One of the cool things about my job is that I get to travel a lot which means I get to eat in a lot of different places. One of the bad things about that is that I can’t drink while I’m on the clock, so when we find a brewery in whatever town we’re in, the urge to go is too great….but we’re stuck drinking pop.
That situation played out last week in Big Rapids. A co-worker and I were looking for some place to stop for dinner when a different co-worker texted me a suggestion. I started reading “Cranker’s” off my phone when the C.W. in the car with me said we are not eating at Cranker’s. We could do better. Fortunately, he let me finish my sentence because the next word out of my mouth was “Brewery.”
Cranker’s Brewery is at the flagship Cranker’s Coney Island on State Street near downtown Big Rapids. There are other Cranker’s Coney Island’s (including one in Caledonia), but the brewery is unique to the Big Rapids location.
While it is possible to get to the brewery through the Coney Island, there is a separate entrance behind the building right off the parking lot to get in to the brewery.
C.W. and I stopped in during the dinner rush on a Friday night and the place was pretty packed and there was live music filling the restaurant. The brewery and the Coney Island are two totally different restaurants and the decors don’t quite go together. The brewpub has the modern feel with exposed dark wood and exposed beams while the 24-hour restaurant has the classic diner feel to it.
After a few minutes, we were shown to a table near the entrance as it was one of only a couple open tables. I took the wood bench which was shared with the table next us while C.W. took the chair on the other side. Out of instinct, I flipped to the beer menu and cried a little. I’ve had a couple of Cranker’s brews before, but it’s hard being at the source and not able to partake.
I tried going for the next best thing, a Root Beer, but they were out of that, so I ended up just ordering a Coke while C.W. ordered and Iced Tea.
I didn’t stray too far from my usual and ordered a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger. The sandwich came with very crispy bacon, cheddar cheese and a sweet BBQ sauce on a Pretzel bun. The sandwich was nice and juicy and had just the slightest pink center. The pretzel bun did a really good job of soaking up all that juice and sauce while still staying firm.
For the side I opted for the fries. They were really nothing special. They appeared to be some kind of battered thin cut potato. They were good, but nothing that stood out.
C.W. went with the Sizzler Steak. That comes topped with mushrooms and onions which he brushed to the side. He said the steak was alright, but nothing fabulous. For his sides, he ordered a side salad and the fries. The salad was a simple iceberg lettuce with the usual veggie toppings.
Our bill was just under $25 bucks and we were in and out of the restaurant pretty quickly despite the fact they were busy. I would have liked to have gone in to more detail on our meals, but I didn’t grab a take out menu and for some reason, they don’t have a food menu on their website.
Despite the fact I couldn’t drink, I was pretty happy with our meal at Cranker’s. It’s pretty solid brewpub food in a great atmosphere (as long as you’re not in a position to look in to the diner side). I know they’re starting to put the beer and upgrade the food menus as the Caledonia and Mt. Pleasant Cranker’s Coney Island locations, so I’m hoping to be able to check out some of the beers on tap sometime. Until then, there’s always bottles.