This fall, after our visit to 12 Corner Vineyards, we decided to stop in and try a newish restaurant in Benton Harbor called bread+bar. It's the creation by the folks at bit of swiss, a well-known bread and pastry maker in the area. Casual with comfort food, we'd heard some good things about it, so we decided to give it a try.
"A comfortable, warm, casual spot on the riverfront, with unique food offerings and chef tailored wine pairings. Starting from scratch and crafting by hand, bread + bar by Bit of Swiss prepares healthy, fresh and flavorful meals. Dishes are paired with Bit of Swiss artisan breads that are made fresh daily for lunch and dinner. Craft cocktails are made fresh and micro beers are ice cold, poured through frosted taps."
Unfortunately, our path to the restaurant took us through what appeared a down-at-the heels area of Benton Harbor, lots of empty storefronts and vacant lots, so our initial thoughts were apprehensive. Our worries were for naught, however, as the restaurant sits across the street from the St Joseph River. There are minimal views, however, as the building, which appears to be a former post office (or similar), has a solid wall on the side facing the river.
The interior design is quite clever, with the kitchen and bar to the left upon entering, restrooms towards the back as well, with the remainder of the space relatively open for seating. It's funky and chic, but also inviting and cozy.
There's a full menu, but we'd suggest going the tasting route instead. Start by ordering the Meat and Cheese Plate (creminelli salami + serrano ham + spanish chorizo + old europe cheeses + marinated olives + grainy mustard + grilled bread), many, many good flavors. If the weather is cool, add some French Onion Soup, with buckets of cheese. Skip the large plates and go with sides, and try the Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with maple butter, Nana's Meatballs, and Brussels Sprouts with balsamic vinegar and bacon. While the wine menu unfortunately turns its back (for the most part) to local producers, there are plenty of decent wines by the glass for tasting.
Don't forget to save room for dessert, especially if their decadent chocolate cake is available.
This is a nice addition to the other options for dining in the St Joseph area - come for the fun decor, tasty food and wine, and a menu with lots of options. Take a walk on the riverfront or drive over to the beach and jetty in St Joseph for a complete evening.
Find more information on the bread+bar website and on Facebook.
Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel