A good love story is hard to find, but experienced chef and restaurateur Matt Mullins knows an especially memorable tale of a local husband and wife duo, Doc and June. In their honor, Mullins recently built his dream restaurant where the couple’s former business once stood.

The restaurant’s rich history stems from Doc, who owned a grocery store during the Great Depression era. A generous and humble man, he often donated food to needy families. After his stint as a grocer, he sold the shop and opened Doc’s Cloverleaf Inn just around the corner.

When Doc met June, they instantly fell in love. They spent their days side by side at the inn. June was especially famous for her delicious pies, and you could always find her in the kitchen.

Doc and June made a footprint in Keego Harbor with their business and became strong voices in the community. After years of hard work and dedication, Doc and June passed away within weeks of each other in the late 1990s.

Doc’s Cloverleaf Inn eventually turned into a dive bar. But more recently, the entire place was in need of a facelift. Mullins, along with his business partner, Brian Yaffa, bought the historical building just a few short months ago and are dedicating it to Doc and June.

Mullins also teamed up with Jennifer Clotworthy, who has been in the restaurant business for years. The two recreated Doc’s General Store, adding a deli counter where visitors can purchase made-to-order sandwiches. They also built a spacious restaurant next door, fashioning it after June’s original 1960s kitchen.

The restaurant is a tribute to June, but also borrows pieces from Mullins’ life, including living room furniture and knick-knacks from Mullins’ daughter’s great-grandmother, Paula Benson. Like Doc and June, Benson dedicates her time to helping others — she has particularly fond memories of teaching writing courses at the JCC.

Since community outreach is a theme at Doc and June, the restaurant pays tribute to local artists. Funky artwork is plastered on the walls while stacks of vinyl records are neatly arranged on wooden bookshelves throughout the space.

While the interior is unique, so is the dynamic menu, inspired by several of June’s favorite meals. In conjunction with the artsy interior, the menu offers a plethora of cuisines with a definitive flair.

Instead of your typical nachos, Mullins devised a heaping appetizer plate filled with Wonton chips, melted Muenster cheese, jalapeño peppers, diced tomatoes, onions and a Chipotle crema.

Rather than meatloaf slathered in gravy, diners can indulge in the Bowl of Balls, a playfully worded yet hearty dish of dainty meatloaf balls, buttery mashed potatoes, topped with either country gravy or a sweet and spicy sauce.

Lighter, June-approved options include the Mixed Griller, a knockout dish featuring salmon, rice and grilled veggies coated in a Creole caramel glaze, and a refreshing kale salad with crunchy green apples, radish and candied pecans.

During the warmer months, diners can enjoy a Michigan beer or specialty cocktail on the spacious patio.

While summer is coming to a close, fans of Doc and June can look forward to a shift in the menu. While the watermelon and feta salad was a hit, dishes with fresh fall produce are sure to please diners in the coming months.

Doc and June also offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and a food delivery service for Keego Harbor residents is already in the works.

While the cuisine and ambiance are top notch, this new establishment also encapsulates the importance of giving back. In this day and age, there are few places that both entertain and inspire — Doc and June is one of them.

Allison Jacobs

Doc and June
1967 Cass Lake Road
Keego Harbor
(248) 682-2295