Riverdale Tavern

6681 NW Lumberjack Rd
Riverdale, 48877
I lived in Mount Pleasant, MI from 1998 to 2002 and have been back quite a few times since. The Riverdale Tavern was the place to go for good fried home cooking when I lived there, and I am sure it still is. It is not for the health nut or vegetarian! It is mostly fried food with the house specialties being fried fish and fried frog legs. Before 1998, I had never thought of trying fried frog legs, but now I get them anytime I see them on a restaurant's menu because of the Tavern. The "Just Fish" order of fried cod, French fries, and coleslaw is very good and never disappoints. The place has a few dining areas and there is a nice, classic bar (on the left) when you walk in the main door. On Saturday nights, there was always a wait line, and when there was college football being played, the place was always packed. If your travels take you through central Michigan, this place is worth a stop! Plus Riverdale is home to one of the smallest US Post Offices!
I grew up about 3 miles away from here, and the place has always gotten raves about the fish fry. The last times I went there, the food was great and the service was OK, seated and served. But I went in for a pick-up order for my elderly parents, ordered from the kid playing bartender, and the circus began. Simple order: cheeseburger with everything but ketchup, fries included, and an order of "Just" fish (a peculiarity of the Riverdale Tavern: "just" is around 5 pieces of deep-fried fish, with fries and cole slaw enough for two people). First the guy had problems with the order on the computer. Then I waited for 20 minutes. The "just" fries were placed before me in a box on the bar...then the burger came. I looked inside the burger box--no fries. Asked for that to be corrected. Then the fish came...checked things again, no cole slaw. Had to ask, had to tell him, "Yes, I want it--it's part of the order!" He handed me one small container of slaw, wandered to the room next door, returned with another small container of slaw. I don't know if he didn't know the menu, if he didn't understand what was included, or if he was just incompetent...but from the time I ordered to the time I left with a complete order, it was 45 minutes, and people who came in to eat after I ordered were eating before I got my piece-mealed order. And the "just" fries were lukewarm and soggy by the time I got it all back to my parents. Good food, good ambiance, but I hope they iron out their service.
You're driving along in the middle of nowhere (which happens a lot in Michigan) and hunger strikes. That sucks. But wait... up in the distance what's that? A local watering hole - standing alone but it's obviously open. Hitch up your bootstraps and head on inside 'cause the options are scarce 'round these parts. Riverdale Tavern makes me think of this exact scenario. Luckily, it's actually not that bad once you settle down and have some grub. There's plenty of local history here to keep you interested and even weird stuff to occupy your feeble mind hanging on the walls. Kind of like Applebee's, but this stuff is different somehow. Like... it's authentic. Which is a good start. Can you say alligator rug? Because they have one hanging on the wall. Awesome. Service is very attentive. Maybe that's because this place never seems to be packed even though they have tons of space. It's also the exact down home type service you'd expect from someplace like this. Warm, friendly, and not afraid to kid around with you a little bit. If you put your acerbic wit to use, the waitress will strike back and that's a good thing. Coming from spending some time in the southwest I'm on a healthier eating kick. My options were fairly limited in this place because, like most places with "tavern" in their name, the majority of the menu is either a burger or deep-fried. The fish is their specialty here - it's flown in everyday(?), and it is certainly deep fried. That doesn't mean that it's not absolutely delicious. Seriously some of the best fish I may have ever had. The onion rings are pretty stellar too. I can't particularly attribute it to the batters they use, or the quality of their ingredients, but only speculate on the process they use in frying that makes it stand out. The small nibbles i had were good though. Very good. My salad - was a bit lacking. I give them credit for trying. It also seemed to be rather dismal in size for the $7.50 it costs. Seriously? It barely filled up my paper plate that its served on. Lest you think they're cheap here it was a Dixie paper plate... the nice thick kind that don't fold under pressure. Would I stop here again? Yeah, the fish and onion rings were awesome. The service was stellar as well. The ambiance of the place gives it a reason just to stop in and look around too. I knock a few points off for the ridiculously priced sub-par salad. Other than that... it's worth a visit.

(989) 833-7042

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