE) after my girlfriend I and stopped in for dinner on a Sunday night.  We liked the place so much, we decided to get Mother’s Day Brunch reservations since her parents were going to be in town.  The atmosphere is what sold us on the return the visit.  The old train station is just beautifully restored that she wanted to show her parents.

Reservations were a good thing.  The place was packed and there were people waiting. We got there about 10 minutes before our reservation, but were shown to a table right away.  This time, we were up in the balcony.  The buffet is on the main floor and takes up space where there are tables the rest of the time.  The trip up the stairs was probably good for us to burn a few calories before hitting the line. 

Right by the door, the buffet started with an omelet station and a carving station.  I passed on both, but my girlfriends mom stopped and got an omelet that was loaded with two kinds of cheese.  Next came the buffet line.  It started with breakfast favorites like biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage then transitioned into lunch food like cheesy potatos (which my girlfriend LOVED), ham steaks, and chicken wings.   I, of course, loaded my plate with meats.  The bacon was crispy, but pretty generic.  The ham was good and the chicken wings were hot.  Nothing would have been fabulous had I ordered it off a menu, but for a brunch buffet, this stuff was good.

There was also a salad bar to the back and a huge spread of desserts.  I just grabbed a piece of chocolate chip cheesecake with an oreo crust.  My girlfriend got a huge sampler platter to share with her mom and her stepdad came back with his own assortment of goodies.  The desserts were all top notch.

The brunch price was around $17 per person, so it did end up being pretty expensive, but it’s one of the better brunches.  I’ve definately paid more and gotten less.  Clara’s was really packed which is always a good sign when it comes brunch.  I’ve heard it was the best in town and I have no reason to doubt that.  Clara’s was the first repeat visit for us since moving to Lansing and we’ve been really happy with both meals.