Isolation. Quarantine. Social distancing. Whatever you want to call this, it’s hard! Like many of you, I’m having a tough time coping. I want to be with people! Frankly, the mafia (my cats) have been acting quirkier than usual. I think they are plotting something sinister. I woke up one morning with a headless mouse in my bed. OK, it was a toy; nevertheless, it was a warning. I’ve been binging on the Netflix series “Ozark” so my mind may be playing tricks on me. Life is a challenge.

Another challenge is writing my column. I miss dining out — actually sitting down in a restaurant, with friends, and enjoying good food, wine, and the ambiance. I’m looking ahead this week; hopefully, we’ll be able to get out and travel.

I was saving this column for the summer. I hope it will give you something to look forward to. Whether a day trip or for a weekend, I hope you put this restaurant on your list of places to visit.

Before he passed, Jim Tripp, a Kankakee County Board member, always shared places to visit. “You’ve got to try this,” he’d say. Jim never let me down; the venues were excellent! He suggested Redamak’s in New Buffalo, Michigan. As the sign states, “The Hamburger that Made New Buffalo, Michigan, Famous!!”

Dave and I visited Redamak on our way home from Saugatuck, Michigan. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season before I could write the column.

The restaurant is owned by Jim and Angie Maroney, who purchased the restaurant from the original owners Gladys and George Redamak. The restaurant is seasonal, eight months a year, March to October, and with the “stay at home” order, I suggest calling before you go.

Dave and I visited Redamak after our annual family “Christmas in October” in Saugatuck.

What guests enjoy the most besides the food is the ambiance. The younger generation may not remember some of the items, but for most of us — “hey, boomer!” — it will bring back many memories. An antique candy machine stands beside a mechanical horse — remember the one outside of the A & P in Meadowview?

Since we visited in October, we ordered the soup — Angie’s home-style chili or they do have the soup of the day. We also ordered their hand-dipped onion rings, which were spectacular. For larger groups, I suggest one of the combos.

Staying with their specialty, we ordered the famous hamburger. It was delicious and juicy. If you’re into Velveeta, try the Velveeta burger. Add some chili, olives, grilled onions, just about anything to the burger. I recommend only the burger without all the frills; it was good. Of course, they offer bison, turkey, black bean, and cauliflower quinoa meatless burger. I like adventure, so when we go back in October, I’m ordering their new Wilson Street burger with a Parmesan garlic sauce with Swiss Cheese and grilled onions served on a Brioche bun. Dave will probably wear a protective face mask on the way home, so he doesn’t have to smell my garlic breath!

The burgers come with French fries but upscale a bit and try some of their other sides like the sloppy fries, tater tots, sweet potato fries, or Red’s chips — deep-fried potato chips with cheddar cheese sauce and bacon bits.

There are salads, wraps, hot dogs, and a variety of seafood entrees — something for everyone in the family. Redamak’s is kid-friendly with a game room for kids of any age.

Make it a weekend getaway with the family. It’s near Lake Michigan with beautiful beaches, plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts, casinos, Galien Country Park for long walks, and even a little wine tasting if you’d like. Lemon Creek and St. Julian vineyards are a short drive away. Michigan has excellent blueberry farms and in the fall apple orchards.

Please call before you plan a trip and make sure you check out Redamak’s Facebook page or website for more information. No one knows when it will be safe to travel again.

New Buffalo is less than two hours from Kankakee, a little longer if you take the scenic route and stop along the way.

Redamak’s is located at 616 E. Buffalo St., New Buffalo, Michigan. Call 269-469-4522.

I recommend this restaurant. We’ll be back this October for sure.

***

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and with social distancing, it will be challenging to know whether you’re able to take Mom out for brunch or dinner. However, Mom deserves her special day. I’ve been gathering information from local restaurants who are already planning for Mom. I applaud all of them who provided excellent Easter dinners. It was impressive, and I know Mother’s Day will be just as special.

I’ll have a few recommendations for you very soon. Remember to support local businesses and take time to thank those who are caring for all the patients in the area.

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