Craftsman Chop Company
- 6905 Sears Drive
- Portage, MI 49024
- (269) 327-2000
- No Online Menu
- (they have a “Coming Soon” on a domain…I’ll update the link if they ever put up a permanent website)
I’ll tell you what. I have good timing. For Christmas, I decided I was going to get J a remote start. She goes to work before I get up and I really didn’t want to have to get up and scrape windows. Last week, I went to Dashworks in Portage and set up an appointment for today to get it installed…..right as we’re getting a “blizzard.”
J called from work and said she would just meet me at Dashworks instead of coming home. I went to pick her up and as I was driving home, she mentioned she was hungry. I didn’t want to go too far because the roads were starting to get wet. I remembered a restaurant near the mall that I thought looked good and since we were close, that’s where we headed.
Craftsman Chop Company is on Sears Drive in Portage which is sort of an access road to the mall. The road is most easily accessible from Romence Road, but you can also get to it from the mall pretty easily.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I was really happy to see that there were quite a few cars there. Places like this always scare me for lunch. It’s not a chain, but it sort of looks like a chain and since it had the word “Chop” in the name, I’m never quite sure what I’m getting in to.
Like I mentioned, Craftsman Chop Company is not a chain. It’s locally owned and operated. According to their Facebook page, they opened in 2005 “with the goal of being different from any other dining establishment.” They try to accomplish this with a relaxed, yet somewhat upscale atmosphere that includes a fireplace and a lounge area with leather sofas.
Upon entering, you run into a hostess station. Immediately to your left is the dining room. The bar is off to the right. The hostess asked us if we preferred the dining room or bar. We chose the bar just because that’s more our style. We were not there to drink, but we feel more comfortable in a pub setting.
After being seated, a waiter came to get our drink orders and asked if we’d like some chips to “munch on.” We took him up on the chips and got a Coke and a Diet Coke to drink. That really put us out of place in the bar. There were four or five other tables of patrons who were all drinking wine with their lunch. In fact, the whole backside of the oversized one page menu was filled with their drink selection.
We both found somewhat of an extravagant option on the menu, but in the end, neither of us gave in to that desire. J was really intrigued by the Tuscan Macaroni & Cheese and I really wanted the Kobe Beef Burger. Both were priced in the $12 range. Had this been a special occasion or possibly even dinner, one, if not both of us, would have given in.
Instead, J started with a cup of Tomato Basil Soup then ordered the Pineapple Chicken Sandwich. She had been out in the cold all morning and was looking forward to soup to warm up, so she asked for the soup before the sandwich came out. The soup came with a couple croutons floating in the cup. She ate the soup in record time. Besides fighting off the chill she had, she said it was also really delicious.
The sandwich didn’t disappoint either. The chicken breast was topped with two slices of pineapple, a couple slices of bacon, lettuce, and cheese. She really liked it. When she lived in Idaho, one of her co-workers was a big fan of pineapple and bacon pizza. This sandwich brought those flavors back, but with a chicken breast in sandwich form. She was happy. The soup replaced her side, so there were no fries or anything when her sandwich was served.
I got a cheeseburger with bacon. It was alright, but it was also pretty uninspired. The patty was frozen and it was overcooked. I asked for medium. The patty was more on the medium-well side. There was no juice left in it and the flavor was pretty flat. It was fine and I enjoyed it, but it was nothing special either. The fries that came with my sandwich were delicious though. They had a light batter and were fried crispy. They were served with both ketchup and mustard in little cups on the side. J reached over and grabbed a couple of my fries and I had to give her the evil eye to keep her out. They were too good to share.
Our bill was a little over $20 which surprised both of us. We didn’t really pay attention to menu prices, but I think we both thought it would be more. Craftsman Chop Company was a pretty good lunch, but I don’t think we took full advantage of everything they offer. We stuck with sandwiches and Coke’s which probably isn’t the way to go. J loved her sandwich though, so she at least picked a winner. I’ve had better burgers.
Atmosphere-wise, this place rocks. If they (or the state) would ban smoking, this would be an incredible place for an intimate dinner that wouldn’t break the bank. Unfortunately, the couple behind us went through three cigarettes (each) in the course of a half hour while we were eating. It got to the point where we were sort of rushing to get out of there because the smell got so bad.
Other than that, we were both pretty impressed with the space and we were 75/25 on the food. Of everything we got, only the burger was a little disappointing. The chips that were offered free of charge were great. They were homemade and really tasty. J was excited about both her soup and sandwich and I really liked my fries. They have some decent specials after 4 PM (including the Mac & Cheese on Tuesday and Kobe Burger on Friday) which could draw us back.