The History of Harbor’s Only Waterfront Dining
The Pier Restaurant has been a waterfront landmark in Harbor Springs since before prohibition and was Mr. Smith’s first test with expansion.
In 1970 Stafford was approached by Pete Campbell, a Chicago Stock Yard meat purveyor, about his interest in buying the restaurant. Knowing that he needed to expand his business to include a year round property, the “Harbor Pier” seemed like the right move.
On March 1, 1970, the Pier became the first acquisition of Stafford’s Hospitality and Stafford’s current president, Dudley Marvin was asked to manage the facility.
Dudley had worked previously for Stafford at Boyne Highland’s Bartley House. Recently released from the Navy, Dudley contacted Stafford and asked about potential employment. Stafford mentioned his new acquisition and asked Dudley to manage it. Dudley Marvin was general manager at the Pier until 1985 when he also took on the responsibility of another property and was eventually made president of the company.
An All New Meaning to “On the Water”
As is the case with most renowned watering holes, it is the bartender who boasts the greatest knowledge of real stories about the establishment.
The truth can be said for the Pier’s Bar Manager, Dale Beatty. Dale has been serving libations to the property’s visitors since 1960 when his father bought the already established business. Paul S. (Pete) Beatty owned the restaurant with his young son as the bartender from 1960-1967.
Built before prohibition, the original structure consisted only of the current Chart Room. The Pointer Room was added in about 1970 and was a project of extreme detail and planning requiring the services of the Army Corps of Engineers. A request was made to extend the property out over the water and to build a new dining room with spectacular views of the popular harbor. 75 ft. pilings were planted in the waters of the harbor in preparation for the Pointer Room. The end result is what we have today, Harbor Springs premier dining area, quite literally on the water.
Today the Pier serves a busy year round clientele with the busiest day of the year being America’s Birthday, July 4th. It is on that day that the Pier serves over 6,000 bottles of beer to a celebratory crowd.