Silver Beach Pizza Company
410 Vine Street
St. Joseph, Michigan
St. Joseph, Michigan is a beach town on the southeastern portion of Lake Michigan that’s about three hours from Indianapolis. It’s a straight shot drive up US 31 to get there and the lake and beaches are very pleasant in the summer time. The town of St. Joseph is quite charming, with almost no chain restaurants downtown, except for Jimmy Johns (?), and also not too many antique stores (I hate antique stores). This is a very nice town with a lot of character and it’s a great place to spend time with your family. I also get the feeling it may be okay without kids as the beach seems to have a ton of college age kids running around it.
Silver Beach Pizza is a restaurant located at the Amtrak train station about a thousand feet from Silver Beach. It’s a ‘live’ train station too where you can actually take the train from this station to Chicago in under two hours. We were here with the kids after riding the midway rides at the Venetian festival in St. Joseph on a Saturday afternoon. This year’s carnies looked distinctively less disturbing than last years, though the carnie that was sleeping in the cart next to us on the Ferris wheel was definitely disturbing. After riding the rides, we were ready to eat, and despite the pleas from the children, we were not having carnival food for lunch. What I was looking for in lunch was air conditioning, comfortable seating, and some pizza in a kid-friendly environment. We definitely found all of that.
What I Got: We started with the “Nacho Mama” nachos, which was the simplest nachos you can have; corn chips with two plastic bowls of melted nacho cheese.
While this may not be an acceptable restaurant form of nachos for most people, it was, for three dollars, perfect for little kids. Our children liked the simple chips and dipping cheese (no jalapenos to navigate around). I thought they were too salty, but I was in the minority, as I usually am. This was just enough to take the edge off the kid’s hunger while we waited for the main course.
We then had a medium cheese pizza with pepperoni on half of it ($12.50). The pizza was actually very good. It had a slightly sweet taste, and the cheese topping may have had some cheddar mixed in. The crust was tasty and the serving size was quite good.
For a family lunch, taking a break in the air conditioning from the hot sun, this was a great lunch. Also, my wife points out that they had stepstools in the bathroom for kids to wash their hands. The ambiance was actually much nicer than we would have expected from the fairly modest exterior. You can eat indoors or outdoors as well.
Would I Buy It Again? Yes. I’ve heard from numerous people that this is a favorite pizza spot in St. Joseph, so I figured I’d better try it. It was a terrific place to eat with children (there were many children, and even stroller storage near the bathrooms); they actually gave the kids little globs of pizza dough to play with while we were waiting for our food. And the pizza was good enough that I would go back just for that. They also have an extensive beer list, salads, sandwiches and pasta. Add all of this to their terrific location right off the beach, and this can round out a perfect summer day with the family.
We also love the town of St. Joseph. I highly recommend it as a summertime destination, particularly from Indianapolis. It’s just far enough away that you feel like you’ve gone somewhere, but not so far that it’s a hassle to drive. The town, weather, and lake are all lovely. It’s not unlike Cape Cod, except that your dog can drink the beach water, and there are no funny accents (well, except for some of the folks from Chicago).