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Tasting the wings at Redamak's, a longtime Lake Michigan burger destination

In college I hung out with a couple people who lived in Michigan City. It was a small town compared to the metropolis of Chicagoland, so there were only a few places for kids in their late teens to get something to eat.

When we went someplace special, it was a trek up U.S. 12 to New Buffalo, Mich., at Redamak’s.

This place is mostly known for its burgers. The sign is a portly kid who I always thought was a look-a-like to the guy on Mad Magazine. The burgers come out fast food style wrapped in parchment paper.

I’ll admit that the local love for the ground beef patty is justified. The meat has an onion flavor and is never stiff or dried out. It is a darn fine burger.

One time my Michigan City friends and I were hanging around with a group of people from Germany. They didn’t know much English, but I was tasked with driving a couple of them around town as I had a valid U.S. driver’s license.

I guess we ended up going to Redamak’s to show them an example of “fine American cuisine.” For some reason that day I ordered a jumbo hot dog. I am not someone to put a whole bunch of condiments on my hot dog, so I got it plain.

When it came out, one of the German dudes muttered a phrase that will forever change my ordering habits at a restaurant. He didn’t know much English, but he was able to point at my meal and say, “hot dog…naked.”

Talk about spoiling your dinner. I have never been able to eat a jumbo hot dog again. Who knows — if it weren’t for that day, you may be reading about the history of the frankfurter right now.

Luckily, when I met my wife many years later, she was a fan of Redamak’s. We head out there about once or twice every summer and eat some mighty fine burgers. The mini tacos have become a favorite of ours, too.

So how do the wings stand up? Well, they are pretty small, but good.

Redamak’s, 616 E. Buffalo St., New Buffalo, has become a popular destination for people from Chicago to visit. They leave the big city and head to the other side of the lake where many people in Cubs shirts and Blackhawk hats look for antiques and sit on the beach. It gives the place more of a landmark status like Harry’s Chocolate Shop at Purdue.

The wings are small and the price is big. It is $6.50 for six, giving a CPW of 108 cents for wings just larger than a half-dollar. All is forgiven, though, because you go to the place for burgers and – let’s face it – it is still probably cheaper than getting wings in Chicago.

Size and price aside, these are some pretty tasty wings. They come breaded and deep fried. I’m pretty sure they are even deep fried after getting the sauce, as it seems to be cooked right into the breading.

The sauce had a small buffalo heat with a slight mustard flavor, kind of like in a Carolina barbecue sauce.

The small amount of chicken inside was nice and juicy. It went along good with my cheeseburger, although I still recommend just getting the mini tacos instead of the wings.

I know many of those in Michiana have heard of Redamak’s and most of those have been there. I urge those who haven’t to take a little trip out there on the weekend on a hot summer day and enjoy a mighty fine burger, and some wings if you are really in the mood and want to spend the money. It just may be best to get there at a late lunch or an early dinner to cut down on the large crowds.

For more commentary on the chicken wings of Michiana from Mike Tomko, sign up for the Taste These Broken Wings email newsletter.

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