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O’Toole’s Public House

April 21, 2015
  • 448 Bridge Street NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • (616) 742-6095
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to have a nice, sit-down restaurant in Grand Rapids on my dinner break.  One day last week, I finally got that.  A colleague and I were on the west side of town and had some time to spare. We were both hungry and I suggested that little Irish pub we drove past earlier.

O’Toole’s Public House sits right in the epicenter of a redeveloping West Side neighborhood on Bridge Street just to the west of US 131 and downtown Grand Rapids.  The small Irish pub sits on the corner of Bridge Street and Winter Avenue.  At first glance, the pub looks a little out of place, but they’re actually just ahead of the curve.

Parking can always be a little tricky in this area.  We got lucky and found street parking just a few storefronts down which is surprising because the bar was pretty packed.  We just missed happy hour and there were obvious groups of co-workers from the hospitals just down the street.

C.W. noticed a table up against the wall that was empty near the front entrance, so we grabbed that then tracked down a waitress for a couple of menus.  We had time to eat dinner, but there was still a little bit of a rush to it.

I actually felt a little at home inside the pub.  It had a very lively atmosphere with baskets of peanuts on the table  and empty shells on the floor.  The decor is traditional Irish pub with hardwood floors.  The decibel level at dinner time was probably pretty close to dangerous.  It was loud.  On more than one occasion, I had to ask my co-worker to repeat herself while we were trying to have a conversation.   Read more…

One Well Brewing

April 14, 2015
  • 4213 Portage Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 459-9240
  • Website
  • Menu

I love the boom of breweries in Kalamazoo.  It is seriously awesome to have so many options.  When a new brewery opens, I typically give it a little time if they don’t open with a food menu.  I don’t really like drinking alone, so I’d rather be able to take my wife and daughter along for lunch.

When One Well Brewing opened up last fall, they didn’t have a food menu.  It was in the works, but they wanted to get the whole beer thing going first.  Many Friday nights I’ve thought heading down there after the ladies go to bed and many a Friday night I ended up in bed myself before 9:00.

A little over a month ago, the food situation changed.  They added a small menu which is mostly appetizer type food and pizzas, but there was enough for the three of us to eat, so we finally decided to stop in for a quick lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

One Well Brewing is on Portage Street just to the north of the I-94 Interchange and Kilgore Road.  The building actually used to be the home of Sunset Boulevard Brewing Company before they decided the neighborhood was too rough for them and they bailed.

Not much has changed with the set up of the restaurant.  There’s still a huge horseshoe bar right as you walk in and a pretty large dining room with a variety of seating options.  They’ve also installed a couple of classic video game and pinball machines along the back wall.

The three of us made our way towards the back of the space and sat at a table that shares a bench on one side with a number of other tables in the dining room.  There was a food menu and a drink menu already on the table, so we started looking it over.  The bartender came over and asked if we had been there before.  We had not and he pointed out they “work like Bell’s” and food and drinks are ordered at the bar.   Read more…

Kalamazoo BBQ Grill

April 10, 2015
  • 112 E. Cork Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 343-5200
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Sometimes, you just have to follow your gut, literally, because sometimes, that gut will take you to some of the weirdest places and find some of the best food.

J and I used to live at Candlewyck Apartments on Kilgore and we used Burdick to get downtown quite a bit to avoid the traffic on Westnedge.  One day, many, many years ago (well, five anyway), we noticed a couple of smokers set up outside of an empty store on the corner of Burdick and Cork.  Not long after that, a party store opened in that empty building and those smokers were being used on a regular basis.

Fast forward five years, we still haven’t stopped in the party store which is now Burdick Hair & Beauty Supply.  The smokers are still out front and every time we drive by, there is still smoke coming out of them.

Somehow, last week, I chipped J’s windshield while driving on I-94 and we needed to get it replaced.  It was too big to fix and the crack was slowly getting bigger.  I had the day off on Thursday, so I set up an appointment at Safelite to get it fixed.

Unfortunately, it took much, much longer to fix the windshield than what we were told.  When I took J back to pick it up, they still weren’t finished, so I let her take my truck and I stayed with her car until it was finished.   Read more…

Waffle House – Shelbyville, IN

April 8, 2015
  • 1784 N. Riley Highway
  • Shelbyville, IN 46176
  • (317) 398-2811
  • Website
  • Menu

Our day go off to a late start on day #3 in Indianapolis.  We didn’t have any assignments until late in the afternoon, so all three of us took advantage and slept in.

When I woke up at just a little after 11:00, I had two text messages on my phone….one from each colleague.  Both of them were the same and both were only two words long.  “Waffle House?”

While we were quite a ways from Indianapolis, we were at least very close to a Waffle House.  Not quite walking distance, but pretty darn close.

The Waffle House in Shelbyville, Indiana is just off of I-74 on North Riley Highway.  I can’t say I’ve ever actually eaten at a Waffle House in the past, but from what I have seen, they all look to be pretty much the same.  The small rectangle building bears the familiar yellow and black paint scheme while the inside is a classic diner layout.  The kitchen is out in the open and there’s a small mix of tables, booths, and lunch counter seating.

The place was pretty packed when we walked in, but there was one open booth in the back corner so we took it.  We all grabbed a menu while our waitress brought the drinks and even though it was almost lunch time, we all ordered breakfast.   Read more…

The Slippery Noodle Inn

April 7, 2015
  • 372 S. Meridian Street
  • Indianapolis, IN 46225
  • (317) 631-6974
  • Website
  • Menu

Our second night in Indianapolis was the tough one when it came to finding dinner.  We only had a little over an hour and a half between assignments, so we couldn’t wait for a table.  That was a tough thing to do on a Friday night….in downtown Indianapolis…during Final Four Weekend.

We walked around to several restaurants in the downtown area and all of them told us they had at least an hour to an hour and a half wait.  We were all getting grumpy and annoyed because we needed to find something to eat, but didn’t have the luxury of time to wait for a table.

C.W. #2 had joined us by this point and he’s somewhat familiar with the downtown area.  He kept talking about a blues bar that he likes to go to when he’s in town that wasn’t too far from where we were.  We checked to see if they had a food menu that we could all agree on and when they did, we started heading that way.

The Slippery Noodle Inn claims to be the oldest commercial building still standing in Indianapolis.  They’ve been under the same ownership as The Slipper Noodle now since the 1960’s.  The building actually dates back to the Civil War though when it was used as a roadhouse and bar for railroad passengers.  After that, it served as a bordello and a place for famous gangsters to make whiskey during prohibition. Read more…

High Velocity Sports Bar

April 7, 2015
  • 10 S. West Street
  • Indianapolis, IN 46204
  • (317) 860-6500
  • Website
  • Menu

Sometimes, my job is pretty awesome.  One of those times last weekend when I was sent to Indy during the Final Four.  The weekend started out with two of us, but ended up with three of us.  C.W. #1 and I headed out early Thursday morning for a full day of assignments once we got to Indianapolis.

We parked our car at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indy and walked from there.  The full Final Four rush wasn’t in town yet, but downtown was already getting busy and one of our stops was at the J.W., so it just made sense.  When the day was over, we were tired, hungry, and wet.  We still had to go back to the J.W., so we decided to pick up a bite there before heading to our hotel outside of the city for the night.

There are two restaurants on the ground floor of the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indy.  One is a sports bar.  The other is an Italian restaurant.  I like sports bars and C.W. wanted a steak.

We picked High Velocity Sports Bar.  It takes up a large corner of the hotel right at the corner of South West Street and Maryland Street on the west side of downtown.  There is an outside entrance accessible from that corner, but the hostess station is at the entrance accessible from the hotel.

After we put our bags back in the car, we headed back to the bar hoping we could get a table.  It looked pretty packed, but most people were actually just drinking at the bar.  We were shown to a table for four in the dining room.  Our hostess dropped off the menus and showed us the drink menu so we’d be ready when our waiter came over. Read more…

Zoup! – Portage

April 2, 2015
  • 6749 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 366-3500
  • Website
  • Menu

Friday’s are quickly becoming a day both L and I look forward to.  A few weeks ago, I got the idea to check out Skyzone’s Toddler Time.  From 10-noon on Tuesday and Friday’s, Skyzone is only open to kids under 5.  L loves it.  She asks me pretty much every day when we’re going back to the “jump place.”

Last Friday, we went and jumped for about an hour.  L was ready to go, so we grabbed an Icee from the concession stand but that wasn’t going to be enough for lunch for her let alone me.

I texted J that L and I were going to pick up lunch and sent her a menu for the new Zoup! restaurant in Portage.  Within a couple of minutes, I had her order, so L and I hopped back in my truck and headed for Portage Crossings.

Kalamazoo has been lacking a good soup place since Soup’R Heros went out of business a few years ago.  It’s actually kind of amazing how many times J has said to me she wanted soup and the only place to really go to get something quick is Panera.

The story of Zoup begins in the late 90’s on the east side of the state.  About 17 years later, there are 75+ stores in 18 states and one Canadian province.   Read more…


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