Harbor Country Eats: Gustavsen Pizza, Pleasant House Bakery And Local

Three reasons to visit Harbor Country right now

Just around the southern curve of Lake Michigan lie the towns of Harbor Country, an area packed with pristine beaches, quality antiques and, increasingly, excellent food.

We don't consider summer complete without a day trip to the Lake's leafy eastern shores–which, on a Saturday or a weekday, are a quick hour-and-a-half drive away.

Bookend an afternoon of sunning and antiquing with meals at two newcomers, and stock up on smoky, meaty souvenirs.

Gustavsen: Willard Gustavsen, a longtime producer of pizza ovens, is behind the blistered, beautiful pies at this casual and minimalistic new Buchanan pizza shop. Forks are plastic and the menu is bare bones, but the pizza is top-notch. The cheeseless marinara is especially striking, scattered with fresh and dried oregano, chile flakes and caramelized garlic ($10). Visit in the morning, too, for Norwegian sweetbreads and house-roasted coffee.

Trifle at Pleasant House

Pleasant House Bakery: The Three Oaks outpost of this Bridgeport bakery opened last month with an exciting addition: a brewery. Pair mushroom-and-kale pie ($8) with nutty, crisp dry stout, a malty ESP (extra-special bitter), or other British-style suds made with English hops and malts. Finish with lemon-blueberry trifle studded with sweet local berries ($5) and an iced Stumptown coffee ($2).

The butcher case at Local

Local: This New Buffalo butcher shop and market acquired a smoker in the spring, and is packing it with pork chops, baby back ribs, turkey legs, pork tenderloin, chicken and bacon.