Sunset Grille celebrated the end of an awesome summer with live music by Brian Wheatbrook and a mouthwatering buffet. Located right on the shore of Lake Michigan and completing its second year of service, the rooftop bar and grill has been the new hot spot for summertime fun. As the year comes to a close, the entire staff and Michigan City community are already excited for the next season to begin.
Julie Krause, one of the general managers of Sunset Grille, loves making the grille a place where people of all ages can come hang out and relax. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays they bring in local, typically acoustic artists to help create that relaxing atmosphere so community members can sit back and enjoy good food and a great sunset.
“When you’re out here in the summer, this is the place to go—it’s a great venue with a great view of the sunset,” Krause said. “We look forward to being a part of the community and Washington Park, we try to stay as local as we can with our [food and beverages], and we’re excited to be the ones to be able to give this beautiful place back to the community.”
Sunset Grille has high volume, high intensity summers with beach concessions, the rooftop bar, and community-wide events. While much of the staff are looking forward to some time off, it’s still bittersweet saying goodbye for now to community members with whom they’ve spent the entire summer.
Mike Wilkins, the other general manager of Sunset Grille, is a big fan of the Great Lakes Grand Prix boat race, and is glad to be a central part of it with such a stellar view. But nothing beats the sunsets and meeting new friends.
“We have a good team, I’m proud of my people,” Wilkins said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people from a lot of places and I’ve gotten to make some new friendships that I otherwise wouldn’t have.”
The grille participates in most of the events going on and near the beach while also creating their own events for the community. Social hours, concerts, beer and food tastings, holiday celebrations, and so much more keep the calendar full from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September.
Michelle Stapleton, the head chef of Sunset Grille, has been a chef for 18 years and was brought on as part of the original Sunset Grille team when they opened. She has nothing but praise for her team and for working with Julie Krause and Mike Wilkins. Stapleton also wants the community to know that they’re always open to suggestions on the menu.
“I love it here, I really, really do because I get to see the sunrise every morning coming to work, and every night after work,” Stapleton said. “Watching the business grow from last year to this year and knowing that next year is going to be even better is amazing. It’s really coming together.”
Kent and Judy Lange are regulars at the Sunset Grille, and often come just to get out of the house and relax by the beach. Their favorite part is seeing people they haven’t seen in ages, which happens almost every time they’re out.
“We’ve been coming since it opened up a couple years ago and it’s just a neat place to be and a great place to watch the sunset,” Kent said. “There are a lot of people who come up here for the first time and go, ‘How long has this been here? Why haven’t I come before?’ It's just such a nice place.”
“The people who work here are wonderful,” Judy said. “Sundays get kind of boring sometimes, so it’s nice to have somewhere to go on Sunday evenings and we’re gonna miss it.”
The rain held off so that Sunset Grille could close their season with a bang. A full house and a nice breeze brought out families of all ages to send off summer. To stay up to date with Sunset Grille and next year’s events, go to www.sunsetgrilleatthebeach.com/.