A Cruising Sailor's Best of Lake Huron's North Channel: Part 2

The North Channel's Best Eats (Part 2 of 5)

You don’t cruise the North Channel because you’re on a culinary quest. In fact, some of the very best food in the North Channel can be had by dropping a fishing line over your transom. Invariably, however, North Channel cruisers will come in to port from time to time to have a meal prepared for them and relax a bit on shore. When this time comes, the following are some of the places to consider.

Best Lunch: Herbert Fisheries, Killarney
Just as the Benjamin Islands are the most talked about and most frequented islands in the North Channel, Herbert Fisheries is likely the most well-known and popular spot to grab a bite to eat. If ever there was a restaurant atmosphere befitting the North Channel, Herbert Fisheries has it. An old school bus has been painted red and white and converted to a makeshift kitchen and service counter. All of the tables are of the picnic variety and are located on a deck overlooking the dock where the commercial fishing boat pulls in daily to offload fresh fish to Herbert’s. The menu is simple: deep-fried fish, chips (fries) and slaw. That’s about it. There’s a self-serve condiment table with several varieties of vinegar to dip your fish into. If you go to Herbert Fisheries, and you should, don’t forget you’ll be eating outside so you want decent weather and they only accept cash. If the sun is out and you’ve got loonies in your pocket, you can’t beat the flavor and setting of fish and chips from the bus on the dock.

Best Dinner: Meldrum Bay Inn, Meldrum Bay (Cockburn Island)
These days there’s not much to bring a cruiser into port at Meldrum Bay. The marina is rather run down (a new marina is in the works) and there’s nothing within walking distance except Meldrum Bay Inn. In fact, if it weren’t for a customs check-in spot and port of refuge on the trip between Drummond Island and Manitoulin Island, most cruisers would likely skip Meldrum Bay and Cockburn Island altogether. If you do find yourself in Meldrum Bay, stop by the Meldrum Bay Inn just across the street from the marina for a great home cooked dinner. As you walk up the big covered porch at the inn, you’ll feel like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home even before you enter the cozy living room and wait on the couch for your table. If you brought your laptop you can enjoy the free WiFi Internet service. The eating area is small with few tables so you might consider reservations during July and August. The Meldrum Bay Inn is family run by friendly locals who make most of the meals from scratch. Fresh walleye, steak and ribs are the most popular menu choices. There’s also a full bar if you’re in need of a sundowner. The menu prices are a bit on the high side, but what else would you expect on a small isolated island when getting good service and great food?

Desert/Indulgence: Farquhar Dairies, Little Current
With short summers and long, cold winters, the North Channel might be the last place you’d expect to find some of the world’s best ice cream. The Farquhar family and Farquhar Daires have been producing excellent ice cream and dairy products for years in the relative isolation of Manitoulin Island. However, there’s not a North Channel cruiser to be found that hasn’t tried a cone of some of their ice cream. The flavor selection is excellent, including a local favorite made with hawberries, and the consistency is rich and creamy. If you’re strolling the waterfront in Little Current or simply waiting for the swing bridge to open, take a few minutes to stop by Farquhar’s and treat yourself to the some of the best ice cream anywhere.

Go here to read Part 3 - The North Channel's Best Marinas


  1. Kevin just a comment in general. Is that you guys selling Island Bound in Muskegon at Torrensen?
    Skipper E-J
    s/v "Sailmates" 32' Irwin Classic Sloop


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