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Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse (Oshtemo)

January 15, 2020
  • 5160 W. Main Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 342-4360
  • Website
  • Menu

Open skate at Lawson Arena the last weekend of Winter Break was  nuts.  We had just got L her own pair of skates that she really wanted to try out and B really wanted to try to skate for the first time so we went.  Wings West doesn’t have open skate until 6:00 on Saturday’s so Lawson it was.

L got used to her new figure skates and B had a blast.  He was so happy being out on the ice with all of those people instead of having to sit in the stands and watch like he usually does.  We never made it all the way around the rink but he would skate a few feet by himself before falling down, getting up, and doing it all over again.

Our time ran out just before 3:30.  We got the kids packed up and started heading for home.  J asked about dinner right as I was coming to the corner of Drake and West Michigan so I took a quick turn north. I figured we could decide along the way where to go.

The kids intially picked Applebees (they have tablets on the tables with games so they always want to eat there) but there was a wait already at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m not gonna wait at Applebees.  We have tablets at home they could play.

We walked back to the car and across the parking lot we see a restaurant that we’ve blown off for quite a while.  J suggested we go there and I figured why not.

Finley’s Grill and Smokehouse has rebranded since the last time we ate there.  They’re no longer just an American Grill.  They’re now also a smokehouse.

The longtime restaurant is in the Target shopping plaza on West Main in Oshtemo Township.  The parking lot is pretty small and most people were parking across the road in the plaza lot.  We saw a place next to the building so I pulled in the lot so we didn’t have to cross with the kids.

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Cosmic Candy Company (Kentwood)

January 6, 2020
  • 3195 28th Street SE
  • Kentwood, MI 49512
  • (616) 888-5085
  • Website

What to do while we’re waiting for a table at The Cheesecake Factory?  Walk around the mall….duh.

We took a trip to Grand Rapids to get a new pair of ice skates for L.  I got her first pair of figure skates.  We’ve been using the rentals at Wings Westand she’s progressed enough I told her I’d buy her a used pair.  Kalamazoo doesn’t have a Play It Again Sports so we took a trip north.

I suggested eating at The Cheesecake Factory because I’ve never eaten at a Cheesecake Factory.  There was about an hour wait and we decided to wait.  The kids weren’t going to sit and wait though so we took a walk out in the mall.

Cosmic Candy Company is inside the Woodland Mall on the corner of 28th Street and East Beltline right on the edge of Kentwood.  The easiest way to get to the store is through The North Face entrance on the southeast side of the mall.

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The Cheesecake Factory (Kentwood)

January 2, 2020
  • 3195 28th Street SE
  • Kentwood, MI 49512
  • (616) 956-6580
  • Website
  • Menu

L needed a new pair of skates.  She’s been taking skating lessons through the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association and is starting to get pretty good.  She’s been just using the rental skates at Wings West but she’s at the point she wants her own pair.

She’s not quite at the point where I’m willing to shell out the money for a new pair yet.  I had just gotten a pretty good pair of used skates at Play It Again Sports in Grand Rapids and since we don’t have a PIAS here, we took a trip to GR to get her a pair of skates.

J just assumed we were doing this because there was someplace in Grand Rapids I wanted to eat.  Truth is, there was…but I was a little embarrassed to mention it.  It wasn’t some great new local place with an amazing beer selection…it was a chain… but a big chain that I’ve never eaten at before.

The Cheesecake Factory moved in to Woodland Mall in Kentwood just a few months ago.  The restaurant is located on the southeast side of the mall near 28th and the Beltline with a few other chain restaurants near the Barnes and Noble entrance.  The space was occupied by Bar Louie for several years before closing last spring and switching over to The Cheesecake Factory. 

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Yolks & Berries

January 2, 2020
  • 505 N. Kinzie Avenue
  • Bradley, IL 60915
  • (815) 935-1501
  • Website
  • Menu

Breakfast is required after a night at Grandma and Papa’s.  It’s usually a walk to the gas station to get donuts but my mom had offered to bring the kids to us instead of making J and I going an hour out of our way to pick them up.

We did Christmas with my family in Illinois a couple weeks before actual Christmas.  I decided to get a hotel room this year instead of listening to everyone complain about the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements at my parents (they only have one extra bed now).  My mom still wanted the kids to sleep over with their cousins on Saturday night so J and I got the hotel room to ourselves.  We were staying about a half hour north of my parents so they offered to just bring the kids to us in the morning.

We decided to meet at a breakfast restaurant not too far from I-57 which we would take to start our trip back to Michigan.  My niece actually recommended her favorite breakfast place and my mom agreed with her.  I wasn’t going to argue because my mom didn’t recommend IHOP like she usually does.

Yolks & Berries is on Kinzie Avenue north of North Street kind of on the edge of the Village Square Shopping Center.  The restaurant sits out near Kinzie (which is also US-50).  I spent a lot of time at this shopping center as a kid.  One of the original Monical’s Pizzas used to be there and there was a department store called K’s Merchandise that we shopped at quite often before the mall was built a few miles north of here.  This restaurant has always been sometime of family breakfast joint called VIPS but I had never eaten there before.  My parents were always more chain restaurant people growing up so we weren’t as adventurous then as I am now. Read more…

Hoppy Pig

December 30, 2019
  • 135 N. Kinzie Avenue
  • Bradley, IL 60915
  • (815) 614-3134
  • Website
  • Menu

It was our turn to head to Illinois for Christmas.  My family just came to Michigan for B’s birthday over Thanksgiving weekend and we needed to do Christmas with my family early because L was having her tonsil’s out and wouldn’t be able to travel.

We did something a little different this time.  We got a hotel instead of staying at my parents.  It’s at the point there’s just not enough beds so a hotel was really the best way to go.

We got in to town late Friday night then headed to my brother’s house about 20 minutes south of Kankakee, IL Saturday morning.  We spent the day with my family, opened presents, and ate Italian beef for lunch.

My mom wanted all the kids to spend the night at her house.  My brother needed a babysitter that night anyway and J and I could use a night to ourselves every once and a while too so we gladly let them go to Grandma’s.

J and I headed back to our hotel on the south side of the Kankakee metro area around 5:00.  There are no hotels near my parents or brothers…so this was the closest.  We had eaten a pretty big lunch  but we also weren’t going to pass up the chance to go out for a meal with no one whining about when their food was going to get there.

Pretty much all of my family was pushing us towards The Hoppy Pig.  I mean, beer and BBQ.  That pretty much sums up my life.

The Hoppy Pig is in Bradley, IL on Kinzie Avenue just north of Broadway Street.  We have actually eaten at this restaurant before…a few years ago when it was known as Ale House Pub & Eatery.

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Pizza Katerina

December 13, 2019
  • 635 N. 9th Street, Suite E
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 775-1722
  • Website
  • Menu

When Momma’s away, we eat pizza for dinner.

J had an early morning meeting in Saginaw so she went over the night before and got a hotel room.  That seemed like a better idea than getting up early to drive.

She left straight from work so I changed my shift to work early mornings.  That way I’d be able to pick the kids up from daycare.

B’s daycare is over on the east side of town and my plan was to pick up a pizza from the Cottage Inn on Sprinkle and Kilgore but that place closed (again).  I had to come up with a new plan.

I pulled in to the new Circle K on that same corner and thought about just getting a pizza from there…but, as always, I had a better idea.

Pizza Katerina has been open in Oshtemo for a few months now.  The small, made-from-scratch bakery/pizza joint is right next to Oshtemo Pharmacy on 9th Street in that small strip mall in front of Walmart.   They’ve moved into the space connected to the pharmacy that used to be a small cafe.

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Trak Houz Bar & Grill

December 12, 2019
  • 5003 Park Circle Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 775-1390
  • Website
  • Menu

Change is good sometimes, right?

I’ve worked in a satellite office for almost three years now.  It’s just me and one other person.  I don’t miss the drive to Grand Rapids every day at all but I do miss the interaction with some of my co-workers.

Staffing around the holiday’s can get pretty thin in the office but all the shifts still need to be filled.  There was an opportunity for me to take a couple of shifts in Grand Rapids….but they were what are essentially third shift times.

It worked out pretty well because J had to drive to Saginaw Tuesday night for a Wednesday morning meeting.  She needed to leave before I would normally get home so we were trying to figure out what to do about picking the kids up from daycare.  Working these shifts allowed me to get off by 12:30 so I could pick them up.

Monday night we split pickup duties.  I got L who’s daycare is closer to our home and J got B who’s daycare is closer to her work.  We didn’t have any plans for dinner so I texted J and asked if she’d want to me.  There is a new place near B’s daycare we’ve been wanting to eat at so I picked up L and we headed to the east side of town.

Trak Houz Bar & Grill is a new restaurant in an old space.  It’s part of the Zeigler Motorsports Complex on Sprinkle Road in Comstock Township.  When the building was opened, Zeigler brought in Millennium Restaurant Group to open one of their Tap House concepts.  Sprinkle Road Tap House was there for a couple of years but now, Zeigler has decided to bring everything in house.  Read more…