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Subway (Central Business District)

March 17, 2023
  • 125 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 443-2189
  • Website

I’ve been writing this blog a long time.  If you include Mid-Michigan Dining (which I do), it’s been almost 15 years since I started blogging about our dining adventures after we moved to Michigan from Peoria, IL.

It was pretty common for me to write blog posts about the typical fast food place.  I still thought I was going to be a content creator and posting a blog every day or two with links back to my work was something I needed to do to drive up traffic.  I mentioned places like McDonalds and Arbys a lot in my blogs so I needed links back to them.  

I stopped doing that because you can only write so much about the same Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese or large Roast Beef sandwich so many times.  Also, I realized no one actually cared about my ramblings and this blog was more for my own entertainment.

Don’t worry.  I’m not going to start over with a city wide tour of McDonalds but occasionally, I may throw a fast food blog in the mix if I actually try something new or there is something unique about the particular store I went to.  

I can honestly say, I’m not really a Subway person.  I still have pretty vivid memories of my aunt being really excited to take us to this new sandwich place near where she worked.  You could customize the sandwich any way you wanted and they were the best sandwiches.  

That was a long time ago.  Probably close to 30 years ago.  But I remember being super excited about Subway because there was nothing else like it then.  

I will still occasionally grab a Subway sandwich for lunch.  I don’t love them but there are a couple of sandwiches I will admit to really liking.  

I was sitting in my office in downtown Kalamazoo last week and I was hungry.  My go to used to be Theo & Stacy’s on days like that.  They had online ordering and their food was still fairly cheap so when I was hungry and not wanting to go far, it was always Theo & Stacy’s.  

Theo & Stacy’s is gone now so I kind of wander aimlessly.  A lot of times I’ll walk over to City Centre Market to grab a Pepsi and end up with a bag of kettle chips too.  I like kettle chips but eating a whole bag for lunch isn’t great for me.  

I was considering just putting in an order at Jimmy John’s.  That would be easy enough.  I almost did but then decided I hadn’t had Subway in a while so why not.  

I drive by it all the time but never remember there is a Subway in downtown Kalamazoo.  It’s on Michigan Avenue just to the west of Portage Street.  The restaurant shares the ground floor of a multi story building with what used to be Market on Michigan Avenue.  

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Country Market Pork Store & More

March 14, 2023
  • 228 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • (269) 251-2639
  • Website
  • Menu

I never pass up a place claiming to do “Chicago-Style” food.  I’m usually disappointed but it’s something I’m always going to try.  

I had been seeing Facebook posts from a place in downtown Paw Paw doing Italian beefs and Chicago pizza.  I was confused because it looked like the place was a butcher shop but the lure of an Italian beef was too much.  

I was in Paw Paw last week for work and had a little bit of time.  I had forgotten about this shop I wanted to check out until I drove by.  The pig on the side of the building and the neon Vienna Beef sign in the window reminded me I needed to get lunch.  

Country Market Pork Store & More is on Michigan Avenue in downtown Paw Paw near Niles Street.  The small, one story yellow storefront is part of a larger wooden building that looks out of place amongst the century old brick buildings surrounding it.  This space was last used by Captured Memories, a photography services store that closed a couple of years ago.  

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Curly’s Bar & Restaurant

March 6, 2023
  • 108 E. State Street
  • Colon, MI 49040
  • (269) 432-9087
  • Website
  • Menu

That ice storm was something, eh.  

We spent most of the weekend at J’s parents house in St. Joseph County.  We lost power Wednesday night, stayed at a hotel Thursday night, then headed south for the weekend.  

We had to make a couple of trips back to Kalamazoo on Saturday.  L had ice skating really early in the morning at Lawson Ice Arena.  Once she was done, I asked J to check on the house before heading back south.  It was a really good thing I told her to check the basement.  

We didn’t have pipes burst, but I made a really stupid mistake.  I ran water so the pipes wouldn’t freeze…but one of the ones I turned on drained in to the basement sump pump…which needs electricity to pump out…which we didn’t have.  By the time J got home, there was about two inches of water in the utility room.  

I didn’t want to leave that water on the floor so I headed back to Kalamazoo to clean it up.  It’s not easy to pick up that much water without a shop vac but I figured it out with mops and dust pans.  I got it all up then headed back to the warmness of my in-laws place.  

Getting up early to skate and cleaning up water made us all tired.  We had talked about going to South Bend to ice skate but everyone was pretty exhausted.  

We needed dinner though.  J’s parents are in Florida so there is no food in the house and we didn’t want to mess up the kitchen and dirty dishes.  

I suggested a place we haven’t been to yet in nearby Colon.  J was on board so we got the kids together and went to an early dinner.  

Curly’s Bar & Restaurant is a staple in downtown Colon.  The restaurant sits right on the corner of State Street (M-86) and  Blackstone.  The restaurant has been around for several decades but was rebuilt in 2013 after a fire destroyed Curly’s and Papa Mancino’s pizza.  The new restaurant actually expanded with the purchase of another building next to the two destroyed by the fire.  

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Main Street Smokehouse

March 1, 2023
  • 225 W. Main Street
  • Mendon, MI 49072
  • (269) 496-5002
  • Website
  • Menu

We have lived in our house on the westside of Kalamazoo for almost 13 years and have never had an extended power outage.

We can’t say that anymore.

We were one of the unlucky ones who lost power last Wednesday evening as the ice storm was rolling through. We were able to tough it out Wednesday night. Thursday night we found a hotel room. Friday night, we were looking for a hotel for the weekend but really were not wanting to pay that much money.

Fortunately, my in-laws said we could use their house for the weekend. They live on a lake near Centreville so they didn’t get the ice that we got. They’re in Florida for the winter so we just had to open the house back up for a few days with hopes our power would return before Monday.

J was going to wait for me to get off work on Friday so we wouldn’t have to take two cars. I told her that was not a great idea. They’d have to sit in our cold, dark house until 6:30. I told her to just go where it was warm. I’d check on the house again after work before driving down there.

There’s obviously no food at my in-laws since they’re not home and we didn’t want to bring a lot in with us or make a mess of the kitchen. I suggested we meet in Mendon for dinner once I got off work. There’s a place there we’ve both been wanting to try.

Main Street Smokehouse is on Main Street in Mendon just to the east of Burr Oak Street. The building was home to Viva until they moved to Portage last year. It’s an odd building sandwiched between Main Street and the St. Joseph River. There is no parking right in front of the building because the road is literally a few steps from the front door. There is parking across the street at the Mendon Farmers’ Market so you don’t have to walk too far.

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The Garden Grille & Bar (Kalamazoo)

February 28, 2023
  • 303 N. Rose Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 382-4000
  • Website
  • Menu

Like I said in my last post, last week was wild.

The ice storm that came in Wednesday really screwed up my week….I know…it screwed up a lot of people’s weeks….so I’m not complaining too much.

I worked my normal shift on Wednesday then work asked me if I could work what is essentially an overnight shift on Thursday. They wanted someone close to the office downtown so they told me to get a room at the Radisson and charge it to the company. Worst case scenario, I could walk to the office.

The Radisson was full by the time I went to book but the Hilton Home 2 Suites had some rooms. It was only a block away from the Radisson and was cheaper so I booked there.

I finished my work day around 6:30 then headed for the hotel. I ended up just taking my car with me and paying for it to be in the ramp because I didn’t want to find it iced over at 2:30 in the morning. I checked in and realized I hadn’t eaten all day. There wasn’t much that stayed open downtown so I was pretty limited in my options.

The Home 2 Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn are connected to each other and connected to the parking garage across Rose Street via skywalk. I walked through the Hilton Garden Inn to get to my car and realized they have a bar right inside the door off Rose Street. I saw people eating so assumed they had food. I saw an opening at the bar and grabbed the seat before someone else could.

The Garden Grille & Bar is Hilton’s pub they put inside some Hilton Garden Inn’s. The Kalamazoo Hilton Garden Inn is fairly new. It’s on the corner of Rose and Kalamazoo in downtown. The hotel went in to the Rose Street Market which was originally the Kalamazoo Masonic Temple. The Hilton Garden Inn opened in the building in Spring of 2021.

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Detroit Wing Company (East Lansing)

February 27, 2023
  • 437 E. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 295-5080
  • Website
  • Menu

Monday started a wild week of work for me last week. A lot of overtime. Working in the rain. Switching shifts. Coming home to no power. I’m happy last week is over.

Monday night I was sent to East Lansing right away when my shift started. I actually left a little bit early and was going to pick up a sandwich on the way.

I stopped at Mr. Corned Beef in Frandor but there was a sign on the door the business was under new ownership and closed temporarily. I was bummed but I decided to just go start my shift and I’d worry about food at dinner time.

I was near downtown East Lansing when dinner time rolled around so I had a lot of options. The co-workers I was with all went to Chipotle. I can get Chipotle anytime in Kalamazoo so I wanted something different. I pulled up Google maps to see what was around me.

I settled on Detroit Wing Company. Eating wings out my car was going to be a challenge but it was a challenge I was up to.

The East Lansing location of Detroit Wing Company is on Grand River Avenue near Division Street across from the Michigan State University campus. The restaurant is one of three first floor storefronts in the building where The State News is produced. This spot was most recently a Blaze Pizza before DWC moved in.

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Pete’s Grill & Tavern

February 24, 2023
  • 2588 84th Street SW
  • Byron Center, MI 49315
  • (616) 878-9582
  • Website
  • Menu

Our kids have never really been brand name kids.  J and I really aren’t either,  I wear what fits and what’s comfortable.  I was a little more into brands when I was younger but it’s not a thing for me anymore.  

I mentioned a few posts ago L has gotten in to Lululemon because some of her friends are in to Lululemon.  She’s not being pressured, she just likes it.  

B is having a little bit of the opposite problem.  He doesn’t really care about brands either.  Unfortunately, some of the boys in his class must have the type of dad’s that are really, really in to “shoe culture.”  B’s had to deal with some crap from kids because he doesn’t wear Nike’s.  

He finally asked for a pair of Nike’s so the kids will leave him alone.  We’ve told him to just walk away but some other adults have said the kids can be persistent no matter how many times they get a talking to.  

We don’t have a problem buying him Nike’s or any other shoe to brand if that’s what he wants.  It’s just really disheartening that he wants a new pair of shoes just so some other kids will leave him alone.  

We decided to go check out the Nike Factory Store at the Tanger Outlets in Byron Center.  They didn’t really have much in his size so we decided to keep walking around.  We ended up at the Puma Outlet and he found a pair he really liked.  He said he wouldn’t care if the kids kept making fun of him because Puma is a brand name and he really likes them.  We got him what he wanted and he hasn’t complained about kids making fun of his shoes so it must have worked.  

We were thinking we could probably just get lunch at Five Lakes Brew Pub there at the Outlet mall, but pretty sure everyone else had the same idea.  We put our name in for a table but we were hungry and after stopping in a few more stores, we just decided to bail and go somewhere else.  

J saw a billboard for Pete’s Grill & Tavern on US-131 on our way to the mall.  She asked where it was and I said further down 84th Street in Byron Center.  When Five Lakes seemed to be out for lunch, I suggested that place she saw the billboard for.  

Pete’s Grill & Tavern is on 84th Street and Merton Avenue SW in unincorporated Byron Center.  The restaurant has been a staple in this community for well over 50 years.  It’s part of the 4GR8Food brand which owns a lot of great restaurants in the Greater Grand Rapids area including Bagel Beanery, Beltline Bar, Grand Coney Diner, Sundance, and many more.  

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Boondock’s Pizza

February 24, 2023
  • 111 N. Main Street
  • Bellevue, MI 49021
  • (269) 763-9339
  • Website
  • Menu

Every so often, there will be a pizza place in the middle of nowhere that people rave about. I travel around Southwest Michigan quite a bit so I’m always scheming ways to go to these place. If the locals and/or semi-locals are raving about, it’s worth finding a way.

I was coming home from Lansing one day last week and I realized I finally found my opportunity to stop at a place in Bellevue. I think I’ve only been in Bellevue twice in the twelve years I’ve lived in Kalamazoo so it’s not someplace that I drive through or near very often.

The pizza place in Bellevue is Boondock’s Pizza. I keep reading rave reviews from a the Battle Creek based Facebook group The Carryout Club. The pictures look like the kind of pizza I really like so I was excited to put in an order.

Boondock’s Pizza is on Main Street in downtown Bellevue between Capital Avenue and Jackson Street…which is pretty much all downtown is. The pizzeria is a small one story brick building connected to the building next to it. The building has been some sort of pizza place for several years.

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Pita Way (Portage)

February 22, 2023
  • 6405 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 233-5150
  • Website
  • Menu

J and I don’t overlap work schedules very often.

One Monday a month, she has to work nights. I work nights on Monday too. Most of the year, it’s not really an issue. J’s parents will watch the kids for a few hours until J gets home.

J’s parents go to Florida for the winter.

There’s three months that we don’t have someone to watch the kids. A lot of times, I can volunteer to work a weekend and ask for the Monday off in return. This month, there was no OT opportunity though so I just used a vacation day.

Monday night’s L skates at Wings Event Center. I don’t get to watch her work with her coach all that often so I did enjoy being able to sit there for the whole hour and see what she’s working on for the upcoming competition season.

She skates a little later on Monday nights so we weren’t even leaving Wings Event Center until about 7:45. I was hungry and I assumed the kids were too so I put in an order to pick up on the way home.

The kids always hate it but I wanted to try something new. A new pita place opened in Portage not too long ago and I thought it’d be worth a try.

Pita Way is a small, Michigan based chain with about 20 locations…most of which are on the East side of the state. The Portage location is in a new strip mall on Westnedge Avenue near Gladys Street in front of the Dick’s Sporting Goods and right next to the new City Barbecue.

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Potbelly Sandwich Works (Cranbrook Village)

February 19, 2023
  • 980 W. Eisenhower Parkway
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48103
  • (734) 913-2499
  • Website
  • Menu

Neither of our kids have every really been “brand” people.  We’ve always bought their clothes and there’s never really been any asking for certain brands.  That’s starting to change.  

L is almost in middle school now and she hangs out with a lot of older girls at figure skating.  Leggings are popular amongst figure skaters and when it comes to leggings, you probably know which brand I’m talking about.  

We were in Detroit last weekend to see Beetlejuice: The Musical at the Detroit Opera House.  We, of course, had to find something for lunch before the show so we walked down to The Brass Rail Pizza Bar.  On our way to the restaurant from the parking garage, we passed a Lululemon store on Woodward Avenue.  We had some time after lunch before the show so we told L we’d go back and look.  

We ended up letting her buy a coat there with some of her Christmas money.  Of course, she wanted pretty much everything in the store.  J came up with a better idea than paying full price.

L is really tall for her age.  Most people peg her as a high schooler and not an elementary school student.  That works to our advantage with clothes.  She’s actually the same size as a lot of college women.  Ann Arbor was on our way home from Detroit so J came up with the idea to stop at Plato’s Closest in Ann Arbor to see what they had.  

Her idea worked.  L got a couple pairs of leggings and a couple shirts for less than what a pair of leggings cost new from the store.  

So, here we were, in Ann Arbor at about 7:00.  It was going to bed time by the time we got back to Kalamazoo so I suggested we should just eat in Ann Arbor before heading home.  

The Plato’s Closest in Ann Arbor is near the Briarwood Mall just off I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road.  I know there would be some chains in the area that we could quickly grab something to eat and head home.  

One of those chains was Potbelly Sandwich Works.  The restaurant is actually in the Cranbrook Village shopping center where the Plato’s Closet is on the corner of Eisenhower Parkway and Ann Arbor-Saline Road  just to the northeast of the I-94 interchange.  We don’t have Potbelly locations in Kalamazoo so I figured we were still doing something we couldn’t get back home even though it’s a chain restaurant. 

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