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“Beautiful Place” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Clara's on the River

Clara's on the River
44 North McCamly, Battle Creek, MI 49017
269-963-0966
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Ranked #7 of 138 Restaurants in Battle Creek
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Doing business, Outdoor seating, Special occasions
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout, Late Night
Seven Hills, OH
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Beautiful Place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

The location and decor is top notch. It's an old train depot and feels very historic with interesting decor. Love the Tiffany lights! The food however, was average. It's right on the river with a cute patio.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    40
    57
    15
    9
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Concord, Ohio
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“lunch at the depot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

Stopped for lunch on our trip across Michigan. What a pleasant surprise. The setting is wonderful, an old train depot with much of the décor intact. Superman can still find a phone booth. We had our lunch outside next to the river, quiet and serene, Food was good and the service was very good.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Clair, Michigan
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“What a let down”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

I am a sucker for old train stations and architecture, especially when nestled on the banks of a river in a well kept, albeit struggling town. Clara's appeal and promise from the outside is extraordinary. It's when you get inside when the let down begins.

I was on a bit of a tight schedule and a place of this size with so few people in it seemed like they could deliver a fast and acceptable service. There I go making assumptions again. We seated ourselves in the very large patio area. And this is where my nightmare began.

Looking around you began to notice just what a travesty this patio area is. Flowers still in their meijer plastic containers left unplanted for lord knows how long. Weeds overflowing every perhaps once beautiful area. Brick pavers broken, trash under every table. And service that would drive the most patient of people up a wall. Five minutes to even be greeted, okay, maybe they did not see us walk in (not possible but I'll get over it) 12 mins from then our drink arrived, 20 minutes after that I saw our waitress again.

Beautiful building, terrible attention to detail and an extreme need of service training. All of this is a result of improper management..that simple.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“A Highlight of Our Visit to Battle Creek”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

Nobody is ever going to mistake Battle Creek for Paris. In fact, for me, Battle Creek is sort of a poor man's Lansing or a rich man's Flint. That said, I did find Clara's on the River to be a real gem in an otherwise depressing town. Sorry if your a Battle Creek-ophile, that's just my impression.

The restaurant looks like it's in an old train station or something and has lots of atmosphere. We chose to sit outside because it was a nice evening, so I didn't get too good of a look around but what I saw was neat.

They had "live entertainment" in the form of a man playing guitar and singing easy listening tunes from the 70's. I say that as a good thing. He had a very nice voice and we enjoyed hearing him play, We only wished he took requests.

The staff were all very friendly with us, especially the hostesses who encouraged my daughter to draw them a picture by promising to hang it from their podium. We saw the waitress and food runner in equal parts and in sufficient amounts. Both were great.

The restaurant's patio is technically "on the river," but you can't really see the river well without leaving the fenced in area. This isn't a big deal, though, because Battle Creek River looks a little like Coca Cola and isn't much to see. Most of the tables were under trees or umbrellas. Ours was not, and I got a bit warm in the sun, but it was nice at the same time.

I was a little disappointed by the tables, which were typical round, metal, grated things, and especially by the use of plastic chairs. They were comfortable but I often had the weird sensation that it was bending out from under me. The good thing about the use of plastic was it kept the chairs from making terrible noises when sliding across the ground, but they're not too classy,

I got the chef salad, which I thought was fairly average. We also got an appetizer of onion rings to share, which I also thought were good but ordinary. My wife got manicoti, which she said was excellent, which has led to my review of the food being "very good." The menu was pretty extensive. I'm cheap by nature, so I found the cost of the meal to be a bit high, but it probably wasn't considering the location. I just don't get out enough.

Overall, I liked this restaurant. I will remember our fun dining experience there for a long time to come.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“In the old train station”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

Very cool location downtown in the historic Michigan Central train depot. Huge menu! Very good food and service.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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