Belvedere Inn & Restaurant

As a rule, we’re wary of sweetbreads. We’ve never been able to wrap our minds (or taste buds) around the concept of organ meat as entrée. But our attitude was forever changed following a visit to one of the best-kept secrets in Saugatuck, Michigan. Dine in during your stay at the Belvedere Inn & Restaurant ($215 to $325 a night), and you’ll encounter a $50, four-course, prix-fixe feast tantalizing enough to make culinary adventurers of even conservative eaters. The featured sweetbreads are simply luscious, as is the Chateaubriand and the swordfish steak. Before crafting the Belvedere’s dinner menu, the Galway born, ex-Bucktown resident Parker Shaun Glynn spent years in Chicago concocting recipes as an executive chef for the Hilton hotel chain and the director of operations for Sopraffina Marketcaffe. In 2003, Glynn and his partner Pete Ta—an investment banker—left Bucktown for Saugatuck and refashioned the then-down-at-its-heels Belvedere into a destination.

Today, the 97-year-old Prairie-style estate is a combination of Arcadia (the grounds evoke a tasteful version of Versailles) and that mansion where Keira Knightley’s character lived in Atonement. Jennifer Holliday was a recent guest at the Belvedere Suite, a merger of old-world elegance (lots of burnished wood and antiques) and decadent modern conveniences (the two-person Jacuzzi has 10 jets.) Still, Chef Glynn’s dinner menu isn’t common knowledge. He and Ta have yet to really market the menu, which includes vegetarian options alongside those sweetbreads and an apple tatin with Garden of Eden levels of delicious, apple-y decadence.

Off the main drag in Saugatuck, the Belvedere is ideal for contemplative, quiet seclusion. Should you want to be in the midst of the galleries, restaurants, and shops that make Saugatuck the Provincetown of the Midwest (a LGBT-friendly haven for artists and tourists alike) head for the Bentley Waterfront Suites ($150 to $325 a night) or consider splurging on the Bellevue Harbour House ($2,900 to $4,000 a week), which has accommodations for eight and a private dock for your yacht. Also owned by Glynn and Ta, both are within steps of bars and beaches.

GO The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant, 3656 63rd St., Saugatuck; 877-858-5777; The Bentley Waterfront Suites, 326 Water St., Saugatuck; 877-858-5777; Bellevue Harbour House, 419 Lake St., Saugatuck; 877-858-5777,

Things To Do in Saugatuck

  • See the town (and learn its history) via Segway. An hour-long tour (and a lesson in riding the vehicles) is $35.
    GO Fun & Sun Entertainment, 149 Griffith St. (at the White House Bistro); 616-610-0399;
  • See the town (and learn its maritime history) from the Kalamazoo River. During the summer, the best time to ride the Star of Saugatuck II is 8 p.m. in July and 7:30 p.m. in August; you’ll avoid the midday heat and, weather permitting, catch the sunset. The 90-minute cruise is $17; cash, checks, or debit card only.
    GO Saugatuck Boat Cruises, 716 Water St.; 269-857-4261,
  • Eat lunch at the Elbo Room. The place looks like a hole-in-the-wall, but it has lovely riverfront views and a menu that includes OMG-worthy avocado French fries that just may be the best fried foodstuff we have ever eaten.
    GO The Elbo Room, 880 Holland St., Saugatuck; 269- 857-8646,

Best Deal of the Week

The Tremont Chicago Hotel on the Mag Mile is offering a fun birthday-related promotion. Book a two- or three-night stay ($159 to $209) and the cost of the final night will correspond to the year of your birth. The older you are, the more you’ll save. No fancy math required: If you were born in 1962, your final night is $62. 1948? $48. If you are celebrating your centennial, you get a room for $10. (Caveat: When you call, prepare to hold. We had to wait 10 minutes before reaching a live person—but worth it, we figure, for a $62 room.)
GO The Tremont Chicago Hotel, 100 E. Chestnut St.; 312-751-1900,