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Cereal City Burgers

August 30, 2015
  • 615 Capital Avenue SW
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (269) 223-7576
  • Website
  • Menu

Like most people, I have a hard time passing up OT….especially when it’s easy OT and something I enjoy doing.  I was in that situation this past Friday night.  My assigned task was in Battle Creek and I wouldn’t have to leave home until it was almost bed time for L and J, so we thought it was a no-brainer that I pick up a few extra hours at work.

I did leave a little earlier than usual because I wanted to grab something for dinner.  I’ve been hearing about a burger joint that is getting rave reviews and since I was going solo, this night was the perfect night for me to track it down.

Cereal City Burgers is on Capital Avenue SW just about a half mile north of the intersection with Columbia Avenue on the city’s near West Side.  It’s a tiny shop with a tiny parking lot.  The site is familiar to me as it used to be Turkey Heaven….a turkey BBQ joint that J and I really enjoyed a few years back.

To Battle Creekians (is that the right word?), Cereal City Burgers is an extension of another well loved burger place.  This new place is run by family of BC Burgers which, from what I’m told, enjoyed some success in downtown Battle Creek some years ago.

The menu at Cereal City Burgers is simple.  Burgers.  Potatoes.  Ham, Egg, & Cheese sandwiches.  That’s pretty much it.  If you’re not a burger lover, there’s not much you’re going to find on this menu.

The place was pretty packed on a Friday night with people waiting for carry-out orders.  There are only three tables in the space although there’s room for a couple more if they would choose to add them.  There are a few single chairs placed against the wall to wait for carry-outs, but it looked like a lot of their business was done via phone in.  There was a big stack of bagged up meals behind the counter and a steady stream of hungry people coming in to get them.

When I got to the counter, I put in an order for a Double Cheeseburger w/Bacon.  The lady taking the order asked if I wanted to make it a combo with potatoes w/cheese and a drink.  I was going to order the potatoes anyway, so I just said yes and drank the Coke while I was waiting for my food to be cooked.  There weren’t any open tables so I just asked for my food to go and I’d find a place along my travels to stop and enjoy the meal.  Read more…

Saddleback BBQ

August 29, 2015
  • 1147 S. Washington Avenue
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 253-7556
  • Website
  • Menu

I love getting sent to Lansing for work.  If there’s time, it means dinner on the company, so I try to make time.

This past Thursday, I had a solo trip to the capital and a couple of pretty easy tasks.  I decided to leave early with the intention of seeking out a new BBQ joint I heard about a couple of weeks ago.

I arrived in Lansing about an hour and a half before I needed to be, so I headed towards downtown to find Saddleback BBQ a few miles away in Lansing’s REO Town .  The small BBQ joint is on the corner of Washington Avenue and South Street right across the street from the Board of Water and Light Headquarters.  I was actually familiar with this location once I pulled up and saw where it was.  The BBQ joint is in what used to be the pizzeria side of Izzo’s Pub & Pizzeria.  Both are the Pub and the Pizzeria are gone now.  The pub has turned in to REO Town Pub and the BBQ joint took over the pizzeria.  The last business to actually occupy the space was Vintage Café which closed in January of this year…..but that happened well after we left Lansing.  I really don’t know what happened in between the pizzeria and the café….not that it really matters.

Saddleback BBQ is an order at the counter restaurant with closing hours that end in “-ish”  Read more…

Feed The World Cafe

August 23, 2015
  • 7000 Stadium Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 353-6620
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s not very often that I go out for dinner without J and L, but I was  hungry and they weren’t, so I waited until they went to bed before tracking down some food.

A couple of months ago, J told me about a new restaurant that took over the space formerly occupied by Blackeye Espresso Cafe in the Village Place development on the west side of Oshtemo Township.  The restaurant takes up a corner space of the development off Stadium Drive near 8th Street.

I was only in Blackeye Espresso once for a quick lunch, but it doesn’t look like they’ve changed much.  The restaurant still has the feel of a coffee shop from the large work area for the coffee and breakfast part of the business to the fireplace and comfy chairs that make up part of the dining room.

I walked in at about 7:30 on a Friday night.  There were a couple of other groups dining on the patio, but I was the only one inside the building in the more traditional part of the dining room.  A waitress followed me over with both a beer list and a menu.

While the space still feels like a coffee house, it borders on an upscale restaurant with a good selection of craft beers and wines.  Plus, they have a menu that’s very not coffee house like.

I decided before I walked in the door I was going to do a burger and a beer.  The beer I chose was Space Rock by Short’s Brewing.  It’s one of their many pale ales…this one’s an American Pale Ale (APA).  It’s good, but nothing outstanding.  I enjoyed it very much, but it’s not one of those beers that I will remember next year when it comes out. Read more…

Slows Bar-B-Q Grand Rapids

August 16, 2015
  • 435 Ionia Avenue SW
  • Grand Rapdis, MI 49503
  • (616) 454-1588
  • Website
  • Menu

I like BBQ.  No, seriously.  I like BBQ…A LOT.  I love BBQ.  I love making my own BBQ.  I love eating other people’s BBQ.  I freakin’ love BBQ.

There are more and more BBQ places popping up.  Some good.  Some bad.  One of the best of the best just opened a place near where I work.  Seriously.  Slows BBQ… know the place in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood?  They just opened a new joint in Downtown Grand Rapids….and it’s awesome.

A little over a week, Slows Bar-B-Q opened it’s doors inside the Downtown Market on Ionia Street near Wealthy.  Access to the new BBQ joint is both from inside the market and from the Ionia Street Side.  The restaurant is actually on the south end of the Market at the corner of Ionia and Logan Street.  During Market hours, you can enter from either, but once the Market closes, you have to enter from Ionia.

I’ve had a love affair with Slows from the first time J and I ate at the original Detroit location way back in 2009.  It’s so worth the drive to Detroit just to eat at Slows, but we never made it back nearly as often as we wanted to.  The BBQ is just so damn good.

The Grand Rapids location is quite a bit different from the Detroit store.  The big thing is that there is no table service for food.  The restaurant is set up market-style….which makes sense seeing as how it’s in the Downtown Market.  For those of you familiar with Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo, it’s pretty much just like that.

The night I stopped in, the restaurant was packed.  All of the tables inside and out were full as was the bar (which has a huge craft beer draft list by the way), but the line to get food was non-existent.  I walked right up to the counter, which is divided in to three separate stops, to order my food.   Read more…

Tapistry Brewing

August 11, 2015
  • 4236 Lake Street
  • Bridgman, MI 49106
  • (269) 266-7349
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s always weird to me when I see friends of mine from back home in Illinois posting pictures and talking about their trips to Lake Michigan beaches.  The majority of the time, those pictures all come from Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer.   That always seems odd to me because, in the seven years we’ve lived in Michigan, we have never once even thought about going to Warren Dunes.

After our vacation in June, L had been asking to go back to Nana and Grandpa’s for a week again.  She told J and I that we could go to another wedding….we didn’t have another wedding, but we do need to start cleaning up L’s room and the spare bedroom to get ready for the arrival of L’s little brother in a few months.  She didn’t have any camps or commitments this week, so we told her she could go stay with Nana and Grandpa.

We had originally talked about meeting J’s parents at Silver Beach, but I’m really not a fan of Silver Beach on weekends.  It’s a great beach and I think everyone in Berrien County would say the same…downtown is always such a madhouse.  I didn’t want to deal with parking and possibly having to walk from downtown, so I suggested Warren Dunes State Park.  It was actually closer to a midway point anyway and it’d give us a chance to check out another beach.

I’m going to keep this part short.  We won’t be going back to Warren Dunes anytime soon.  The disgusting bathrooms and lack of facilities would have been enough to keep us away, but two days later, my feet still hurt from the gravel that dominated the landscape of the beach in the water.

Annnnnyyyywaaaaaayyyyy, we still stayed about an hour and a half because L doesn’t notice the things we don’t like about the beach.  She just sees sand and water and has a blast.  We weren’t going to take the day away from her because we were miserable, so we let her play until she got tired then we decided to head in to Bridgman to grab a bite to eat before saying good-bye to L for the week.

For quite a while now, I’ve been wanting to ask J to stop at Tapistry Brewing on one of our many trips back and forth to Chicago this summer.  We usually get a late start and everyone needs food before getting on the road, so I never bring it up, but we were in the area anyway, so I asked J if she’d mind eating there.  Of course, she had no objections.  Read more…

Dairy Queen – Portage

August 7, 2015
  • 309 E. Centre Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 321-8766
  • Website
  • Menu

When I was growing up in Super Small Town, Illinois (not the village’s real name, but an accurate description), the only food options we really had were either the bar/restaurant on Main Street and the Dairy Queen on the edge of town near the Interstate.  I know this is hard for most people to comprehend, but even the closest McDonalds was still over 20 miles away.  The Dairy Queen was all we had and it was not uncommon to eat there several times per week.

Eventually, the building that housed the DQ started showing it’s age and the owner’s received an exciting offer to relocate to the next town north in a brand new building and shared space with the gas station.  They took the opportunity and abandoned the location that I grew up with and spent many, many hours at during my childhood.

Dairy Queen has always held a special place in my life.  The relationship formed out of convenience.  Some of my favorite memories are my grandma taking my brother and I out for lunch, riding our bikes out with friends for ice cream….and even my 6th grade teacher taking me for a Blizzard after I won a bet she had never lost in 20 years of teaching social studies (in case you’re wondering, I was the first 6th grader in 20 years to know A.D. stood for “Anno Domini” and not “After Death”).

Obviously today, we have many more options for ice cream and pretty much all of those places have copied the Blizzard that DQ made famous, but I still relish the opportunity to take L for ice cream at a place that meant so much to my childhood now and then.  Read more…

Jaddin’s Precious Soul Food Cafe

August 1, 2015
  • 701 Riverview Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 220-5166
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

It’s been a while since I’ve stumbled on a new restaurant in town.  The Gazette has actually been doing a really good job of beating me lately (not that I’m competing with them or anything), but the other day I was driving down Riverview Drive to head out of town through Parchment and I noticed an old building that had a new sign and an open sign in the window.

The new restaurant is a soul food café called Jaddin’s Prescious Soul Food Café.  It’s on Riverview Drive near the intersection with Hotop in the Eastside Neighborhood.  Since I’ve been in Kalamazoo, the small, rundown building has been several different versions of a soul food or BBQ restaurant.  The last one I actually went to was Beale St. BBQ although I believe I remember seeing a different sign on the building between that version and this one.

Jaddin’s Precious hasn’t really changed much of the restaurant layout.  You order at a large counter when you walk in the door which is on the side of the building next to the parking lot.  There’s a small dining room near the front of the space if you chose to dine it.

The restaurant looks like it’s been open since the beginning of the summer and while I may  not have noticed it, others have.  There were quite a few people sitting down eating in the dining room when I stopped in on a Friday afternoon and there were a couple of carry-out orders ahead of me.

It was just L and I.  J had to work late so L and I went to play at the park then out for lunch.  L wanted McDonalds, so I stopped and got her a Happy Meal, so really, it was just me who needed lunch.  Read more…


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