Enjoy a Lake Michigan View from Dunes Pavilion

For a while I've been hearing buzz about renovations at the Dunes Pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park. It had been quite a while since I'd been to the Dunes - like maybe close to a decade. I remembered the historic building and was excited that it would be upgraded and put to better use.

Last month the long awaited opening of the restaurant took place. My friend and I were planning to do a hang out day at the beach and upon arrival we stopped first at the restaurant to see how long it might take to get a table. I'd been hearing that tables have been in high demand and there's been long waits to be seated. We wanted to eat on the patio and were told it would be about an hour wait. 

We couldn't really go far and get comfortable on the beach since there's not a pager system or intercom system for the restaurant, so you kind of just have to hang out close by or have a seat at the bar if it's open so that they can easily find you when you're table's ready. We sat on a table near the concession stand while we waited and were pleasantly surprised when it only took about 15 minutes for us to be seated. 

It was a steamy Sunday afternoon and a great day to sit on the patio and take in the water and people watch. We were hungry, too, and couldn't wait to get in. I had kind of been expecting a fine dining menu - I don't know why I had that in my head. There really weren't entrees, but more casual bites like pizza, sandwiches, salads and appetizers, which is probably more appropriate when it's a really hot day at the beach and you're looking for something lighter.

My favorite item was an appetizer called the ricotta cloud. The cheese was so creamy and fluffy, topped with basil, honey and chopped grape tomatoes and served with flatbread loaded with garlic, oil and cheese.

My friend got the steak salad with shaved steak, shaved parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes over a bed of arugula with balsamic vinaigrette.

I got the blackened grouper sandwich. The fish was magnificent and I ate way too many of those crispy fries.

And while I'm usually ALL about the food, this place is also all about the view. The rooftop lounge has really spectacular views and it you want to get a perfect glimpse of the sunset over Lake Michigan, this is the perfect place to do so.

There's also a nice cocktail menu with some cute theme names. Sipping one of these while looking out on the stunning lake view is paradise - and makes you feel like you're far from Indiana in a place much more tropical.

The Dunes Pavilion restaurant is such a nice addition to the state park. I love seeing this use of such a historic building and of course, I love see such nice food and drink options right there on the beach. For more information, visit dunespavilion.com.