Three Oaks, MI, along with nearby Sawyer and New Buffalo, has become something of a destination for the Chicago weekend getaway set. Not only are unending rows of beachfront vacation homes less than two hours away from Chicago, but there's plenty to occupy the big city attention span, too. From the spacious outpost of Pleasant House, to local distillery Journeyman, to nearby Greenbush Brewing and Local, you'll find plenty to eat and drink between all those antique shops you can't help but visit.
But don't forget the longtime local hangouts, either. Case in point: Nelson's Saloon on Elm Street, the closest thing Three Oaks has to a strip. Housed within its wood paneled walls is one of the purest examples of a Midwestern fish fry that I've experienced in my adult life. The set up is simple. Every Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., Nelson's serves All You Can Eat Fried Pollack ($8.75), and if you find yourself in the area, it's worthy of your dinner plans.
So what makes their take on the fish fry so special? A few things. First, shortly after you place your order, you'll begin to hear an angry bubbling from the kitchen. That's the sound of the fish being fried to order, every time. Second, the mild pollock on offer is a fish fry favorite in my part of Indiana, though it's surprisingly hard to come by in Chicago. And third, that slice of rye bread balanced on top is no accident: it's there to be folded (spread with tartar sauce and butter) around as many filets as you can stuff in for a simple, satisfying sandwich.
Come to think of it, simple and satisfying, much like proper a visit to Three Oaks, is the perfect way to describe the fish fry experience at Nelson's. Give it a shot- you can always get your Pleasant House fix when you get back from vacation.