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Anchor Bar (Buffalo)

September 19, 2021
  • 1047 Main Street
  • Buffalo, NY 14209
  • (716) 883-1134
  • Website
  • Menu

Our trip to Upstate New York was really quick. We drove in on Tuesday, worked a little bit, checked out the National Baseball Hall of Fame, worked all day Wednesday, then drove home Thursday.

I had a lot I wanted to pack in this trip even though we had a couple of long work days. I accomplished one of those things on Tuesday with a quick run through the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other major goal was to find the place that invented the chicken wing.

Buffalo wings are (hopefully) obviously named after the City of Buffalo. We were passing through Buffalo on our way to and from Utica where we were staying. We didn’t have time on the way there to stop but we had really no place to hurry to on our way home.

We stopped at a Service Center about an hour and a half from Buffalo to use the bathroom. Co-worker asked if I wanted Tim Horton’s. I said no, I was planning on stopping in Buffalo for lunch. We hadn’t had time to sit down and have an actual meal on the company dime so he thought that sounded like a good idea.

We have a couple of co-workers that worked in Buffalo for a few years so my co-worker sent them a text asking for lunch recommendations. He didn’t realize that I already had plans. Our Buffalo source basically told us one thing. “Anywhere but the Anchor Bar.”

Ha. That was my plan on all along. We were going to the Original Anchor Bar.

Buffalo wings were invented at the Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo on the corner of Main and North Street. The story goes Teressa Bellissimo threw the wing parts, usually reserved for soup back in those days, in to the deep fryer and coated them in a “secret sauce” for her son’s friends back in 1964. The wings took off and almost 50 years, we’re eating millions of pounds of wings every year. The building has expanded quite a bit since that day in 1964 but if you pick this Anchor Bar location, you’re walking in to the original.

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New York Pizzeria

September 13, 2021
  • 75 Chestnut Street
  • Cooperstown, NY 13326
  • (607) 547-2930
  • Website
  • Menu

Getting sent to Upstate New York for work was incredibly exciting. It was really only about a day and a half but we had time to quickly go through the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum…something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.

We were staying in Utica which is about an hour from Cooperstown and we had some work to do once we got back to the hotel. Before we left the Museum, I asked my co-worker if he was up for pizza. I had seen a place on our way in to town…and they had online ordering, so I figured we could do something quick and easy for dinner avoiding having to search for something once we got back to the hotel.

New York Pizzeria is on Chestnut Street at the corner with Delaware Street south of downtown Cooperstown. The building looks pretty new and looking at Google street views seems to confirm that. It appears they took over another business on the corner and turned that in to parking for the two story pizza restaurant that sits there now. The restaurant has a pretty unique look with a dining room with large windows that open up and an outdoor patio tucked in to a space next to the building.

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National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

September 13, 2021
  • 25 Main Street
  • Cooperstown, NY 13326
  • (888) 425-533
  • Website

Man..the places work takes me.  

A colleague and I were in Upstate New York for three very quick, very busy days recently.  We made the 10+ hour drive one day, worked a 15 hour day the next, then headed the 10+ hours back to Michigan.  It was a whirlwind trip but we did get to do one thing I’ve had on my bucket list forever (well…two, but we’ll get to that in another blog post.)

We knew we weren’t going to have a lot of time on the day we actually had to work so once we got to Utica where our hotel was, we took the hour trip south to Cooperstown.  Every kid growing up dreams of getting in to Cooperstown one day and since my playing days are long over, at least seeing the Baseball Hall of Fame has been something I’ve wanted to do.  

The trip to Cooperstown is wild.  Our hotel is in  Utica and from there, it’s all two lane roads and not a single one of them is straight.  It’s only about 35 miles but because you’re constantly slowing down for curves, hills, etc., it takes almost an hour.  The drive there in the daylight was scary enough but the drive back in the dark was kind of terrifying.  There are no street lights anywhere..including at intersections so it’s really hard to see where you’re going.  

Cooperstown itself is  hard to describe.  It’s a village of less than 2,000 people.  It would be like dropping the Hall of Fame in Dowagiac here in Southwest Michigan. 

We got to Cooperstown around 4:30 and looked for a place to park.  There are no lots near the museum that we could find..just street parking.  There are some shuttle lots on the edge of town but it wasn’t super busy on the day we were there so we found a parking spot a few blocks from the museum.  

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum sits on Main Street in downtown Cooperstown right at the intersection with Fair Street.  The building is kind of out of place in this small downtown.  The three stories and half a block foot print are much bigger than anything else on the street.  

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South Side Grubz

September 11, 2021
  • 2245 W. Columbia Avenue, Suite 107
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (269) 719-2863
  • Website
  • Menu

Another Battle Creek post. Another opportunity for me to talk about The Carryout Club on Facebook. Yet again, this blog post would never have happened if I hadn’t seen several posts on The Carryout Club talking this place up.

I worked a double shift in Battle Creek a couple of weeks ago. Part of the day was spent working with a colleague, but the evening part of the shift I was solo.

I parted ways with colleague right around 6:00. I had about an hour until my next assignment so I decided to grab some dinner. Thanks to, I was reminded of a place I had seen on the Facebook group many times.

South Side Grubz is, wait for it….on the south side of Battle Creek. The small shop is in a corner strip mall at the intersection of Columbia Avenue and Helmer Road. The space has been a restaurant for quite a while with most recenty being Lil Chef Cafe.

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Bone Yard Cafe

September 10, 2021
  • 112 W. North Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 350-5344
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Food trucks and BBQ. It’s a pretty popular combination. I walked over to Lunchtime Live in Bronson Park last week and five of the seven trucks parked along South Street were BBQ. All of them had long lines.

For some reason, BBQ and food trucks just go together. I wasn’t surprised when I was driving down Rose Street a few weeks ago and saw a food truck parked at the corner of Rose and North was serving up BBQ. This truck is a little different than most trucks in the area though.

Bone Yard Cafe is on the corner of Rose and North in Kalamazoo’s Northside Neighborhood. The truck is permanently parked on a piece of property on that corner owned by the family that owns the food truck. They’ve turned that piece of property in to a little outdoor cafe with the smokers and grills hidden behind the truck and tables set up in the courtyard in front of it.

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The Icarus Grill

September 1, 2021
  • 5775 Beckley Road #649
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (734) 686-9271
  • Website 
  • Menu 

There’s a Facebook group in Battle Creek that has really opened my eyes to some place to eat in Calhoun County. It was started during the pandemic’s early days and it’s called The Carryout Club. The goal was simple. Support local businesses during the shutdown.

The shutdown is over but restaurants are still struggling. This Facebook group continues to post pictures and provides a place for local restaurants to showcase their specialties.

I’ve always had a little bit of a harder time finding places to eat in Battle Creek. This Facebook group has opened my eyes to several new places. I just don’t get over there enough to get to everything I want.

I worked a long day last Friday and between morning and evening parts of my shift, I was in Battle Creek. There’s a number of places I’ve been wanting to try but I was out by the mall…and there’s a restaurant there that I’ve been reading a lot about.

The Icarus Grill is inside the Lakeview Square Mall. I haven’t been in this mall in years so I didn’t really know where to go. I assumed it would be near the other food options so I parked near Buffalo Wild Wings and entered the mall through those doors on the south side off Beckley Road.

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Cosmic Candy Company

August 31, 2021
  • 168 S. Hancock Street
  • Pentwater, MI 49449
  • (616) 293-4859
  • Website
  • Menu

Alright, one more stop on the way home. Actually two..but one more for food.

We left Sleeping Bears Dunes after a fantastic lunch with some friends at St. Ambrose Cellars. J had one more stop she wanted to make on the way.

We went a little out of our way to find the Arcadia Scenic Turnout. We called this our afternoon hike and climbed to the top of the stairs of this overlook to find even more amazing views of Lake Michigan.

This was a little out of our way and we really weren’t in a hurry to get home. As we were leaving, J asked if there was any ice cream along the way. There’s always ice cream along the way…it was just how far out of our way did we want to go.

I decided Pentwater wasn’t too far out of the way and there’s a pretty big candy shop there that would have something for everyone.

Cosmic Candy Company is in downtown Pentwater between 1st and 2nd Streets. I actually missed the building the first time we drove by. The building has a big overhang out front. The sign was up against the building so I didn’t see it while driving. J noticed it so I went around the block and found a parallel parking spot right across the street.

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St. Ambrose Cellars

August 31, 2021
  • 841 S. Pioneer Road
  • Beulah, MI 49617
  • (231) 383-4262
  • Website
  • Menu

Usually it’s me, when we travel, finding places to eat…especially when it comes to breweries. This trip was different though. It was J who had a place we had to stop at before heading back home.

We checked out of our AirBnB in Thompsonville around 10 AM then headed to Empire to do a little more sightseeing at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

We had some friends that were coming up for a little vacation of their own. It worked out better for them to do a weekday getaway while we needed to do the weekend. We were going to overlap on Sunday afternoon so J wanted to meet up with them for lunch before we headed south.

J really wanted to go to St. Ambrose Cellars in Beulah. We left the Dune Climb area about 12:30 and headed back towards Beulah.

St. Ambrose Cellars is on Pioneer Road quite a ways east of Beulah near the intersection with Homestead Road in Homestead Township. The winery/brewery has a farm vibe going…which makes sense since it is a working farm.

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

August 30, 2021
  • 9922 W. Front Street
  • Empire, MI 49630
  • (231) 326-4700
  • Website

We have never been to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Yeah…I don’t like admitting that but to be honest, before last summer, we weren’t really outsdoorsy people. The pandemic really pushed us out of our comfort zone and got us hiking.

One of J’s friends (who grew up in Kalamazoo and had never been to Sleeping Bear herself) took a quick trip with a friend of hers and raved about the trails. J was slightly jealous and ready to book a trip for us.

A few months ago, I was looking at AirBnB’s in the area for my brother. They were talking about a trip to Northern Michigan for a few days. They ended up not going but the research we were doing for that trip inspired J to book a trip for us.

We booked an AirBnB near Thompsonville for two nights. The *plan* was to leave when I got off work on Friday night and drive north. We did that but instead of getting off around 5:30, I didn’t get off until almost 8:00, so it was a late night. We all got to bed with plans of getting up early and fitting as much in to the day as we could.

We got up fairly early on Saturday morning. We had planned on just grabbing some gas station donuts, but I stumbled on a deli that served home made bagels in Beulah. Instead of donuts, we started our day with bagels from L’Chayim Deli and playing on the playground equipment at Beulah Beach.

We got the kids away from the water and headed to our first hike. Treat Farm Trail in Empire.

Treat Farm Trail is outside of Empire west of Leelanau Highway (M-22) on Norconk Road where it curves and heads south. Parking is just along the side of the road. We loaded up on bug spray and sunscreen then headed out on the 2.3 mile out and back. The trail is pretty easy and most of it is in the shade. There is a big open prairie where the Treat Farm was. The farm house is still there (but locked up) as are a couple of out buildings. We took a pause and sat on the steps of the barn before continuing the last half mile to the end of the trail.

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Hill Top Soda Shoppe

August 30, 2021
  • 7117 South Street
  • Benzonia, MI 49616
  • (231) 882-9697
  • Website
  • Menu

The only way to end the night after a long day of hiking and swimming in Lake Michigan is with ice cream.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who has a friend that spends a lot of time in Northern Michigan. One of J’s friends suggested an ice cream shop that wasn’t too far from our cabin.

We left Petersen Road Beach a little after 8:00. There was a storm off in the distance so we weren’t convinced we were going to get a fantastic sunset.

It was about a half hour back to Benzonia where the Hill Top Soda Shoppe is. The small ice creamery is…on a hill top. It’s on South Street just east of Michigan Avenue (US-31) on the south side of Benzonia. The shop shares a small strip mall with a couple other businesses but at 8:30 on a Saturday night, only the ice cream shop was open.

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