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  • The Chopping Blog

Southwest Michigan's Growing Food Scene

Posted by Alex on Mar 26, 2024

Being from Southwest Michigan, I have seen it change quite a bit in my lifetime. It has always been a very popular vacation destination, especially for families. With its beautiful beaches, fruit farms, and close proximity to Chicago, it really is the perfect getaway.

One thing Southwest Michigan has never been particularly known for though, is good food. Growing up, the only restaurants that were around were chain restaurants, and very American restaurants - places that serve what I call a “pie chart plate” protein, steamed vegetable, and starch all configured as a pie chart on a white plate. While this kind of food still certainly has its place and is actually what many tourists prefer, there is a new food scene emerging that offers a refreshing taste of upscale food and seems to be growing. 

I recently ate at the restaurant Houndstooth in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Houndstooth is a chef-driven restaurant with sharable plates that grab inspiration from many different kinds of cuisine such as French, Mexican, Filipino, and Korean. It has been open since 2019 and seems to have been going strong since. I'm not sure how it took me this long to finally try it, but I'm very happy I did. The menu was super exciting and I tried a good array of items. 

MenuTheir famous starter is their Japanese Milk Bread with black garlic and chive. I can see why they’re known for it, it was so buttery and savory and a perfect way to wake up the palette. 

Japanese Milk BreadSome other dishes I tried were their Filipino pork dumplings with a spicy chili sauce and some tobiko. I also had their black bean chicken that came with savory Chinese doughnuts. These were both super solid dishes and kept the meal so exciting with everything being so different in texture and taste.


Black Bean ChickenBesides the food being incredible, the interior of the restaurant was stunning, very comparable to something you would see in the city. There was a long bar that ran through the restaurant that connected to the completely open kitchen. It has a somewhat industrial feel with lots of exposed brick but is still very comfortable and inviting.

Houndstooth BarIn addition to Houndstooth, the same owners have another restaurant just down the street called Anemel. This restaurant opened in 2022 and is a more upscale yet fast-casual concept with Mexican fusion dishes such as a Nashville hot chicken torta and Tuna tostadas. I’ve eaten at Anemel a handful of times and it has been delicious every time. In addition to these two restaurants, they are opening a third in the near future called Post Boy, in the nearby town of New Buffalo. Post Boy is going to be a New American restaurant, seemingly more suited toward family dining. 

It is so exciting to see these restaurants expanding and thriving. I think this will start a trend and many restaurateurs will flock to the area to take advantage of the tourism and the beautiful produce that is grown locally. With Southwest Michigan being such a popular tourist destination, it only makes sense for it to have a booming food scene, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the area. 

If New American and fusion cuisines excite you, come join us at our hands-on Gastropub class on Friday, April 5th!  

And if you want to learn how to make your own Japanese Milk Bread, we still have a few spots left in this Saturday's Artisanal Breads Boot Camp on 3/30 at 10am.

See our class calendar


Topics: michigan, southwest, southwest michigan

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