Sometimes the most delicious food comes from the most unexpected places.
As Mardi Gras approached, many Michiana residents inquired about the best place to go for Cajun food. The answer: in who-woulda-thunk Edwardsburg, MI.
In 2011, husband and wife Cameron and Kate Horne bought the former Garver Lake Bar in Edwardsburg, MI and completely cut and polished it into the hidden gem that is now Fat Cam’s at Garver Lake.
Cameron acquired the nickname “Fat Cam” 20 years ago while working at Stacy’s Food and Spirits. “One night the crew was joking around and decided to come up with gangster nicknames for each other. Cameron’s was ‘Fat Cam’ because he’s a tall, broad-shouldered guy,” says Kate. “And it stuck.”
“We struggled for a few weeks deciding on a name for the restaurant when it finally dawned on us. People know you as Fat Cam, so why not call it something people already know?”
In the spirit of taking what people already knew and running with it, the idea for a Cajun inspired menu came about. “A few years ago we hosted a dinner party at our house for our friends and Cameron made his first ever batch of gumbo. Everyone loved it. It is the same recipe we use at Fat Cam’s today,” says Kate.
Since opening in 2012, the menu has been slowly evolving—with fresh, affordable, and high caliber food proving to be the non-negotiables—and has shifted from being Cajun-centric to include more comfort food dishes. While comfort food may look different from person to person, the common thread is that comfort food promises solace is much as it does fuel—those nostalgic warm fuzzies you get from comfort food feed you in both body and soul.
The comfort food at Fat Cam’s certainly has this effect on people, but it’s also on a level all its own. It’s nourishing, strikes the perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy, and eating it feels like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even know you had.
Some of these dishes include a colorful bowl of refined, yet homey shrimp and grits showcasing perfectly cooked shrimp sat atop a luscious helping of creamy grits with a nuanced smokiness as well as crawfish étouffée brimming with succulent crawfish (that you don’t have to fish around for) smothered in a rich, boldly flavored sauce begging to be sopped up by the accompanying sweet-salty-crunchy-fluffy hush puppies.
Then there’s the gumbo of dinner party fame that set it all in motion. Fat Cam’s gumbo is built on humble rusticity and a dark roux, which gives it backbone while a well-balanced cocktail of Cajun spices leave your taste buds singing a jazzy little tune.
Beyond the regular menu, Fat Cam’s adds a few monthly features into the mix that place an emphasis on infusing innovative flavors into traditional comfort foods. They also host a lot of fun events that they go all out for—especially their can’t-miss craft beer pairing dinners.
No matter when you come or what you come for, whether out enjoying good food, good drinks, and pristine lake views on the patio in the summer or soaking in the warm and cozy indoor atmosphere in the winter, Fat Cam’s at Garver Lake is one of those places where anyone who comes in feels instantly welcome. It’s a place that always manages to meet you right where you’re at.
“Looking back, we had no idea that something as simple making gumbo for a dinner party could inspire us to do what we’ve done.” says Kate. “All food has a story and this is ours.”