Click to Print
. . . .

The Brown Trout

Kristi Kates - November 9th, 2009
Catching Good Food at
The Brown Trout
By Kristi Kates 11/9/09

Built in the early 1930s as a reception hall, the Indian River restaurant known today as The Brown Trout went through several evolutions on its way to its current restaurant persona.
Going back, The Brown Trout was known as Bill’s Saloon and Rog Kar’s Saloon in the early days. In 1996, current owners Bill and Kathy Jones added a full-service kitchen and a patio to what was formerly just a bar. They preserved the interior design, only adding a “good luck” fish made out of small stones that was embedded into the fireplace, but revamped the entire exterior with a new foundation and log frame that perfectly suits its rustic Northern Michigan location.
“We offer casual up north dining for lunch and dinner, plus wine tastings on selected Thursdays, and entertainment on the weekends,” explains Bill Jones. “The price range varies from burgers and pizza in the $8-12 range; ribs, slow-cooked prime rib, steaks, whitefish, walleye, and cod in the $13-18 range, and our tenderloin with morel mushroom sauce at $25. We also feature Mexican menu items including burritos, fajitas, and taco salad.”
Indeed, The Brown Trout’s menu seems to offer a wide variety of dining choices, all anchored by the restaurant’s log-cabin feel.
“It represents Up North living at it’s best,” Jones beams.

A second look at the menu reveals that The Brown Trout also features their own “world famous soups,” including, of course, a smoked trout chowder, and also a creme of mushroom soup.
Other entrees of note include the “Shrimp Lenny” - shrimp stuff with crab and wrapped in bacon with hollandaise sauce; the portabella mushroom with seafood stuffing; the smokehouse burger with bbq sauce, cheddar, and bacon; and the spinach salad with bacon, water chestnuts, sliced egg, and Burt Lake Biscayne salad dressing.
Sandwiches are also available, from Monte Cristos to deep fried fish or prime rib deli sandwiches, and The Brown Trout also offers a full pizza menu.
“We work in a team environment with our kitchen staff to update our menus twice a year,” Jones explains, “everything is cooked from scratch.”

The Joneses also work to complement their American/Italian/Mexican cuisine with an entertainment, special services, and a special events schedule. In addition to wine tastings (call ahead for details), they are also one of the few restaurants in their region to offer dancing.
“Every Thursday is College Night, where students can show up and dance with our DJ Adam,” Jones says, “that has been a big hit for the past two and a half years; they show up from Gaylord, Onaway, and even St. Ignace.”
For the slightly older crowd, The Brown Trout offers their “Gen X Night” with 106 KHQ’s Tim Nixon spinning the tunes, with sounds of the ‘80s and ‘90s plus current pop hits from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
For those simply interested in good food, local Brown Trout customers can now acquire their lunch or dinner both in the restaurant itself, and right to their own front door.
“We offer free delivery in the Indian River area, and you can order online right from our web page,” Jones says.

The Brown Trout is located at 4653 South Straits Highway in Indian River, telephone 231-238-9441, or visit them online at

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5