1212 S. Ironwood Dr.
South Bend Indiana 46615United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Hensell's Oaken Bucket is a legendary burger joint with an outdoor deck overlooking the St. Joseph River.
The menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and homemade soups is only part of the Oaken Bucket's appeal. It's an institution where everyone feels like a regular. We arrived at lunchtime and the parking lot was packed. Outside, it looks pretty rough; once inside, it's dark, smoky and unappealing. But downstairs a bright, sunlit room was a pleasant surprise, and that's where we found access to the restaurant's two-level outdoor dining deck overlooking the St. Joseph River. Also, no smoking! We found a melting pot of people enjoying the experience -- the office lunch crowd in suits, senior citizens, young moms with kids and university students. We enjoyed excellent burgers, onion rings and oaken chips (deep fried, sliced baked potato). Our appetites wouldn't stretch far enough, but owner Art Hensell recommends the King Burger, a full pound of Black Angus beef with grilled onions and cheddar cheese sauce on an 8-inch bun for $10.99. They have a full bar and a special tiki bar on Fridays. A generous meal and one of their draft beers will cost you less than $15. Though the exterior looks gnarly and the indoor ambience is lacking, the food is really good, and the Oaken Bucket is a great place to enjoy the river, watch the game or gather with friends.