Antlers Restaurant: Not for Stuffed Shirts

Restaurant Review

Michigan:  Sault Ste. Marie

Antlers Restaurant attracts a group who like to hang out at the bar. They tend to be outlandish and wild, yet remain in a state of suspended animation. They definitely don’t belong in the stuffed shirt preppy crowd. You see, some of Antlers loyal patrons dangle from the rafters and walls– they are actually taxidermy critters, often sprouting expansive racks. 

The decor of preserved animals far outnumbers the customers who sit among the mounted species: mountain lions, beaver, coyote, a polar bear, mink, squirrels, moose, deer, elk and fish. The menu connects with the theme: venison pie, wild game lasagna and moose tracks sundae. 

The place had a colorful start as the Bucket of Blood Saloon and Ice Cream Parlor, the ice cream part, a cover-up during Prohibition. The place was closed by the internal revenue agents who discovered that it sold only one quart of ice cream a month, and yet took in a profit of $900.

Town legend says many of the Antlers specimens were traded by trappers in exchange for booze. The establishment is so rustic that the old TV show, Gunsmoke, filmed three episodes within its colorful walls.

The saloon’s history dates back through four generations and six families of owners, with the Kinney family contributing most of the memorabilia. The current owners, the Szabo and Cunningham families purchased the establishment in 2009.

The restaurant is also loud, known for boat whistles, horns and hair-raising announcements that blare from the PA at regular intervals. St. Patrick’s Day is heartily celebrated with green beer and dancing on the tables.

You’ll find this fine collection of fur, feathers and fish on Portage Avenue at the south-end of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The joint is open from 9am to 9pm Sunday – Thursday, Friday and Saturday open till 10pm. Come in for a Soo Stew Canoe on freshly baked bread filled with Michigan gumbo or the Paul Bunyan burger, but be careful what you say. The walls have ears.

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.

If You Go

Antler’s Restaurant
804 E Portage Ave
Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783
(906) 253-1728

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