Crockery Creek Saloon

Creek Water, grub and so much more at this Nunica saloon

General Manager Danielle Nichols serves Creek Water at Crockery Creek Saloon.
General Manager Danielle Nichols serves Creek Water at Crockery Creek Saloon.
Photos by Elizabeth Granger

I had dined at Nunica’s Crockery Creek Saloon (17044 Main St) but seeing a note on the website had me dumbfounded. Bartender Jeanie Meredith filled me in — not up — on the “Creek Water.” 

When I parked myself on a barstool to ask about the drink, Meredith nodded toward a jug sitting on the back bar. It looked a bit like lemonade — actually, more like pink grapefruit juice. But fruit juice this isn’t. This potable is potent. What else would you expect of five kinds of moonshine mixed together? With a cherry thrown in.

“You have to eat the cherry,” Meredith told me. “It’s a rite of passage.”

The CC burger, served with fries and slaw.
The CC burger, served with fries and slaw.

Biting into that innocent-looking piece of fruit was like downing a shot of unfamiliar, scorching liquor in one gulp. I immediately fell into a coughing frenzy. My eyes watered. I swear I forgot how to breathe for a moment. I thought I might need an EMT. It was a heady piece of fruit, intoxicating on its own. It had been steeping in moonshine for how long?

Surprisingly, the drink tasted rather sweet. Flavorful. Innocent. 

That was misleading. Five flavors of moonshine, remember? 

“And I’m not going to tell you what they are,” said Meredith. “Because that’s a secret.”

The limited “Creek Water” is served in canning jars. No one is poured more than two glasses of the tantalizing but knock-you-off-that-barstool drink during a visit to the bar.

Rob’s CC Pizza.
Rob’s CC Pizza.

The bartenders keep track. When patrons try to cajole with an “ah, c’mon now — just one more,” they’re met with a shaking head.

The Saloon isn’t far from Crockery Creek, on a long-standing site that once had a bar that also sold groceries. The post office once shared the building.

In 2016, resident Robert Vokal purchased the then-Nunica Bar and changed its name.

Every so often, there’s a cowboy hat-wearing patron. And, oh yeah — a swinging saloon door. Word has it there used to be a hitching post for horses.

While saloon grub may conjure up thoughts of beef — and beef is definitely on the menu — turns out the number one item is pizza. In particular, Rob’s CC pizza that includes pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and herbs. There is also a BBQ chicken pizza and the option to build your own.

Deep fried perch — one of many “homestyle features” on the restaurant’s menu.
Deep fried perch — one of many “homestyle features” on the restaurant’s menu.

As for beef, the “Sugah Mama” burger is a diner favorite. The surprise? Olive sauce; it’s worth trying.

Other popular items include fish like the deep-fried perch, walleye, and pike.

And the not-so-common smelt.

“It’s something my dad (Vokal) wanted to offer,” said general manager Danielle Nichols. “It’s something he likes.”

“We get a lot of people that are just passing through,” Nichols said. They can count on regulars and newcomers to drop in.

Crockery Creek Saloon
17044 Main St, Nunica
(616) 384-3702

11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday
11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Noon – 8 p.m. on Sunday
Closed on Monday

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