“Social” is a buzzword in the restaurant and bar industry. Many places attempt to create a party-like atmosphere with theme rooms, game nights and communal tables.

The Blue Goose, a St. Clair Shores mainstay, seems to have “convivial” as its golden egg without any overt gimmicks. The restaurant and blues bar on Jefferson near 12 Mile has an organic social feel even before the live music (five nights a week) begins.

   The locals are obviously loyal customers when the bartender is heard asking, “What, no carryout tonight?” but newcomers are welcomed within the knotty pine walls to dig into the broad array of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, Mexican specialties and seafood.

   The Blue Goose opened in 1910 as a saloon and grocery store owned by John and Ida Green and post-Prohibition became the forerunner of the current incarnation. It is in many respects the classic American tavern, with Keno slip caddies on every table and run-of-the-mill tableware wrapped in paper napkins. The jukebox is of the internet variety, offering an endless selection, though on a recent visit the choices were almost entirely classic rock.

  But not every tavern can boast that patrons feel so at home they dance to the jukebox tunes at the bar and even tableside with an impromptu “Sweet Caroline” singalong that rivals Boston’s Fenway Park.

  The kitchen does a fine job of keeping the chorus well-fed. The cup — but closer to a bowl — of meatball soup is a pleasant surprise with orzo and collard greens adding depth. No surprise, clam chowder is the crowd favorite. Fish and chips are lightly and evenly battered so that the cod is plump and tender, rather than overpowered.

  Prices are reasonable with the highest ticket the $19.95 seafood combo of perch, shrimp, clams and cod. The friendly staff might recommend the Tugboat, a grinder of ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and black olives in olive oil dressing, a northern take on the muffaletta. The Philly steak and cheese also stands out, juicy and laced with Swiss, a good value at $7.99.

   Housemade pies, perhaps apple or pumpkin, are available for dessert, the current offering handwritten in cursive along with other daily specials, another strong clue that you are in a homey place that proprietor Gloria Chambers and her staff have a personal stake in.

   The Blue Goose has not embraced the craft beer explosion, though Stroh’s Bohemian, the small batch pilsner, is offered.


The Blue Goose Inn

28911 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores

(586) 296-0950

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., noon-11 p.m. Sun. Bar later.

Prices: Appetizers $4.99-$7.99, soups and chili $2.99-$4.19, sides $1.99-$4.99, burgers and sandwiches $4.99-$7.99, pizza $7.99-$12.99, salads $7.99-$12.99, entrees $8.99-$19.99.

Credit cards: All major

Liquor: Full bar

Noise level: Convivial

Wheelchair access: No barriers

Parking: Attached lot

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding

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