The Showboat struggles to stay afloat
This winter, we took our annual pilgrimage to Frankenmuth’s Christmas mecca, Bronner’s. Usually we take M-57 across the state, but have found it to be heavily traveled with few places to stop and eat along the way. So instead, we took an alternate route via M-21 most of the way, which had less traffic and took us through some interesting little burgs like Saint Johns and Owosso.
Before we ventured out, I discovered the Showboat Restaurant on Broad Street (M-57) at Chapman in picturesque Chesaning. Several restaurant sites featured rave reviews by patrons so I figured it was worth a try on our trip home. Our experience: Okay. Just okay. Not bad, but not exceptional either.
My wife Sandee ate light: A bowl of New England clam chowder and a side of cottage cheese. She shared a spoonful of her clam chowder with me, and we both agreed that it was tasty. But then, so is the stuff that comes out of that can with the red and white label. As far as cottage cheese goes, unless it’s green and fuzzy, there’s not much you can do to screw it up.
Our daughter Stephanie ordered the Tuscan Romaine, a pasta and chicken entree. Her dinner came with garlic toast and a trip to the salad bar. She found the salad bar rather disappointing, with a limited selection. This is surprising for a Friday evening which is a prime time dining out night. Her meal was again, okay, but light years from say, Olive Garden.
I ordered the Mary Jo salad, a bowl of lettuce, chicken breast, apples, red seedless grapes, croutons, and walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette on the side. Our waitress said that it was a house favorite. That may be, but I’ve found similar salads elsewhere much tastier.
On the plus side, the Showboat Restaurant is Chesaning’s oldest dining spot, so this mom and pop operation must be doing something right; I found rave reviews online. Perhaps we just caught them at an off time, or perhaps it was just us. (Consider that we had spent the afternoon at Bronner’s, bedazzled by a gazillion ornaments and flashing lights all while listening to Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas.”) The Showboat’s decor is comfortable and the service was fast and friendly, and they don’t scrimp on portion sizes. Our bill for our meals plus soft drinks all around came to a little over $27.
All things considered, we probably will give them a try again some other time. However, we spotted at least one interesting eatery while passing through Owosso, and we have yet to explore Saint Johns. Yup, I think M-21 is the new road to Christmas mecca for us. I only wish the late Mr. Ives would just rest in peace and stop singing to me.Showboat, The ( Rating: out of 5 )
Where: 242 West Broad Street, Chesaning
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day except Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.
Ambiance: Typical American, family-friendly restaurant
Credit cards: All major
Contact: (989) 845-2830