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Memphis Smokehouse

October 9, 2014
  • Memphis Smokehouse180 Monroe Avenue NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 242-9004
  • Website
  • Menu

I can’t pass up BBQ.  Seriously.  I just can’t drive by good BBQ and a few weeks ago, a new BBQ place opened in downtown Grand Rapids just in time for Artprize.  As much as I try to stay away from downtown during Artprize unless I have to go down there for work, I just couldn’t pass up BBQ.

Memphis Smokehouse takes over the storefront recently vacated by Donk’s Mexican Joint (or Taco Boy) on Monroe Avenue right across the street from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Memphis Smokehouse has a small menu of Memphis BBQ favorites and gourmet burgers.  The restaurant itself is pretty small.  There’s only room for a dozen or so people to eat in, but the location in downtown lends itself to carry-out and eating outside.

I stopped in to Memphis Smokehouse because I saw the sign for BBQ, but the burgers seem to take center stage.  They’re a gourmet burger at a “reasonable price.”  I went back and forth, but eventually, I stuck with the BBQ.   Read more…

AFB Bar & Grill

October 7, 2014
  • AFB Bar & Grill2941 Howard Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49006
  • (269) 459-1350
  • Website
  • Menu

Late night meals.  I never know what to do when I get off work and I’m hungry.  Too many times I have stopped at McDonalds in Wayland on my way home, but that gets old….real fast.

Somewhere on Twitter, I noticed that a bar near campus has half off burgers on Monday.  I like burgers, I like half off, and since it’s a Monday, I don’t have to worry too much about the rowdy college crowds.

I headed home first to drop off my work car so I could enjoy a cold one then headed back towards WMU.

AFB Bar & Grill is in the Campus Pointe Mall on the corner of Michigan and Howard in the Arcadia Neighborhood near Western Michigan University.  The letters AFB look like they should stand for something…and whadya know, they do.  It actually makes the name a little redundant.  The AFB stands for Another F^&cking Bar.   Remember, it is a college bar…

AFB takes up three store fronts in the Campus Pointe Mall.  Most recently, one of them was Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage, another was last Geno’s Golden Pizza, and I don’t really remember what the third space was.  The Pop’s portion is pretty much a large game room with pool tables and several HD TV’s all tuned to sports.  The entrance to the bar is at the old Geno’s locaiton.  The main bar and dining area is in the third store front. Read more…

Station 702

September 30, 2014
  • Station 702702 Douglas Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 350-3599
  • Website
  • Menu

We didn’t plan on going to breakfast this morning.  J let me sleep in a little bit and we had leftover BBQ from the night before so that was the plan for lunch.  While I was playing with L, I got the idea just to go grab something real quick.

My plan was to check out Station 702.  This new, fast-casual breakfast/lunch place just opened in what I feel is a pretty unlikely place.  With the help of a Community Development Block Grant, they turned an old, run down building in the Northside Neighborhood into a bright, welcoming space at the intersection of North and Douglas.  If you saw this place beforehand, you would have a hard time believing it’s the same building.  In a previous life, it was the popular Dips Soul Food restaurant…now, it’s a hip, fast casual breakfast spot that focuses on omelets.

We walked in just before noon on a Sunday.  We actually questioned if it was open as we were pulling in the parking lot.  There were no other cars, but the “open” sign was lit, so we headed inside.

Station 702 uses the term fast casual because they don’t do table service.  There is an order counter that gives you a glimpse in to the small kitchen behind it.  They serve breakfast all day and start lunch service at 11:00.  We had the opportunity to order of either menu, but chose the breakfast because…well, it’s Sunday.

I surprised J…and even myself a little bit, and ordered The Station Hash.  The plate is a sauteed medley of potatoes, topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, and choice of meat (I chose bacon).  There were too many kinds of potatoes for me to pick out which ones they were, but I stuck to the smaller, more cooked pieces.  There were big pieces of sweet potatoes on my plate and I really don’t like sweet potatoes, but it was easy to pick around.  J actually took a few of those for herself.  The dish came with choice of side and I took the pancake.  It was a small, golden brown pancake that was delicious with or without the provided butter and syrup. Read more…

Potter Park Zoo

September 27, 2014
  • Potter Park Zoo1301 S. Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 483-4222
  • Website

More zoo’s.  I think we’ve figured out that we have to been to 10 zoo’s in the last 18 months.  I love.  J loves it.  L loves it.  So I don’t feel bad about checking out as many different zoos as possible.

We had to make a trip over to the Lansing area to drop off an antique chair for my mom.  She was having a hard time finding someone in Illinois to repair it, but she found someone in Holt.  She asked if we could take it over for her one day.  I was going to to do it one morning when it was just L and I, but J mentioned something about going to the zoo, so I waited until Friday.  That’s my day off, so when J got home from work at 12:30, we loaded up the chair and L then headed off to Lansing.

The Potter Park Zoo is in Potter Park just south of downtown Lansing on Pennsylvania Avenue.  J and I have actually been there a couple times.  When we lived in Lansing, we always took advantage of the awesome “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”  put on by the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau.  This awesome event allows you to buy a passport for $1 then get in free to a number of different attractions around the area.  This was the first time, obviously, that we have taken L though.

Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the zoo is part of Potter Park which is operated by Ingham County.  Unfortunately, they charge you to park in this park which means even though you’re going to pay admission to the zoo, you still have to pay to park.  The fee for a non-Ingham County resident is $5.  Not a big deal, but is just another expense even though you still have to pay to get in to the zoo.

Once we paid, we made our way to the back of the park to find the zoo.  Potter Park Zoo is the oldest public zoo in the state of Michigan.  It opened in 1920 after being moved from a different park in the city of Lansing.  The zoo is neatly tucked in to the park surroundings and makes use of the natural trees and landscapes to blend in the animal exhibits. Read more…

Woody’s Bar & Grill

September 26, 2014
  • Woody's Bar & Grill8765 Goldenrod Avenue
  • Bitely, MI 49309
  • (231) 745-3754
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu

Usually I’m the guy that comes up with interesting places to eat while on trips with co-workers.  Last night, it was my co-worker who knew exactly where we were heading in northwestern Newaygo County and talked excessively about a bar that he found with a different co-worker a few years ago.

That bar is Woody’s Bar & Grill in the area near Bitely in Newaygo County known as Woodland Park.  It’s right off of 11 Mile Road on a small road known as Goldenrod.

The bar is a classic country bar.  It’s the place all the locals go and when my co-worker started asking people about it, they told us again and again that we had to go to Woody’s for dinner.

We pulled in to the gravel parking lot just before 6:00 on a Thursday night and a number of regulars were already stopping in for a drink after work and a bite to eat.  We were greeted by an enthusiastic bartender when we walked in and told to sit wherever.  I started towards a booth, but my co-worker started making a big deal out of the women’s bathroom and asked the bartender if I could take a peak in.  That sounds odd, but the tank of the toilet is a fish tank.  It’s actually pretty cool although I did feel a little odd walking in to the women’s bathroom just to see the toilet.

After our little excursion to the bathroom, we headed back to a booth and sat down.  The bartender followed us with menus and we both ordered Coke’s to drink since we were on the clock. Read more…

Fatso’s – Alsip

September 26, 2014
  • Fatso's5043 W. 111th Street
  • Alsip, IL 60803
  • (708) 424-2470
  • Website
  • Menu

Usually when it comes to gluttonous restaurants, I’m on top of things, but J found one that I must have glanced over.

We were spending a few days at J’s parents house and after a long day in the city, we didn’t really have any ideas for dinner.  While lounging on the couch, J remembered a newer restaurant not too far away that that had menu right up my ally.

Fatso’s has two locations in the Chicago suburbs and both are pretty close to where J lives.  The original location is on 95th Street in Oak Lawn in what appears to be an old Checker’s.  For some reason, we have never been to this one.  I don’t think we knew what it was about until the second location opened up in Alsip on 111th Street near Cicero.

Fatso’s is mostly a carry-out place, but they do have a few tables in this new location.  It’s in a strip mall wedged between a Mexican restaurant and a nail salon.  The space used to be a pizza joint before turning into this haven of oversized delicious foods.

The menu is pretty standard for a take out sandwich place.  There are  number of options, but it’s their big items that make this place stand out.  J and I both went to opposite ends of the spectrum on the big item part of the menu.   Read more…

Park Place Cafe

September 25, 2014
  • Park Place Cafe2150 N. Cannon Drive
  • Chicago, IL 60614
  • (312) 742-2000
  • Website
  • Menu

A couple of hours walking around the zoo is enough to work up an appetite.  We had already been at Lincoln Park Zoo for a little over an hour when everyone started asking about lunch.  J asked if there was anything we could walk to, but it’s a little bit of a walk through Lincoln Park to get to any restaurants outside the zoo, so we just took advantage of the restaurants inside the zoo to quiet the rumbling stomachs.

We made our way back to Park Place Cafe for a potty break and after J took L, she came back out to the patio where her step-dad I were waiting.  J said they had a decent looking food court and she was hungry, so we followed her back inside to grab a quick bite to eat before finishing our zoo journey.

The Park Place Cafe is in the middle of Lincoln Park Zoo which itself is in the middle of Chicago’s Lincoln Park.  The zoo is free so this is a place you could stop in for lunch whether you’re wandering around the zoo or not.  Heck, if you’re just in the park or at the nearby beach you could wander over for something to eat.

The Park Place Cafe is actually the zoo’s old Reptile House.  It’s a large stone building with an open floor plan.  One one side is a cafeteria style food court and the other side is the dining room.   Read more…

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