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The Dawg House

September 13, 2019
  • 402 E. Highway Street
  • Vicksburg, MI 49097
  • (269) 649-4117
  • Website
  • Menu

There’s nothing like delicious quick fried chicken.  There are so many days I go to the Shell station on the corner of Michigan and Westnedge because they have Chester Chicken.  It’s always ready.  It’s always hot.  It’s cheap and it’s quite tasty.

My colleague and I were driving through Vicksburg last week on our way back to Kalamazoo.  We didn’t plan on stopping in Vicksburg but I was thirsty and I got an idea for lunch.

I knew there was an old IGA Store across the street from the high school that has a deli inside.  I stopped in there a couple of months ago to check it out but there was a wait on the chicken because it was after the meal rushes.  I just grabbed a Pepsi that night and figured I come back on my next stop through Vicksburg.

The Dawg House is on the corner of Highway Street and Davis Avenue on the southeast side of town across the street from Vicksburg High School.  The little building is an old IGA store that used to be known as Fink’s Butcher and Deli Shop.

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Burgers and Brews

September 9, 2019
  • 1101 S. Centreville Road
  • Sturgis, MI 49091
  • (269) 651-1476
  • Website 
  • Menu

Labor Day weekend has always meant a trip to the beach.  Things changed this year though.  Nana and Grandpa moved to Michigan and have a house on a lake.  We traded in the big lake for Nana and Grandpa’s lake.  The kids noticed at first but in the end, they probably had a lot more fun with the sunset cruises than they would sitting in the sand being forced to wait for sunset over the lighthouse.

My weekend was pretty messed up.  I worked 12 hours on Thursday, 14 hours on Friday then had to get up at 2:30 AM to fill in for a 3:30 AM shift in Grand Rapids on Saturday.  J and the kids went to Sturgis without me on Friday.  That was the plan anyway because I also had to work on Labor Day so I was just going to meet them out there on Saturday morning.

Needless to say, I was exhausted on Saturday getting only about two hours of sleep the night before.  I took a short nap when I got there then we spent the day hanging out by the lake.  J’s mom had just seen an advertisement for a new(er) restaurant in Sturgis and asked if we wanted to go there for dinner.

Burgers & Brews is inside Sturgis Bowl on South Centreville Road (M-66) south of South Street on the southside of Sturgis.  The bowling area has been in Sturgis for quite a long time but this restaurant looks like it’s just been around a couple of years.

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs (Champaign)

September 4, 2019
  • 2306 N. Prospect Avenue
  • Champaign, IL 61822
  • (217) 207-9000
  • Website
  • Menu

In your 20’s, it seems like all you do is go to weddings.  Weekend after weekend after weekend is filled with weddings.

In your late 30’s, weddings are a little more rare and usually just family, but a new thing is popping up.  40th birthday parties.

I’m at that age.  I turn 40 in October.  A lot of my friends are also turning 40 and most of them are getting birthday parties like we’re still 5-years-old.   Only now instead of cake and ice cream, they are full of cheap beer and fireworks.

There are very few people I still maintain contact with from my childhood but there is one guy who has always remained close not only to me but to my entire family.  His 40th birthday party was a couple of weeks ago in Pana, IL.

I’m about 99.9% sure you’ve never heard of Pana.  It’s a small town in Christian County, IL.  It’s much closer to St. Louis than it is Chicago.

We would have needed a babysitter for the whole weekend so J decided to stay home.  My parents were going to the party as well so I pretty much just hung at their house until we made the drive south.

I knew I wasn’t going to stay in Pana all night.  It was just going to be a thing where I made an appearance because he is a friend and it was really important for my mom that I go.  I didn’t know anyone other than my family and his family so there wasn’t a lot for me to do.  I stayed through the fireworks show (yes, there was a professional fireworks show) then started the 5-hour (6 with the time change) trek home.

I had eaten a sandwich at the party but I was still pretty hungry when I left.  I knew that Champaign was a little over an hour away and I knew they had gotten a Portillos since the last time I was in the area.  Portillo’s isn’t always my first choice when it comes to Italian beef but it is a good choice and one I won’t pass up if there’s one nearby.

Portillo’s Hot Dogs is on Prospect Avenue near Town Centre Boulevard on the north side of Champaign.  There really isn’t a nearby Interstate exit to get off on.  My GPS took me north on I-57 past I-74 and backtrack at the Olympian Drive exit.

The restaurant sits in a highly commercialized area in front of a Menards.  The large restaurant sort of looks like a 50’s diner from the outside with a lot of neon and steel panels.  The super efficient drive through wasn’t set up because it was almost 10:00 at night by the time I got there.  There were only a few cars in the parking lot so getting in and getting out was easier than it’s ever been.  Read more…

Lazy Man Bar-B-Que

August 26, 2019
  • 6406 West W Avenue
  • Schoolcraft, MI 49087
  • (269) 207-1763
  • Website
  • Menu

We weren’t planning on going to Mendon Riverfest until we drove by Mendon Riverfest on the way to J’s parents house.

We went and picked her parents up then decided to go back for some elephant ears.  The kids played in the water inflatables for a while before we lured them away with the offer of cotton candy.

I wanted some actual food and not just sugar.  I left J to hand the sugar stuff then I headed towards a BBQ food truck to get myself something savory.

I have heard of Lazy Man Bar-B-Que before.  Their home base is in rural Schoolcraft but I’ve seen them parked at Bronson Park several times for Lunchtime Live!

The food truck looks like log cabin.  Unlike other food trucks, the order window is on the end of the trailer instead of the side.  The food truck was parked next to more traditional fair food trailers but it was such a great option to have BBQ instead of just cotton candy for dinner.  There’s a counter by the window with a couple choices of BBQ sauce and two rolls of paper towels hanging off the side of the building.

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NEDS on Gull Lake

August 19, 2019
  • 15450 M-43
  • Hickory Corners, MI 49060
  • (269) 671-5700
  • Website
  • Menu

I got home from work last Friday a little earlier than usual and a little hungrier than normal.  Friday is usually pizza night but J said she wanted to go somewhere and sit on a patio.  Whenever we’ve tried this around Kalamazoo on a Friday night, it works out poorly.

I thought maybe we’d find something on a lake somewhere and I somehow stumbled on NEDS on Gull Lake.  It’s a little bit of a drive from Kalamazoo but we decided to make the trip just to do something different.

NEDS on Gull Lake is on M-43 on the northside of the lake.  It’s right across the street from the Prairieville Township Park and public boat launch.  We pulled in to the parking lot and it was full.  We couldn’t get lucky and find someone pulling out.  Other cars were parking on the side of the road on the very busy M-43 but with the kids, I didn’t really feel comfortable doing that.  We decided just to pay the $7 and park in the Township Park and walk across the street.

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Lovers Only

August 14, 2019
  • 34 E. Grand River Avenue
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 986-1174
  • Website
  • Menu

Our third and final day working in Detroit was long…but not as long as the previous day.  We only worked about 14 hours instead of the 19 we did on Tuesday.

We worked through lunch before heading downtown where we were meeting up with another group of co-workers and setting up shop for the day.  I got my partner set up with what he needed then I told him I needed to go for a walk and find a Pepsi.

I did a little bit more than find a Pepsi.  I had walked around a little bit on Tuesday and was kind of shocked with downtown Detroit.  I don’t go down there very often but I don’t remember Detroit looking like this much of a city.  There were shops and restaurants and most importantly, people.

I hadn’t eaten so I went looking for someplace to grab a quick burger.  I came up to the corner of Grand River and Griswold Street.  There is a business there at street level of the 28 Grand building that didn’t sound like it should be a restaurant at all.  My mind went some place much seedier but as I walked past it, I noticed signs for sandwiches.

Lovers Only is not a porn shop.  It’s actually a really delicious counter service burger joint about a block west of Woodward Avenue on Grand River Avenue in downtown Detroit.  After eating there, I assume the name means something like (Burger) Lovers Only.  But, let’s be honest.  The name is what really got my attention and likely the reason I chose to stop in and see what it was all about.

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Eat-N-Out Pizza & Gelato

August 12, 2019
  • 531 Monroe Street
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 800-5718
  • Website
  • Menu

Day two in Detroit was a long one.  We started at 5 AM and didn’t get back to the hotel at 11:45 PM.

We were able to stop and grab breakfast around 8:30 AM but that was all we had the rest of the day aside from some snacks and a whole lot of Pepsi.

I guess I could have went in to the casino at Greektown to find something to eat but I’d rather not go in casinos if I don’t have to.  Can’t stand the fact they still allow smoking.

Good news.  I didn’t have to go in to the casino.  I found a pizza by the slice place that was open late.

Eat-N-Out Pizza & Gelato is real easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there.  There is very little signage on the narrow building tucked in between Exodus Lounge and Level Two Rooftop & Bar.  The only reason I stopped to look over is because my GPS said I was there.  The signage blends in to the awning and isn’t lit up like almost everything else on this block on Monroe Street.  Read more…