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“This is Northern Michigan at its best”
Review of Smugglers Cove

Smugglers Cove
Ranked #4 of 25 Restaurants in Newaygo
Cuisines: American
Restaurant details
Newaygo, Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“This is Northern Michigan at its best”
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We are fortunate to live in Newaygo County, deep in the woods and overlooking the Muskegon River. Because home cooked food and the view while dining is hard to beat, we eat out only occasionally unless we are traveling. But when we do decide to leave home for a casual meal, Smugglers is where we usually wind up. After reviewing another area restaurant, I happened to see the reviews of Smugglers and just had to make a few comments. To those who think the decor is cheesy and/or needs an update, I'd just say that if you are looking for a classy, updated restaurant, this isn't your place. But if you want a place where service can't be beat, people are always having a great time, boaters can dock out front and walk in wearing their cut-offs, hard working folks can come straight from work and sit near someone dressed up for the night - you will love this place. This is not a pretentious place - it is Northern Michigan casual and it is "come as you are." I have never had a bad meal here. The best value on the menu is the fish on the low carb menu. Two or three pieces of fish - fried is best - and a great little salad with home made dressing. Smelt isn't on the menu but is almost always available (just ask) and is super good. Burritos are great. French fried cheesy Broccoli makes a great vegetarian meal for a light eater. There are specials every night and they are always good.

The service is fantastic, the waiters all cover for each other to make sure everyone has fresh drinks (free refills on soft drinks), etc., and Marty the owner is always there and taking care of people right along with the wait staff (and someone actually criticized them for doing this on a slow night. Seriously?) For entertainment, watch the bus boys on a busy night. You will never see tables cleaned more rapidly and efficiently, which is why locals don't mind it when the waiting area is full - you know you won't have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes and if by chance you do, the food is worth the wait.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
6 Thank Whitetail37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
    9
    6
    1
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, IL
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Really?”
Reviewed July 17, 2013 via mobile

Many recommended this place to us in the area during a recent stay in Newaygo. Maybe our hopes were too high. We're not connoisseurs either. But we didn't understand all the raves. Food was mediocre, staff were nice, but REALLY is this all the area can show for itself? It was embarrassing.
Drive to Newaygo and check the River Stop Cafe. Not fancy but these are folks who know how to build an upscale cafe.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Gary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Meh”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Smuggler's Cove draw is that it is the only restaurant on this lake in Newaygo. The food is only average; maybe because of this monopoly? The decor is quite tired and needs an update. Service was alright. On the night we visited we had multiple servers although the place was half empty. ( bored; needed something to do?) I think the investment of updating the decor and perhaps some kind of uniform shirts to identify the staff would go far. The view of the lake and all it's activities is it's redeeming value.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Donna R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great food!”
Reviewed April 17, 2013

The ribeye is very good. The place could be updated, it is definitely lacking in decor but the view is great and so is the food.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Teresa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
584 reviews
377 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
“Great Dinners”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Ate there again today on our visit to Newaygo. There are not many options in this town; this place probably has the best food. On a cold, winter's day, we sat inside, gazing across the frozen lake. We all had the ribeye special. It was lean and perfectly cooked; the owner hand trims the meat himself. Other good choices include fish, shrimp and burgers. Sit outside on the deck weather permitting.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank dkm57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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