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OpenRoad Brewery

March 19, 2019
  • 128 S. Main Street
  • Wayland, MI 49348
  • (269) 792-2739
  • Website
  • Menu

Our second trip to Grand Rapids last Saturday was also our second trip to Gerald R. Ford International Airport.  We had to drop J’s mom off to fly back to Florida in the morning then go back later in the evening to pick J up from her trip to Las Vegas.

J wasn’t supposed to fly in to Grand Rapids.  Her flight on Friday which ended in Kalamazoo was cancelled and the quickest way to get home to was to fly to GRR.  It made for a long day for the kids and traveling back and forth on 131 but we were all happy to get her home.

The flight came in a little after 5:00 and we were just pulling into the parking garage as she landed. We found her at the  gate, grabbed her bag, then started heading home.

I asked if she had eaten and she said yes, but it wasn’t very satisfying so she could eat again.  I also knew she had originally planned for a get together with some friends so I asked if she still wanted to go there or go eat.  She essentially said, “why not both?”

There’s a brewery in Wayland that I have been wanting to get to for quite a while. I have heard good things about it from friends but we don’t go north very often.  I finally had my opportunity.

OpenRoad Brewery is in downtown Wayland on Main Street just south of Superior Street.  The building is part of a downtown that utilizes street parking and lots behind the buildings  We found a spot just around the corner on Pine Street and walked around to the front entrance.

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Old Plank Road Restaurant

March 18, 2019
  • 137 N. Main Street
  • Plainwell, MI 49080
  • (269) 685-9686
  • Website
  • Menu

Saturday was a crazy day.  J’s mom had flown in from Florida to help me with after school care while J was in Las Vegas.  She still has a couple more weeks down there before moving back up to St. Joseph County for the warm months.  She flew Allegiant this time because there is a direct flight between Punta Gorda and Grand Rapids…and it was cheap.

Her flight Saturday morning left Grand Rapids at about 10:30.  We had to get the kids up and get them in the car so we could get Nana to the airport in time.  That would be the first of our two airport trips that day.  You see, J’s flight from Las Vegas to Kalamazoo on Friday was cancelled the quickest way for her to get home was to fly in to Grand Rapids at 5:00 Saturday evening.

There was no way I could kill all day with the kids so we just made the trip twice.  We dropped Nana off curbside at the airport, said our good-byes, then headed back towards home.

When we got close to Plainwell I asked the kids if they would want to stop for breakfast.  Both of them said yes, so I pulled off the highway at 106th Street and headed towards downtown Plainwell.  I knew there’s a couple of diners close to downtown so I just figured we’d stop at the first one we hit.

We found a spot to park on the street on North Main Street then walked a few doors down to Old Plank Road Restaurant.  The diner is right along the busy stretch of town and is tucked into an old wood building with a stone facade. Read more…


March 18, 2019
  • 1157 Wealthy Street SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • (616) 805-4232
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m kind of in between co-workers in our Kalamazoo office so I’m spending a little more time in Grand Rapids.  Getting home later is one of the downside but the upside is getting to go back to some of my favorite restaurants and finding the new ones since I’ve left.

One of my colleagues in Grand Rapids is one of the social media influencer type of people  She always knows the hot new places in town and she knows how much I like fried chicken.

I just happened to be in Grand Rapids on the day Hancock opened.  It’s a new Nashville Hot Chicken from the people behind Donkey Taqueria.  I didn’t go on opening day but I was back in town a few days later and had some time for dinner.

Hancock is on the corner of Wealthy and Fuller in the East Hills Neighborhood.  The building is an old service station turned restaurant that was most recently Wealthy Street Station.

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76th Street Truck Stop Diner

March 15, 2019
  • 460 76th Street SW
  • Byron Center, MI 49315
  • (616) 455-5632 x2
  • Website
  • Menu

J has been at her new job only a few weeks and she’s already traveling for conferences.  She had a trip to Las Vegas for four days which leaves me alone with the kids.  That’s not an issue but daycare does become one.  I don’t get off work until (at least) 6:30 and our daycare closes at 6:00.

I was going to take a couple days off work and see if I could get our old nanny to watch the kids after school the other two days but J’s mom offered to fly in from Florida for the week to help out.  She hadn’t seen the kids in a while and found a cheap flight on Allegiant to get here.

She could have booked a flight in to Kalamazoo but it would have been a lot more expensive.  We told her to just book the Allegiant flight and I’d drive to Grand Rapids to pick her up.

Her flight was coming in to GRR at about 10:30.  I dropped the kids off at school at 8:30 then just started driving towards the airport.  I was hungry and had planned on getting breakfast along the way. did their Michigan’s Best series with diners last month.  There were a few that made the initial list in the Kalamazoo area that I had never been to but none made the Top Ten.  There was a Grand Rapids entry that managed to place and it was along my way to the airport.

76th Street Truck Stop Diner is on 76th Street SW just west of US-131 inside the Mobile station.  They placed 10th on the list and now claim to be Michigan’s best Truck Stop Diner as none of the ones above them are truck stops.

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Auntie Anne’s (Portage)

March 14, 2019
  • 6650 S. Westnedge Avenue, Suite 207
  • Portage, MI 49024
  • (269) 324-3117
  • Website
  • Menu

So…I’m a 90’s kid which  means I spent a lot of time in the malls growing up.  I vividly remember when the mall near me was built.  I was in 5th grade and they might as have been building DisneyWorld in my hometown.  That’s how exciting it was.

We used to go on family vacations and all I would want to do was check out the mall in whatever city we were in.  If we were out of Illinois, I would be looking for local basketball jersey’s.  Back in olden times, if you wanted an LA Lakers jersey but you lived in Chicago, you either had to go to LA or order it from Eastbay.  It wasn’t just a click away like it is now.

Mall’s still had a ton of stores, arcades, and full food courts back in those days.  I spent a lot of time going between the arcade (playing The Simpsons) and the food court.

Things were different when I went shopping with my mom though.  We actually had to go shopping.  Jeans from JC Penny…or….if I was lucky and had a little extra money, The Buckle and then typically a stop at my mom’s favorite mall food stand…Auntie Anne’s.

Auntie Anne’s has been a mall staple since the early 1990’s.  The Portage shop in on the upper level of Crossroads Mall near what I guess can be considered Center Court. Read more…

Chuck E. Cheese’s (Portage)

March 11, 2019
  • 6175 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (877) 581-5732
  • Website
  • Menu

Stop me if you’ve seen this one.  I know, I know.  It wasn’t too long ago that I took my daughter to Chuck E. Cheese’s for the first time and let you know all about via a blog post.   And by not too long ago, I mean three years.

Here’s the change.  It’s changed quite a bit since then.  The food is a little different.  The gaming area is definitely different as is the birthday party area.  It’s time for an update.

The Kalamazoo area has one Chuck E. Cheese’s.  It’s on South Westnedge right next to what used to be Toys R Us.  We went on a Thursday night because L’s school was  having a fundraiser. Read more…

Taco Bob’s (Mattawan)

March 11, 2019
  • 23980 City Center Circle
  • Mattawan, MI 49071
  • (269) 668-9123
  • Website
  • Menu

I go on and on about my love for tacos but fast food tacos are a whole different ball game.

My favorite when it comes to fast food tacos has always been Taco John’s.  It probably has something to do with my family always going there when I was little.  Between Taco Tuesday’s and Free Tacos for A’s, we ate at Taco John’s a lot.

I didn’t really start eating at Taco Bell  until I was in college.  To this day, I still really don’t like it but it’s an easy, greasy meal…especially at night.

Fortunately for us, Taco Bell is not the only fast food taco option in the Kalamazoo area.  We also have Taco Bob’s.

Taco Bob’s is a small regional with seven stores mostly in the Kalamazoo area.  I’ve been to most of them at one time or another but one of the few I haven’t is the Mattawan location.

Taco Bob’s of Mattawan is right near the corner of Main Street and McGillen Avenue.  It’s part of the somewhat new McGillen’s Crossing shopping center right as you come in to town from I-94. City Center Circle is the road that runs within the shopping center.  Taco Bob’s is one of the first stores when you come in to the parking lot from the McGillen Avenue entrance.

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