Sometime around the dawn of man, a human discovered that dough is worth more when tied into intricate shapes. Fast-forward a couple millennia to the present, and you’ll find that Nautical Knots has taken the next step in pretzel innovation. Since 2001, the Grand Haven boardwalk has benefited from the skillful tying of the eatery’s pretzel knots, which come in 11 sweet and savory varieties such as asiago cheese, frosted raisin, and sesame seed. In addition to stretching the dough into traditional pretzel shapes, staffers also twist it around frankfurters to make a signature treat they call the Nauti Dog, served with reckless amounts of ketchup and mustard. The waterside stand, which is open from May to September, also loads baked potatoes with cheese, chili, and salsa, and whips up frozen strawberry and mudslide drinks that combat the summer heat nearly as well as turning off the sun.
The Coffee House’s cozy confines radiate with the aromas of freshly brewed coffees and teas, encouraging noses and the mouths living below them to stick around for a satiating sipping session. Settle into a comfy fireside chair to surf the web while enjoying one of many brewable brews, including the "house" latte, which is blended with vanilla syrup, Ghirardelli chocolate and caramel sauces, and whipped cream ($3.25–$4.15). Or try the dirty chai, a sweet chai latte made deliciously corrupt by a shot of espresso and his penchant for staying up all night ($3.75–$4.55). Practicing percolators can select a bag of beans or a sack of leaves for home brewing from the bulk coffee and tea menu, which includes exotic teas such as Moroccan mint and organic coffees such as the ambrosial Costa Rican, which blends hints of spice and nutty nuances before taking a balanced stand on the palate. The Coffee House also serves a full menu of café edibles, such as sandwiches, soups, salads, and smoothies, sure to rev up any eating engine.
Pekadill's serves up a carefully constructed menu featuring toppling towers of deli meats and cheeses in a structurally sound, garden-bound cottage. Budding with branches of lettuce, onion, and tomato, the Hambirder sandwich ($4.95–$6.95) features a cold cut combo of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese, nestled inside finely sliced light rye. Sunflower seeds inside the veggie croissant brighten your dark, dreary insides, and come in a crusty cornucopia along with avocado, swiss cheese, cucumber, sprouts, and ranch dressing ($6.95). Starting April 1, Pekadill's starts serving ice cream, including a sweet peanut butter shake ($4.50) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream hand-packed into a house-made cone ($3.50).
Wolfies's cooks appease aggressive appetites with a menu of hand-tossed pizzas and subs forged from hearty ingredients. Challenge chompers to vanquish the formidable Junkyard pizza, a cheese-smothered symphony of meats, including pepperoni, ground beef, and bacon, accompanied by an ensemble of green peppers and scat-singing mushrooms ($19.99 for 14"). The Farmer's Market pizza ($17.99 for 14") is a vegetarian utopia where onions, olives, and tomatoes coexist without bickering about the difference between fruit and vegetables. The Wicked Wolf Laker sub's carnivorous creation is composed of a half-pound burger shrouded in roast beef and ham ($7.99) and the Yacht Club sub ($6.99) invites palates aboard a savory vessel crewed by turkey, bacon, and ham. Arrange a virtual meeting of your speed-parcheesi team using Wolfies's free wireless Internet or call ahead to reserve the Side Room, a 20-person seating area replete with a television and DVD and VCR players.
A local fixture since the early 1900s, Old Channel Inn serves up a menu focusing on seafood and American edibles in a rustic lakeside environment. Give pressing hunger matters immediate attention with a starter of clam strips ($7.75), or opt for onion rings ($3.50) clad in delectable fried armor that makes them both inviting to taste buds and impervious to attack by other snacks. Most of the main coursery— including the walleye, which comes lightly breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown ($16.95)—is served with salad and a choice of potato or vegetable. Those more interested in bites of bovine bliss can avail themselves of the prime rib, which is cooked to order and served with au jus ($16.95). Pasta primavera ($11.95) caters to meat-free oral environments, and an assortment of hand-friendly sandwiches, such as a classic reuben ($7.95) or OCI turkey club ($7.95), allows diners to carry on conversations with their silverware uninterrupted.