Restaurants open all the time. To stay in business they have to have great food and be able to evolve with their clientele. Terry's Terrace in Harrison Township has done just that – and mastered it. Open for 74 years, this Lake St. Clair institution has been offering seafood, great beers and a comfortable place to hang since your grandfather was little (or longer for some of you younger folks.)
As an eastsider for a long time now, I had eaten at Terry's before and enjoyed it. When I went back, I was surprised to find how much had changed and how much had stayed the same. Newly renovated, the inside is comfy and spacious. Detroit area historical pieces adorn the walls – not in a cheesy chain restaurant kind of way – but in a first-hand witness way. The menu had been updated but all the tried-and-true favorites were still there. And then there's the beer choices... but I'll get to that.
Lots of places have some kind of appetizer sampler, but Terry's goes all out. The Team Platter comes with chicken tenders, spinach dip, cheese sticks, potato skins and beer-battered shrimp. For the seafood lovers, the Lake St. Clair sampler offers a crabcake, calamari, PEI mussels, crab-stuffed mushrooms and beer-battered shrimp. When you make it through all of that, try the BBQ baby back ribs. The dry-rubbed pork ribs are coated in a Jack Daniels sauce and just fall off the bone. (They also have an excellent Oysters Rockafellar.)
Known for their fish n' chips (on their menu since the beginning), Terry's offers three versions. The traditional breadcrumb-coated Cod filets, the Sam Adams beer-battered, and a Summer Shandy beer batter for the summer. All are delicious and come with choice of potato and soup, salad or cole slaw. I recommend the seasoned fries. The kitchen has new specials all the time, like their berry almond salad. Made with spring mix, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, grilled chicken and served with a raspberry vinegarette. (Chef Matty likes to try new recipes and keep you guessing.)
Now to get back to the beer. Beer lovers like variety, and few places offer as many as Terry's Terrace. With over 100 imported and domestic bottles available, you're sure to find a favorite. Their Suds Club challenges you to try at least 99 different bottles. With no time limit, those who complete the challenge get a plaque on the wall, $1 off drafts for life, a gift card and – most importantly – bragging rights. They also have a Tap Tour challenge to try all 24 beers on tap for a personalized mug made just for you. Rewards don't stop at the drinks either. Terry's has a Diner Card where loyal customers earn points for stopping in and get discounts on birthdays, anniversaries and earn gift cards.
Every day Terry's gives you a great reason to drop by. Their Monday special is endless crab for $29.99. Tuesday offers twin lobster tails for $16.99 along with double points for Diners Card members. Wednesdays has endless batter-fried Perch. Thursdays are endless shrimp and Quizzo, and Fridays start the party with $5 Long Island iced teas.
Within walking distance of the lake and marinas, Terry's has become an institution for good reason. Great atmosphere, even greater food, an insane variety of drinks and excellent service have kept people coming back for generations. | RDW