Arcadia Brewing Company
Earlier this week, my mom called and asked if J and I wanted to meet in the New Buffalo/Michigan City area for dinner. I politely declined telling her J and I were planning on going to Detroit for the auto show. She asked if they could tag along. I, of course, told them yes. I knew my dad would love it and I had a feeling my mom might like it to.
My parents got up early so they could get to Kalamazoo before noon. Everyone was hungry, so I suggested Sonic before getting on the road. My mom has wanted to go there and I knew it would be quick.
The problem with eating Sonic is when we left the Cobo Center. No one was hungry. I was pretty disappointed. I had done my research and found a pub within walking distance that looked like it had a great menu. Instead of dragging everyone to a bar when they weren’t hungry. We headed home.
After a Whole Paycheck Foods stop in Ann Arbor, everyone started to get hungry. I had just pointed out a place in Battle Creek that I thought looked pretty good. J suggested stopping there on the way home.
The Arcadia Brewing Company is in downtown Battle Creek on Michigan Avenue in an 80-year-old building that was originally a Chevy dealership. There is a pub that goes by the name TC’s Wood-Fired Fare. We found street parking right in front of the building. It was a Saturday night at dinner time, so we expected a little wait.
The dining room was packed. The space is pretty open with high ceilings which made it loud. Sounds really echoed. The bar is in the back of the space with the dining room immediately to your left when you walk in. The kitchen area is a focal point of the building. There’s a brick oven back in the corner and three cooks in a pretty small workspace that is completely open.
We met the hostess who seemed really frazzled. J made contact and put her name in. She then asked how long the wait was going to be. The hostess replied, and I quote, “Anyplace you go is going to have a wait tonight.” That wasn’t the questioned that was asked. Again, J asked how long the wait was. The hostess said she didn’t know and started pointing out tables that *looked* like they were wrapping up. She wouldn’t tell us how many people were in front of us or even make a guess at how long it would be. She did the same thing with every group that came in after us and every group got annoyed with her non-answer.
We took a seat on what looked like church pews to wait. I thought about going up to the bar and getting a beer, but by the time I go un-lazy enough to do so, our table was ready. We only waited ten minutes or so, but the way we were treated by the hostess, you would have thought we were going to be there forever. I know some of the groups that came in left because they couldn’t get a straight answer.
We were shown to a four top in the middle of the dining room. The first thing that jumped out at everyone was the table top. It was an old door that had been cut in half and topped with a piece of plexiglass. It was a really cool, rustic addition to an already interesting atmosphere.
The waiter came over for drinks. J got a pink lemonade. My mom and dad both got water. I figured we’re in a brewery so I might as well get a beer. I’m more of a lager drinker and Arcadia does Ales, so I was really out of my league here. I went with the ESB. When it came to the table, my mom picked it up and said it didn’t smell like beer. My mom works in a small, country bar where the most exotic beer they have is Corona, so she had never seen a micro brew before. I offered both my mom and dad a taste, but neither took me up on it. Not knowing much about Ale’s or microbrews in general, I can’t comment too much. It had a caramel, nutty flavor. It was good, but not really my thing.
For dinner, my mom was really looking forward to the ribs after seeing they were on special. Unfortunately, they were out of ribs. Instead, my mom and dad went together on a pizza. They went with #4 which is pulled pork or chicken. The pizza is a super thin crust that is topped with BBQ sauce, pulled pork, onions, red peppers, and cheese. My mom was really impressed with the BBQ sauce taking the place of the pizza sauce. She said she doesn’t ever remember having a pizza like that. My dad never says anything. If we ask him how something is, he just says “it’s good.” My mom gave a piece to me and I have to say, we may have to go back for pizza. The crust was thin and very crispy. The cheese was golden brown. I don’t even really care what the toppings are, this is the base for a great pizza. My mom also ordered a dinner salad with the raspberry vinaigrette which she really seemed to enjoy.
The BBQ is what drew us to Arcadia and it’s what both J and I went for. I got the pulled pork platter which comes with two sides. I chose the Mac & Cheese and a dinner salad. J was going to order a salad anyway and there really wasn’t anything else I wanted, so I gave it to her. The salad came out first. She ordered it with the herb vinaigrette dressing which is a creamy vinaigrette. We were both expecting something more oil & vinegar type. Because I ordered the salad, the design of my entrée plate looked a little weird. There was a pile or pork on one end and a ramikin of the mac & cheese next to it. Then, there was a big empty space. It looked like there wasn’t much food on the plate, but when you take in to account the missing side, it makes much more sense.
The pork was delicious. It had a great smoky flavor and a really amazing rub. The BBQ is smoked on site with hickory. They call it authentic Southern BBQ and I can’t argue with that. The meat was served naked, but three bottles of sauce was put on the table. The first one I picked up was a sweet sauce, but had no heat. The second was a mustard sauce. Good, but not my thing. The third sauce was freakin amazing. It was a Memphis style sweet sauce that had a helluva kick to it. Seriously, I thought about putting the bottle in J’s purse.
J ordered the pulled pork sandwich which came with chips and coleslaw on a brioche bun. She’s not usually a fan of coleslaw, but she really liked this one. She gave half the chips to me which were alright, but they had an onion seasoning on them. J called the pulled pork the best she’s ever had….and I have to remind you, we took our honeymoon to Tennessee to find good BBQ. Granted, we went to the East side of Tennessee and not Memphis, but we had some delicious hickory smoked pork on that trip and for J to say the pulled pork at Arcadia is the best she’s ever had is saying a lot.
Our bill was just over $40 which really surprised me. My parents didn’t get drinks and split a pizza, so that probably helped.
When I think of micro-brews with brewpubs, Arcaida Brewing Company has set the new standard. Everything about the place is amazing. The old world atmosphere. The brick oven pizzas. The slow smoked Southern BBQ. To think, we almost missed out on a fantastic meal because we couldn’t get a straight answer on how long the wait was going to be……..