Dockers Fish House and Lounge might just be the closest thing to Key West you’ll find in western Michigan. The most coveted seats in the house are on the covered waterfront patio, where colorful art and laid-back service combine to create a Jimmy Buffett-style atmosphere. The seafood is more ocean-oriented than lake, and though many ingredients may not be local, they do pair well with the scenery.
Located in the Harbour Town Marina near the Pere Marquette beach, Dockers opened in 1997 with a focus on fun, casual dining. The setting is scenic; even indoor diners get lake views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The deck area, known as the Awning, looks out on the harbor, and the Tiki bar is hopping on the weekends with live music and beachy cocktails.
We had high hopes for this place, but sadly, our experience entailed service so slow, we had to go looking for our waitress to pay our bill. The lobster crab cakes ($13.99) were disappointingly dry with very little sauce, and we found the acclaimed shark tacos just so-so. Among the wide range of other seafood choices, local perch or lobster-crab mac and cheese might be better selections, but we're not in a hurry to go back and find out. Most fish entrees run $20 to $28; baskets with chips and cole slaw go for $9 to $14.