Clementine’s is an American restaurant with two locations in southwestern Michigan: South Haven and St. Joseph’s. The Original Clementine’s, is located in downtown South Haven, and occupies the historic Citizen’s Bank building. The St. Joseph location sits on the banks of the St. Joseph’s River.
Clementine’s, South Haven outpost is in historic downtown South Haven. The restaurant is housed in a building built in 1896, and was originally a Citizen’s State Bank. Today, its vaults and other architectural features are incorporated into the restaurant’s decor.
The owners of the Clementine’s restaurants, the Ruppert family, purchased the building in 1989. They refurbished the original restaurant in South Haven, highlighting the property’s tin ceilings, chandeliers and beautiful woodwork. The restaurant’s walls are filled with black & white photos from the city’s early days. Some of the accents are a bit country for me, and I’m not a big fan of the carpet–it’s a little too much– but with three discrete dining rooms, the South Haven restaurant’s vast size makes it a great option for large groups, carpet notwithstanding.
Clementine’s Too, the St. Joseph location is a family-friendly place. With a more tame decor than the other location, it sits on the banks of the St. Joseph River. In the summer, this location has a patio, floor to ceiling windows, and many diners arrive by car or by boat.
The menu at Clementine’s features traditional American cuisine: pastas, burgers, kids menu. The restaurant also has a Gluten free and vegetarian menu available upon request. As a diner on a very restricted diet, I appreciated the extra effort Clementine’s made to print and distribute separate menus for non-traditional diners. It should also be noted that the restaurant tries, when possible, to source local produce and beers.
The most popular items on the menu are “Clem’s onion rings“–which are delivered to your table on a stick. They can be ordered in two lengths: 6 inch or 12. The restaurant’s menu boats that 8 miles of onion rings were sold last year!!
The restaurant is also well-known for its Lake Perch, which is one of the most popular items on the menu– incredibly, more than 14 tons of it were sold last year !!! Our party had both the onion rings (which are served with homemade Ranch dressing) and the perch (which was served true to its description on the menu, lightly breaded and pan friend) and were pleased with both offerings!
I’m a big fan of the Strawberry Patch salad, and would recommend that–every time I’ve eaten there, that’s what I’ve had, and I haven’t been disappointed! DH has been ordering the Brewmaster Burger, which is made with locally brewed beer, and the VIP Bloody Mary which resembles a salad in a glass! Both the burger and the Bloody Mary are recommended.
The Clementine’s restaurants are very popular places in the summertime and don’t accept reservations. Many locals suggest stopping by Clementine’s before you’re hungry as the wait during high season can often exceed an hour.
I’m looking forward to bringing my friends to the banks of the river for drinks at Clementine’s this summer. The service was good, the setting was relaxed and the food was crowd pleasing–exactly what you’d hope for when you’re headed to the beach with family and friends!