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Schultz Fruitridge Farms

July 24, 2016
  • 60139 County Road 652
  • Mattawan, MI 49071
  • (269) 668-3724
  • Website

J and I have always been the kind of people that like eating out.  Not out of laziness, but we enjoy the experience and we enjoy trying new restaurants.

When we had kids, we wanted to keep trying to eat out and finding new restaurants as much as possible.  We still do a decent job of that, but the kids have made it harder at times.  We want the kids to know how to act at a restaurant.  How to order.  How to treat servers.

That said, a chance for J and I to eat out with only the baby seems like a chance we couldn’t pass up.

L was in Wisconsin for a week with J’s parents.  When she got home, I was leaving for Cleveland for a week.  The weekend before I left, J and I took full advantage of eating at places we enjoy and being able to enjoy the meal a little bit more.

On Friday, we had a couple of drinks and the most incredible pulled pork tacos at Bell’s on the patio.  On Saturday, we did the patio thing again, but this time at Texas Corners Brewing.

The time at Texas Corners gave us an idea.  We wanted to go shopping for some blueberries.  Texas Corners is owned by people that own a blueberry farm and it wasn’t far away.

Schultz Fruitridge Farm in Mattawan is right on the corner of County Road 652 and Robinson Avenue which turns in to Q Avenue in Kalamazoo County.

The retail space of the farm looks to be on the Schultz homestead.  There’s a house on part of the property and what looks like a garage with a parking area around it that sells all of the great things they grow.   Read more…

Harbor Express

July 14, 2016
  • 125 E. Empire Avenue
  • Benton Harbor, MI 49022
  • (269) 927-5008
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

I’ve been to Benton Harbor many times, but to be  honest, it’s usually just to get to St. Joseph.  The furthest I’ve been off the Business Loop is a few times I had to go to the Whirpool Ad Center on Paw Paw Avenue.  I know there’s not a lot in the town to explore, but I still like getting off the main road from time to time to see what else is out there.

I was in St. Joseph earlier this week around dinner time and while I know a bunch of great spots in St. Joe, I decided to look around the area and get away from downtown.  The place that popped up was listed as 24 Hours (spoiler alert: it’s not) and the Google Streetview pictures showed signs for chicken wings, fries, burgers and Italian beef.

Harbor Express is a small, carry-out only shop on the corner of East Empire and Lavette Avenue just east of Benton Harbor High School.  I don’t know much about Benton  Harbor neighborhoods, but everything about this place makes me think it isn’t the greatest.  The windows all had steel bars and the kitchen/cashier is behind bullet proof glass with a turntable to allow food to be passed through it.   Read more…

DiMaggio’s Pizza & Burgers

July 14, 2016
  • 6410 M63 North
  • Coloma, MI 49038
  • (269) 849-1521
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s weird how so many people from the small community I grew up in south of Chicago has so many ties to Southwest Michigan.  So many people I grew up vacation on the beaches and at the state parks.  It’s always interesting to see photos of places I recognize in my Facebook feed from people I haven’t seen in twenty years.

One of those weird connections also involves my brother’s in-laws.  They have family in the Mattawan area that they celebrate Christmas with every year and his wife’s parents like to camp at the Covert/South Haven KOA Holiday.

With his in-laws really in to camping, his daughters have gotten in to it as well.  The youngest one wanted to celebrate her sixth birthday at the campground, so they invited all of my family to join them for a party.

My parents and aunt drove up the morning of the party while J, B, and I (L is on vacation with J’s parents in Wisconsin, so he missed it) slept in a little before heading to Covert.  We spent the whole day just hanging out, playing with the older girls, and, of course, eating cake and ice cream.

I actually thought J and I would leave around dinner time, but B had fallen asleep and it was such a nice day to just hang out that we decided to stay.  My sister-in-law’s dad had been talking about a nearby pizza place that they found on a previous trip and really liked.  Everyone was on board for dinner, so my brother called in an order and he and I then went to pick it up.

DiMaggi’s Pizza & Burgers is a classic lakeshore tourist type restaurant.  It sits near the corner of M-63 and West Hagar Shore Road less than half a mile from I-196 in the small, unicorporated community of Lake Michigan Beach, Michigan.

When you get a look at the building that houses DiMaggio’s, you will wonder if you hit a time portal somewhere along the road.  The same family has owned the place since 1957 and I’m guessing it looks the same today as it did way back then.  I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures inside the place.  My brother ran in to get the pizzas while I found a spot to park.  The restaurant was packed and the parking lot is pretty tight.  I was double parked behind someone so I stayed with the car.  When I did get in to a space, I went in to help him but he was already paying.  I just quickly scanned the dining room and was a little bit in awe of just how much of a snapshot of the past the restaurant is.   The vinyl bucket seat bar stools, old beer mirrors, plastic booths, dark lighting, dear head on the wall…there’s so much about this place that screams retro. Read more…

Round Barn Public House

July 10, 2016
  • 9151 1st Street
  • Baroda, MI 49101
  • (269) 326-7059
  • Website
  • Menu

A whole week without one of the kids?!  That’s just weird.

L asked last summer if she could go on vacation with Nana and Grandpa.  They go up to Northern Wisconsin every year for a fishing trip.  L kept asking to go.  Nana and Grandpa said they’d love to take her, so she’s up in Wisconsin for a week while J and I are home with the baby.

My in-laws go about eight hours north of Chicago when they go on their Wisconsin vacation and they wanted to leave Friday afternoon.  We weren’t going to make them drive all the way to Kalamazoo to pick her up then turn around, head back to Chicago, load up the boat, then head to Wisconsin.  We said we’d meet them in Portage, IN.

I like meeting in Portage because I buy wood for my smoker from Bass Pro Shop.  We completed the handoff, switched over the car seat then went our separate ways.  It was just before noon Eastern time when we left to head towards Michigan City to do some shopping.

After a quick shopping trip, we wanted to find someplace for lunch.  B was asleep as soon as we got in the car, so we wanted to head up the road a little ways.  As always, I had a couple places in mind.

Round Barn Public House is part of the Round Barn empire in and around Baroda, MI in Berrien County.  They are probably most known for their wines, but they have a brewery (where the Public House is located) and a distillery.

The Public House is on 1st Street in the tiny community of Baroda.  It’s kind of on the southeast side of town about six miles (or 12 minutes) off the I-94 exit at Bridgman.  The building stands out in the small, farming community with it’s bright red walls and the large silvers storage tank that marks the entrance to the restaurant. Read more…

Schnitz Ada Grill

July 7, 2016

The small, unincorporated village of Ada in Eastern Kent County has always sort of been a drive through place for me.  I don’t really have much business in the area, but I take Fulton Street (M-21) quite a bit on my way out to Lowell or Ionia.  Fulton is so fast that you don’t really see much other than Amway on the way through town.  What you’re missing is a quaint, bustling “downtown” area that is rapidly expanding with the redesign of the village’s layout.

A co-worker and I met up at the McDonalds Express in Ada to meet a client.  We had a short meeting in the parking lot (I swear to God this is not a drug deal even though as I typed that last sentence, that’s all I could picture you thinking about) and then we were heading back to the office.  C.W. ran inside to McDonalds, but I knew there had to be something else in the area so I did a Google search on nearby restaurants.

I found a familiar name but an unfamiliar concept just a few blocks from where I was parked.  The name Schnitz instantly makes my mouthwater and that was the name that was staring back at me from my phone.

The Schnitz name is most commonly associated with the Schnitz Deli in the Fulton Heights Neighborhood in Grand Rapids.   The sandwiches at Schnitz are just like you’d get in a New York deli.  The unfortunate thing for me….they close at 3:00…which is when my shift starts.   Read more…

Monelli’s Italian Grill & Sports Bar – Portage

July 3, 2016
  • 7141 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 888-2228
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s been a while since we just went out for lunch on a weekend.  It seems like all of our weekends lately have been fast food, pizza, carry-out or traveling somewhere.  Admittedly, it’s a little harder with two kids now, but for the most part, they’re pretty good at restaurants.  B is getting to where he can start gumming some of our food, but for a while there, we had to hold him while trying to eat.  We’ve finally hit the high chair stage and that makes dining out a little easier on us.

I’ve been wanting to try the new sports bar in Portage since it opened a couple of months ago.  After a major meltdown at the Tanger Outlets last Saturday, J promised L that she could pick out a toy if she could keep it together all week and not throw a fit at bed time which had become a common occurrence.  L lived up to her end of the bargain, so J was ready to live up to hers.  I suggested we head to Portage for lunch and if she was good through that, we’d hit up Toys R Us for her reward.

Monelli’s Italian Grill & Sports Bar has been open since the end of May on Westnedge Avenue just to the south of Romence Road.  It’s actually really close to Texas Roadhouse and when we were using a gift card there last month, I longingly looked down at the full parking lot at the new restaurant.   This location in Portage is the second for Monelli’s.  They also have a Grand Rapids area restaurant in Wyoming on Byron Center Road near Metro Hospital which opened in February.

We pulled in to the parking lot off Westnedge just after 11:00 and had an “oh crap” moment wondering if they were open.  There were no cars out front, but once we turned in, we noticed a couple of cars along the side of the building.  There’s also a huge parking lot in the back.  The front of the building, where the patio is, is a pretty small lot with a few spots for carry-out which has a separate entrance right next to the large patio.  The main entrance to the restaurant is actually on the south side of the building which you’ll see if you drive to that back lot.

Read more…

Southern Fish Fry

July 3, 2016
  • 1117 Wealthy Street SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • (616) 233-9744
  • Website
  • Menu

Once again, the call of chicken wings was just too much.  I had just stumbled on a place in plain sight and the lure of southern cuisine is too much for me to pass.

Southern Fish Fry is on Wealthy Street on Grand Rapids Southeast side.  It’s just to the west of Fuller Avenue near Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop.   The space is small and apparently is one of many former locations of a Wing Heaven restaurant.  As Southern Fish Fry, they’ve been open almost seven years.

Parking for Southern Fish Fry is what you expect in this neighborhood.  There is plenty of on street parking and since the restaurant is a carry-out only shop, it’s pretty simple to find a place nearby to park to run in and pick up your food.

I really couldn’t decide between wings and rib tips on my way to find this place.  I’ve passed it so many times in the six years I’ve worked in Grand Rapids but the signage is pretty terrible with just a logo on the window.  Heck, I didn’t even see it on this trip when I was looking for it until I had already parked just knowing I was in the right block on Wealthy Street.   Read more…

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