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Ben’s Soft Pretzels – Oshtemo

November 15, 2014
  • Ben's Soft Pretzel501 N. 9th Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 312-8930
  • Website
  • Menu

I don’t go to Walmart often.  I don’t have any of the usual objections to Walmart, I just like Meijer better.  I do, however, go to Walmart when I want to get in and out quickly.  It seems like I’m not the only one that prefers Meijer over Walmart.

This past Friday, I needed to pick up two things quickly, so I headed to the 9th Street Walmart in Oshtemo Township.  As I was wrapping up, I noticed a neon sign hanging above what appeared to be a little closet near the entrance closest to the pharmacy.  I came in near the grocery section, but I decided to walk down to the other entrance to see what that little sign was advertising.

Turns out, that little closet is a pretzel shop called Ben’s Soft Pretzels.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels got started just south of the (Michigan) border in Elkhart, IN.  They have a number of stores in Indiana, a couple in Florida, and one each in Illinois and Wisconsin in addition to the three Michigan stores (Oshtemo Walmart, Comstock Meijer, and Sturgis Walmart).   Read more…

Sarkozy Bakery

November 12, 2014
  • Sarkozy Bakery350 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 342-1952
  • Website
  • Menu

I have to be honest.  Before the fire, I had only been in Sarkozy Bakery once.  J and I, like fools, tried to walk in on Fat Tuesday and just pick up a paczki.  No surprise now, but they didn’t have any left.  Unfortunately, that was the only time we had ever stopped in the old store.

Fast forward to last Friday, we had some work crews at our house still fixing damage from last winter and we wanted to get out for a little bit.  I had read in the Gazette a few weeks ago that Sarkozy was serving lunch now and that sounded like a great option.

The new Sarkozy Bakery is on Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo in the Columbia Plaza Building just west of South Pitcher Avenue.  The new bakery is gorgeous.  There is a big, open layout with modern furniture and stainless steel everywhere.    We actually weren’t sure that we could eat in until I parked my truck on the street right in front of the building and saw the large dining room through the picture windows that overlook the busy downtown street.

The menu is pretty small serving up only a few sandwich options, soup, salads, quiche, and some pizzas.  None of the sandwiches really did anything for me so I ordered off the pizza menu. Read more…

Big Moe’s BBQ Express

November 7, 2014
  • Big Moe's BBQ Express1928 Gull Road
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 488-5502
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

There’s never enough BBQ.  Never.  Seriously….never.

A couple of days ago, I got a text message from J saying she just passed a building on Gull Road with Big Moe’s BBQ signs plastered all over it.

Turns out, Big Moe’s opened a new restaurant to serve up their award winning BBQ sauce alongside some delicious smoked meats.

The new restaurant is near Borgess Medical Center on Gull Road.  It share a building with a party store across the street from the Max 10.  The last I knew, that building had a sign for what I assumed was going to be a Chicago Style joint, but that never seemed to come to fruition.

Big Moe’s just opened their doors a few days ago.  I’m pretty sure J and I were in there on day two.  We left L at home with J’s mom and just planned on doing carry out for the four of us.

The menu is pretty standard for a BBQ joint.  They have all of the pork favorites, but they’re notably missing brisket which is what J’s mom likes.  They did have a Beef BBQ Sandwich so that’s what we got here.   Read more…

Lafayette Coney Island

November 7, 2014
  • Lafayette Coney Island118 W. Lafayette Boulevard
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 964-8198
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s 1:30 AM and you’re awake and hungry in downtown Detroit.  Where do you go?  Duh.  Do I even need to spell it out.

That’s the situation I found myself in the other night.  After a long day of work, I headed to the Holiday Day Express in Downtown Detroit where my company was putting me up for the night.  I handed  my keys off to the valet and checked in to my room first, but the whole time I was thinking about dinner.  There was a bar right next to the hotel, but seriously, downtown Detroit at night means only one thing.  Coney Island.

My hotel was about two blocks from the famous corner Coney Island restaurants…Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.  I dropped my bags off in my 14th floor room then headed back down to street level to make the two block walk.

I chose to go in to Lafayette Coney Island because that was the one I thought I remembered as native Detroiters telling me was better.  In all honesty, I had no idea.  Lafayette just looked more authentic to me.  It was smaller, dingy, and quite full for being well after midnight.   Read more…

Buddy’s Restaurant Pizzeria – Livonia

November 7, 2014
  • Buddy's Pizza33605 Plymouth Road
  • Livonia, MI 48150
  • (734) 261-3550
  • Website
  • Menu

A long time ago, back in 2009, I took my family to a Tigers game for the first time.  On that trip, I really wanted to check out a pizzeria in Detroit that I had seen on the Food Network.  It wasn’t in a great part of town and the building was actually a little scary, but inside was hiding one of the most delicious pizza’s I had ever eaten.

Fast forward to Tuesday night.  I was on my way to Detroit to meet some co-workers.  I was hungry and I wanted to be a nice guy, so I found a different location of that awesome pizza place and picked up a couple pizzas to share.

That awesome pizzeria?  Buddy’s.  The name synonymous with Detroit pizza.  So many people try to copy it, but it’s just like all of the Chicago-style copiers, it’s not the same.  Call it what you want, it’s not Buddy’s.   Read more…

The Grind Cafe

October 31, 2014
  • The Grind2728 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49006
  • (269) 459-8401
  • Website
  • Menu

I seem to have this vision in my  head of college towns being rich with late night and 24-hour food joints.  It just seems to make sense that, near campus, there would be places open late to serve the drunk , after-the-bar-closes crowd, but apparently, very few in Kalamazoo actually want to serve that population.

Working second shift in Grand Rapids gets me home pretty late.  The earliest I get home is about midnight, but some nights it’s much later and most nights, I’m really hungry.  Actual lunch breaks are rare in my profession and eating fast food gets really old.

There has been a little movement lately with a couple places staying open later, so I have been fed a little bit better lately, but I was really excited when I noticed a 24-hour cafe just opened near campus and the kitchen is open the whole time too.

The Grind opened just a few months ago on the corner of Howard and Michigan near WMU.  It’s not in Campus Pointe though.  It’s actually in the smaller strip mall behind Campus Pointe that is also home to Blaze Hookah Lounge and The Mix Kzoo.  It takes up the corner space closest to the Wendy’s on Michigan Avenue. Read more…

Memphis Smokehouse

October 9, 2014
  • Memphis Smokehouse180 Monroe Avenue NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 242-9004
  • Website
  • Menu

I can’t pass up BBQ.  Seriously.  I just can’t drive by good BBQ and a few weeks ago, a new BBQ place opened in downtown Grand Rapids just in time for Artprize.  As much as I try to stay away from downtown during Artprize unless I have to go down there for work, I just couldn’t pass up BBQ.

Memphis Smokehouse takes over the storefront recently vacated by Donk’s Mexican Joint (or Taco Boy) on Monroe Avenue right across the street from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Memphis Smokehouse has a small menu of Memphis BBQ favorites and gourmet burgers.  The restaurant itself is pretty small.  There’s only room for a dozen or so people to eat in, but the location in downtown lends itself to carry-out and eating outside.

I stopped in to Memphis Smokehouse because I saw the sign for BBQ, but the burgers seem to take center stage.  They’re a gourmet burger at a “reasonable price.”  I went back and forth, but eventually, I stuck with the BBQ.   Read more…


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