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Tom and Chee – Lansing

April 1, 2015
  • 123 S. Washington Square
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 253-7590
  • Website
  • Menu

I have spent a lot of time in Lansing recently.  Again, last Thursday, I got sent from Grand Rapids, but this time, I was flying solo.  I was actually meeting a co-worker over there but I was on my own for dinner.  After finishing up our task, I headed downtown to pick up something to eat.

Last time I was in Lansing, I complained loudly about downtown shutting down at 7:00.  I was close again this time.  It was 6:30 by the time I found a parking spot and a lot of the restaurants on Washington Square were starting to pack up shop for the night.  I had to walk a couple blocks, but I made a beeline for the sandwich shop that specializes in grilled cheese.

Tom and Chee should sound familiar to some of you.  They appeared on Shark Tank in Season 4 in May of 2013 and got an offer from two of the Sharks (Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran).  The business took off after that and is one of Shark Tank’s real success stories.

Right now, there is only one Michigan location and 30 overall.  I say “right now” because I noticed just tonight that there will soon be a Tom and Chee is Grandville near the Cabella’s.  Not sure on an opening date there, but the signage was up, so it can’t be that far off.   Read more…

Angelo’s Italian Eatery – Ravine

March 26, 2015

I have blogged many, many times about one of my co-workers who loves grinders.  Well, last week, I made a trip back to Kalamazoo with her and we ended up on the north side of town.  I hadn’t planned on stopping for dinner, but I knew we were close to grinders, so I asked if she wanted to stop.  Her face lit up like it was Christmas morning…all over a grinder.

I started heading west on Ravine Road from Douglas to make my way to Angelo’s Italian Eatery.  This location of the three restaurant chain used to be in a gas station at the corner of Ravine and Nichols, but they’ve moved across the street to a much, much larger space with a dining room.

It was getting pretty late in the evening and I didn’t check to make sure they were open, so I was much relieved when we pulled in the parking lot and saw the “OPEN” sign flashing in the window.  C.W. couldn’t wait.  She hopped out of the car and ran inside ready to get her grinder.

The restaurant is a pretty good size and a definite step up from the cramped counter across the street.  It is kind of in the middle of nowhere though in Kalamazoo Township.  It’s not far from “town,” but there’s not a lot of residential nearby.  They looked to be doing pretty well though.  On a Tuesday night, there were several people coming in and out to pick up pizzas as we waited for our sandwiches.

I have eaten at Angelo’s a couple times and their menu is pretty similar to other grinder places, so i didn’t really even have to look at the menu.  I ordered a full pizza grinder to go.  C.W. had a little more difficulty.  She wanted everything on the menu.  I mean that almost literally.  In the end, she got two grinders.  A half pizza and a half Philly cheesesteak. Read more…

Wing Heaven – Burton Street

March 24, 2015
  • 803 Burton Street SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49507
  • (616) 433-6000
  • Website
  • Menu

Have I made it clear yet that I like wings?  I mean, why are there no good wing places in the Kalamazoo area…and why does Grand Rapids have so many?  Even if they are all the same, at least I don’t have to go too far out of my way to find delicious wings in Grand Rapids.

Last Thursday, I had sort of a slow day at work.  I was driving along US-131 and thought, damn, I want wings, so I did a search on Google Maps and found one sort of nearby.  I pulled off the highway and put in a phone call to pick up what would become a delicious dinner.

Wing Heaven has multiple locations around Grand Rapids. but the one on Burton Street seems to be under different ownership.  The building is on the corner of Burton Street Southeast and Eastern Avenue.  The oddly shaped corner building used to be a Sheldon Cleaners, but it has now been turned in to a take-out wing business with a couple of tables for those that just can’t wait to get those wings in their belly’s.

I called in my order for nine traditional wings with a garlic Parmesan coating on them and a 1/2lb of potato wedges with salt and pepper.  The order took about ten minutes and was being boxed up just as I was walking in to the store. Read more…

Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza – Lansing Township

March 19, 2015
  • 2328 Showtime Drive
  • Lansing, MI 48915
  • (517) 485-2625
  • Website
  • Menu

I feel like I’ve been going to Lansing quite a bit for work.  Again, this week a co-worker and I headed east for an assignment in Lansing Township.  It was a quick assignment taking less than a half hour, but since we outside of our normal area, the dinner was on the company.  C.W. didn’t want to pass the opportunity up and was craving pizza.

I never really had pizza from anywhere in Lansing that I would say was out of this world.  The only thing that came to mind was Pizza House, but that was kind of far away from where we were.  Instead, I did a quick Google search and came up with a delicious sounding chain restaurant just down the street.

Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza is a small, Florida based chain with 13 restaurants.  Almost half of those restaurants (six) are in Michigan with the Lansing store being the closest to Southwest Michigan.

The Lansing Township Tony Sacco’s is adjacent the Eastwood Towne Center on Lake Lansing Road.  The restaurant itself is actually in a small strip mall on Showtime Drive in front of a huge new development of a Hyatt Place Hotel that will also feature 125 luxury apartments and retail.   Read more…

The Ada Pour House

March 18, 2015
  • 6749 E. Fulton Street
  • Ada, MI 49301
  • (616) 920-7941
  • Website
  • Menu

I spend five days a week driving up and down US-131, to and from Grand Rapids for work.  I hate doing the same thing on my day off, but, alas, I had no choice last week when it came time to pick up KBS.

Way back on Valentine’s Day, I set an alarm to remind myself tickets were going on sale.  I sat on my computer clicking refresh as the time was coming up.  Obviously, I went for days I was already going to be in Grand Rapids, but I quickly started panicking when I got kicked to the waiting room on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I very quickly clicked on Friday as well and that was the only day that came up with the option to purchase tickets, so I had to make a trip to Grand Rapids on my day off to pick up my delicious, delicious beer.

J and L made the trip with me.  I had a mid-afternoon doctor’s appointment so we didn’t get on the road until almost 4:00.  We headed straight to the brewery, found a spot to park right in front of the pick up, and got my beer.  Had we been earlier, we were going to go inside an eat, but we didn’t want to battle the after work crowd on a Friday with a toddler.

J asked if there was any place else in the area to eat and I kind of came up empty handed.  After a few minutes, I remembered a place in Ada a co-worker told me about, so we looked it up.  The menu looked great and it was far enough away from downtown, the dinner rush shouldn’t have started pouring in yet.

The Ada Pour House is on East Fulton just to the west of Amway.  It’s in a small strip mall with a number of other businesses and takes up a back corner space.   Read more…

HopCat – East Lansing

March 11, 2015
  • 300 Grove Street
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 816-4300
  • Website
  • Menu

I love work trips to Lansing.  Anything outside of the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Grand Rapids area means the company pays for our meals.

Late last week, a co-worker and I got sent to Lansing late in the day.  We had a scheduled appointment downtown at 7:00.  We were finished up by a little after 7:30 and wanted to find something to eat.

When I lived in Lansing and wrote Mid-Michigan Dining, I constantly complained about downtown Lansing.  I worked for a summer at Oldsmobile Park, so I spent a good number of summer nights downtown…and it sucked.  Everything closes at 7:00.  There are a couple of bars that stay open, but any of the quick service sandwich shops are closed well before the sun goes down.

Co-Worker wasn’t really impressed with anything in downtown Lansing, so I started thinking outside of downtown.  I was about to suggest Leo’s Outpost, but then  he came up with a better idea.  HopCat.

I love HopCat in Grand Rapids and even though we didn’t have time to actually sit down and eat, I suggested carry-out.  We still had some things to do in Lansing later on in the evening and ordering carry-out would give us time to run to East Lansing and get back.

East Lansing’s Hopcat is in the highly visible, well-traveled downtown area right on the edge of Michigan State University’s campus.  The restaurant is on Grove Street a block off of Grand River Avenue.  I don’t remember that building being there when I lived in the area, so I’m guessing it’s pretty new.   Read more…

Earth Fare/Westnedge Kitchen – Portage

March 5, 2015
  • 5070 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 343-4160
  • Website
  • Menu

Is it just me or are grocery stores really changing.  On the way out are the stores that just sell you groceries and maybe some salads from the deli.  All these new stores popping up have cafe areas that will rival almost any restaurant alongside their aisles and aisles of gourmet, fresh, or organic foods.

The newest entry into the Kalamazoo market is Earth Fare.  J has been super excited about this place for months as we watched the building being constructed in front of the Lowes on the corner of South Westnedge and Kilgore in Portage.  I always like variety and Earth Fare offers something a lot of it’s competitors don’t.  They don’t sell any products with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial fats or artificial transfats, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweetners.

Earth Fare has 33 locations throughout the Southeast and Midwest.  The Portage store is the only one in Michigan at the moment.  The doors to that store opened at the end of February and people were excited to see what was inside.

My first attempt at checking out Earth Fare was two days after it opened.  The parking lot was full and the first two rows in the Lowes parking lot were full as well.  I was about to give up when a spot opened up, so I zipped in before anyone else could.  I didn’t realize the carts were on the outside of the store, so I was lost when I got in.  I had L with me and the store was pretty crowded, so I picked her up.  I didn’t really get to see anything on that trip because there were so many people it was hard to move.  I tried to get to the cafe to get a sandwich, but gave up and decided to come back another time.

The following Sunday, L’s preschool performed at a church service, so for the first time in many, many years, we went to church to watch her sing.  Afterwards, we were fairly close to Earth Fare and J suggested stopping for lunch.  We sort of hit the same problem as we did my first attempt.  No parking again.  Once again, just as I was about to give up, a spot opened up right in front of me.

J has been going in the morning to get breakfast and that’s worked out much better for her.  She’s able to get a smoothie and a sandwich plus have time to browse the store before it gets crazy.  She was not expecting the mad crush of people that were waiting inside the doors after we got L in a cart and got inside.   Read more…

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