Down by the Bay

Iron Bay Marketplace evolving with new menu, entertainment

The Meatloaf Tower dish, above, and the Bell Tower Burger, below left, are a couple of the items offered at the Iron Bay Restaurant & Drinkery, located at 105 E. Washington St., Marquette. The establishment, which also has a tap room with 24 options, offers a variety of beer on tap, below right. (Photos courtesy of Carlson Media)

By JAYMIE DEPEW

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — This summer, people may have noticed the building at the corner of Lakeshore Boulevard and East Washington Street in Marquette packed with customers almost everyday.

The historic building, once a foundry and dance hall, now houses Iron Bay Marketplace, which includes Iron Bay Restaurant & Drinkery, a tap room and Peace Pie Company. The decor pays homage to its history, as big black and white photographs of an older era hang on the walls.

In May, Iron Bay opened just before summer tourism started to boom. However, even as winter whips across the Upper Peninsula halfway through December, the establishment continues to evolve.

Recently, management jazzed up the restaurant by offering live music two days a week, a bright tap room with 24-rotating beers and table tops made up of parts from the Mackinac bridge, a Tuesday night trivia and several menu changes.

“It’s been a great experience. We’re seeing a lot of repeat customers,” said Iron Bay partner and chef Jill Hayes. “I believe we’re tapping into the right niche.”

Hayes refers to the food served at Iron Bay as “comfort food with a twist.”

“We offer things like an egg salad sandwich and a meat loaf tower,” she said. “We jazz up recipes by adding different components and seasoning. It’s been going over really well.”

The creative menu includes a variety of local favorites such as whitefish tater tots, a Friday fish fry with fresh whitefish from nearby Thill’s Fish House, a variety of burgers, Michigan maple whiskey boneless chicken bites and a wet burrito. A children’s menu is also available.

In addition, the restaurant has an extensive wine selection with the opportunity to buy wine to-go, an espresso bar featuring Stone Creek Coffee from Milwaukee, specialty liquor drinks and a variety of beers on tap in the restaurant, as well as the additional 24 craft brews in the tap room.

Hayes said sample pours of wine are also offered so customers don’t have to commit to an entire glass if they want to try something they haven’t tried before.

Recently, Iron Bay started offering live music on Sunday and Wednesday nights from 6-9 p.m. On Sundays, Kirsten Gustafson and David Ziegner play a mix of jazz, blues and swing music. On Wednesday’s Kurt and Kim, entertain guests by playing ’70s and ’80s covers.

Peace Pie Company, which is owned by Lorri Smith, also operates out of the restaurant. Smith is currently preparing for an upcoming holiday pie sale where she will offer some of her handcrafted desserts, which include salted caramel apple gallette, chocolate peppermint fudge, eggnog custard and several others. All orders are for pick-up only and are being accepted until Wednesday.

“We also have trivia every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 in the tap room,” said Iron Bay Bar Manager Brandon Maki.

According to Maki, trivia is free-of-charge and begins promptly at 7 p.m. All parties can participate as soon as they register upon arrival.

“It’s been only going on for about two weeks but it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “People start to banter with one another — they have a good time.”

After the holidays, Hayes plans to launch a weekend breakfast and brunch menu. Hayes said she’s also working on a catering menu, offering party trays for family gatherings.

Located at 105 E. Washington St. in Marquette, Iron Bay Restaurant & Drinkery is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday. Tap room hours are 4 to 10 p.m. everyday. The restaurant does not accept reservations; however, if you have a large party, a courtesy call is welcomed.

For more information, visit www.ironbaymqt.com. For more information entailing events at the restaurant or the tap room, visit the establishment’s Facebook pages.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.

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