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Haymarket Brewery & Taproom

June 22, 2017
  • 9301 Red Arrow Highway
  • Bridgman, MI 49106
  • (269) 266-5050
  • Website
  • Menu

Our most recent long weekend in Chicago wrapped up on Father’s Day.  J usually lets me pick someplace for dinner on my birthday and Father’s Day and usually, I pick a brewery.

We left Chicago just before noon and started heading towards Michigan.  I could have found someplace in the Chicago suburbs, but I wanted to take advantage of the trip back home and stop in Bridgman.

Haymarket Brewery & Taproom is the third brewery to open in the small town of Bridgman near the Michigan/Indiana border.  Haymarket Pub & Brewery is already established in Chicago, but when the duo that owns the brewery was looking to expand, they looked to the east side of Lake Michigan after striking out in their hometown.

Haymarket Brewery & Taproom is on Red Arrow Highway on the north side of Bridgman.  It’s right across the street from Lost Dunes Golf Club just inside the city limits. The new venture took over the old Michigan State Police post that was vacated by MSP in 2011 when the State Police closed 21 posts statewide.

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Slice Factory (Oak Lawn)

June 20, 2017
  • 9600 S. Pulaski Road
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708) 424-1100
  • Website
  • Menu

It didn’t take me long to find an Italian beef on our most recent trip to Chicago, but the rest of my family doesn’t really like the foods that I like.  A lot of times I have to make two or three stops to get food for everyone.  I get the beef I want.  The kids get what they want.  J gets what she wants.  Everyone is happy.

I asked L what she wanted for lunch before I headed out.  I was assuming she was going to say a grilled cheese or McDonalds.  I figured I could find either along the way.  She surprised me and said pizza.  I really didn’t know what I was going to do.  Sure, I passed a lot of pizza places, but I just needed something for L and she wasn’t going to eat a whole pizza by herself.

I took Pulaski north into the city from Oak Lawn to find my Italian beef.  To my surprise, I passed a pizza by the slice place and I would have to pass it again on my way home.  My pizza dilemma with L was solved.

Slice Factory is a small Chicago chain with eight locations (including one in Champaign, IL near the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana).  The Oak Lawn location sits near the intersection of South Pulaski Road and 96th Street just a few blocks south of the very busy Pulaski and 95th Street intersection. Read more…

Tony’s Italian Beef

June 20, 2017
  • 7007 S. Pulaski Road
  • Chicago, IL 60629
  • (773) 284-6787
  • Website
  • Menu

It doesn’t take me long.  The first thing I usually do when we get to Chicago for a long weekend is start planning out my meals.  An Italian beef is always on the agenda and finding a new place to get one from is always exciting.

We were in Chicago last weekend because I had a three day weekend.  It just happened to work out that my niece’s birthday party was on Saturday so we could hang out with J’s family in the Chicago suburbs then head south to my brother’s house for a Saturday with my family.

We got in to town around noon on Friday.  J asked what we should do for lunch.  She was hungry and started snacking so I started looking for food.  I stumbled upon an Italian beef place not far away that happened to be on a couple of Chicago’s best lists (including Chicago’s Best, Thrillest, and The Hungry Hound..who didn’t really like it but still made the list.)

Tony’s Italian Beef is on Chicago’s south side near the corner of Pulaski Road and 70th.  The small restaurant can best be described as something you will only find in Chicago.  It’s a true Chicago sandwich shop with just enough room to barely breath with a kitchen full of fast talking and quick working employees serving up what Chicago does best.

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Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders (Portage)

June 15, 2017
  • 10100 Shaver Road
  • Portage, MI 49024
  • (269) 327-5121
  • Website
  • Menu

There’s a billboard near Schoolcraft right along US-131.  The billboard is advertising a Mancino’s in Portage.  For the longest time, I always wondered why that billboard was there.  Shaver Road in Portage always felt so far away.  In my mind, you’d have to go all the way back to I-94 to the Westnedge exit then drive so far south to get there.  It was quite a while before I realized that Shaver Road actually Y’s off with 131 just before it turns into a freeway and that Mancino’s is just a few miles up the road.

I’ve blogged many, many time about my fondness for Mancino’s grinders.  In all the years we’ve lived in Kalamazoo, we’ve never had much reason to go that far south to get a grinder.  J doesn’t love them like I do, so I’ve never pushed a trip out of our way just to get one.

Last week, I actually had business in that area of town and spent a couple consecutive days in the area.  Finding time for lunch was hard, but on the third day, I was finally able to get away just long enough to pick up a sandwich for lunch.

Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders in Portage is at the corner of Shaver Road and Beethoven Avenue just south of the Shaver/Oakland intersection in the far southern tip of the City of Portage.  The building really doesn’t look like a restaurant.  I saw the sign from the road, but was unsure of where the shop actually was until I spotted some signage in the window after we turned in to the parking lot.  It shares a building with Bella Creamery, but it doesn’t share the space.  They are two separate in two separate spaces within the same building that looks more like it should be home to retail than restaurants.

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Comerica Park

June 13, 2017
  • 2100 Woodward Avenue
  • Detroit, MI 48201
  • (313) 962-4000
  • Website

We’re in enemy territory.  That’s what I kept telling me daughter.

J and I grew up near Chicago.  We’re both White Sox fans.  My whole family is White Sox fans.  Her whole family is White Sox fans.  Even after almost 10 years, it’s still weird living in a market that doesn’t support Chicago sports teams.

J and I took our first trip to Comerica Park not long after we moved to Lansing in 2008.  We don’t root (and never will) for the Tigers, but we really liked the game day atmosphere at Comerica and went back a few times when we still lived in Mid-Michigan.  One of those trips, we even took my parents as well as my brother and his family.  His oldest daughter was maybe 18 months old at the time….so, it’s been a while.

The last couple of years, the White Sox and Tigers haven’t played many games in Detroit on weekends.  When the schedule came out this year, my dad noticed several weekend games between the two teams.  He asked if I’d be interested in going to game….and there’s no way I can say no to that.

Comerica Park sits right in downtown Detroit in an area that has really built up as an entertainment destination.  The park’s address is Woodward Avenue, but it really sits on Witherall Street between Montcalm and Adams.  It’s right across Brush Street from Ford Field and just a parking lot away from the Fox Theatre.

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Irving’s Market & Deli

June 11, 2017
  • 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 344-4787
  • Website
  • Menu

Many years ago, when I was in college, I did an internship near the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.  A lot of the people I worked with went to the same little deli almost everyday for lunch and/or dinner.  They could grab a salad out of the cooler or there was a rotating hot bar where they could quickly pick up something to eat and get back to work.

Now that I work in downtown Kalamazoo, I’m noticing more of the places that offer quick, healthier options for lunch for the office crowds that work in the Central Business District.

A couple of weeks ago, as vendors were getting set up for Art on the Mall, I went for a walk looking for a food cart that I had seen several times in the area.  It wasn’t there that day and I wasn’t in the mood for Taco Bob’s, so I kept walking not really knowing where I was going for lunch.  A sandwich board outside of the Kalamazoo City Centre reminded me of a place I haven’t eaten at in several years.  Read more…

Shakespeare’s Pub

June 4, 2017
  • 241 E. Kalamazoo Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI, 49007
  • (269) 488-7782
  • Website
  • Menu

The thing about the business that J and I work in….there’s a lot of turnover.  And that turnover doesn’t mean going to a new building across the street, it’s out of the state usually.  The thing is, you can’t get another job our business and stay in Kalamazoo.  That means a lot of goodbyes and some are harder than others.

J recently lost two co-workers who she was very close with.  Both of them left within a few days of each other so they decided to have their going away party together.  We don’t get to a lot of the going away parties because of the kidsm but  was adamant she was going to make this one.

The co-going away party was thrown at Shakespeare’s Pub in downtown Kalamazoo on a Sunday afternoon, so it was somewhat family friendly.  J and I haven’t been to Shakespeare’s in years so we decided to bring the kids and just eat dinner while we were there.

Shakespeare’s Pub is in the old Shakespeare Company building on Kalamazoo Street between Pitcher and Edwards Streets in the Central Business District.  The Shakespeare Company manufactured fishing rods in Kalamazoo for decades and the building Shakespeare’s now occupies was an office building.  The Shakespeare name for the pub was taken from the Shakespeare Company, not the English Playwright as most presume.   Read more…