The Harbor Haus is set among the pines at a choice spot on the shore of Lake Superior. It is a delightful dining spot near the tip of Michigans Keewenaw Peninsula, offering a rare blend of fine food, breathtaking scenery and old world charm.
One enters the enlarged Harbor Haus, which has two stories, through a huge copper-clad door to be confronted with a spacious dining area facing the harbor. The view is framed by a solid wall of glass, with thick tables of butcher block maple and bentwood chairs. Decor is rustic with chain-hung lanterns and wood paneling. Two deer skins are from northern Germany and a world-class collection of steins surround the dining area with wall hangings from Finland.
Just outside the restaurant is a 1,700-pound chunk of copper, and many customers discover what an excellent conductor copper is when they pass through the restaurant doorway, which grows icy or hot depending on the season. A crackling fire in the stone fireplace in spring and fall is supplanted by air conditioning in summer.
Waitresses attire is the Dirndl, the peasant dress of southern Germany and Austria. Once each day, from 7:30 to 8 p.m., they and the waiters disappear to perform a dance on the outside patio for the Isle Royale Queen as it returns from Isle Royale National Park.
Ron Waara is chef and co-proprietor with Chris Waara. Ron received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and worked since 1977 at the Michigan House in Calumet. He also studied in Europaischer Hofin Baden-Baden Germany and at one time managed the kitchens of both the Old Country Haus in Kearsarge as well as the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor.
While in 1979 when I was there first, the menu included only 14 entrees with fresh-caught Lake Superior whitefish and the best potato pancakes Id ever tasted, it now has 25 entrees, with the best single one still being Lake Suuperior whitefish.
Of six appetizers, potato pancake with goat cheese and fresh apples is $6.95, while a beef tenderloin kabob on mini-hibachi and a shrimp scallop kabob are $8.95. Two soups at $4.25, are Vienna cheese and Chicken curry.
Six of the 25 entrees are fish: broiled fresh Lake Superior Trout, Whitefish (the single most asked for) at $16.95; marinated, hickory grilled Trout and blackened Salmon at $17.95, and hazel nut encrusted Ahi at $18.95.
Four entrees are German: beef rouladen with braised Red Cabbage, Kassler rippchen saurkraut, potato salad, and wiener schnitzel all at $14.95. Lamb chops and venison tenderloin are $18.95; Angus certified NY strip steak runs $20.95, filet mignon is $21.95, roast prime rib of venison $19.95, Chicken breast $13.95, veal tenderloin, $18.95, and roast duckling with lingonberries $16.95
Two desserts for two include hazelnut souffle and raspberry cobbler at $8.95. All entrees are served with salad, potato and vegetable.
For breakfast the The Harbor Haus Specialty at $7.95 is three scrambled eggs with freshly smoked Lake Superior Trout, hash browns, toast. Six omelets run $7.95. The Kassler special is smoked pork loin chop, two eggs, hash browns and toast for $8.95. For lunch, five appetizers run $4.95-$7.95, six salads $6.95-$10.95, five sandwiches $6.95-$7.95, 12 specialties $5.95, and breast of chicken to planked whitefish run $10.95.
The Harbor Haus has a good selection of wines and a well-stocked bar. A sample martini is the Beef Eater at $6.10.
One can stay overnight at the Harbor Haus B for $125.
For local attractions, take a drive along the 9.5-mile Brockway Mountain Drive which runs west and rejoins SB route 26 to Eagle Harbor for some fishing fun. Or one could go from the Copper Harbor Marina by boat to the 1866 Copper Harbor Lighthouse and see the 1848 keepers house and a 1933 steel light tower on a narrated cruise. Fort Wilkins State Park is one mile east on US 41. From late June to late August costumed staff members portray life at the fort in the 1800s.
The restaurant is located at 65 Brockway Ave., Copper Harbor, (ph. 906-289-4502).