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West Texas BBQ Company

January 19, 2018
  • 2190 Brooklyn Road
  • Jackson, MI 49203
  • (517) 784-0510
  • Website
  • Menu

I always talk about restaurants on “my list” that I just can never find time to make it to.  For many years now, there has been a BBQ place in Jackson with really odd hours that I’ve just never been able to make work….until now.

Five years ago, did their Michigan’s Best BBQ Tour.  I had been to a couple of the places that had made the Top Ten but not the #1 place.  It’s a place I had heard of prior to Mlive’s tour but the hours always made it difficult to get there.  That was the case for the next five years.

West Texas BBQ Company is on Brooklyn Road south of East South Street just south of the City of Jackson in Summit Township.  The building is an old sign shop that was converted for a catering shop then converted again to double as a restaurant.

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TNT – Lil’ Brother’s BBQ

January 18, 2018
  • 806 Riverview Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 532-8621
  • Website
  • Menu

Several years ago, I stopped at a little BBQ place on North Westnedge for dinner.  Since then, that place has been Pharaoh’s Valley and is now Chicago Munchies.  Places come and go in strip malls so I really didn’t even notice when the BBQ place moved out.

Last month, I saw an article in the Loy Norrix Knight Life with a name that sounded familiar.  It was the BBQ place that used to be on the Northside.   They opened up a shop in the South Westnedge Neighborhood.

TNT – Lil’ Brother’s BBQ had opened at the Burdick Hair and Beauty Supply on the corner of Cork and Sprinkle Streets.  The last time I had eaten from that little counter in the back of the store, it was known as Kalamazoo BBQ Grill.

When I pulled up to the shop, I noticed it seemed really empty.  There was a sign on the door from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission about destroying all the alcohol in the building and the windows were fogged up.  The place was clearly closed so I got online to see what happened.

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Cafè ’36

January 11, 2018
  • 2965 Oakland Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 501-3399
  • Website
  • Menu

It seems like we don’t go out to eat for a while then all of a sudden, there’s a dozen new restaurants that we need to get to.  That’s kind of the situation we’ve been in for a while.  Going out to a nice sit down restaurant hasn’t been feasible lately.  We’ve been busy on weekends and the kids would rather do take out or pizza.

Since it had been a while, I asked J if she wanted to go out to lunch last weekend.  J and I have always enjoyed new dining experiences and it’s one thing we really wanted to try hard not to give up on once we had kids.  When they were little, it was easy, but now that they’re both at an age where they want to be entertained, sometimes giving in and just going to Chili’s because they have iPads on the table is what we have to do.

We had a few options because, as I mentioned, there are a couple places that have opened recently that we haven’t been to yet.  The first one we picked isn’t open for lunch on Saturday.  Option number two was the new restaurant inside the health food store on Oakland.

Cafè ’36 opened late last year as part of Sawall Health Foods four thousand square foot expansion that added a second floor mezzaine level as well as expanded the deli as part of the health food grocers renovation last year.  The grocery store is in the Oakwood Plaza Shopping Center on the corner of Oakland and Whites in the Oakland/Winchell Neighborhood of Kalamazoo.  The renovations took the store from this…..

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Que Buenos Fresh Mexican Grill

January 10, 2018
  • 2929 Howard Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49006
  • (269) 775-1719
  • Website
  • Menu

Mexican food and pizza.  Two classic staples of late night good on college campuses across America.

I’ve worked at a lot of different Universities and whenever I get to town, I look for a late night pizza place or a late night burrito joint that will have tacos.

Kalamazoo really lacked those for a while.  The pizza place came in with Hot Slice alongside a Greek jointQdoba was open late on West Main on weekends, but something in Campus Pointe would really be a benefit to the campus community.

It seems like over a year ago when signs went up along West Michigan advertising a new Mexican place moving in to Campus Pointe Mall.  Recently, that sign was finally changed from “Coming Soon” to “Now Open.”

Que Buenos Fresh Mexican Grill is in the Campus Pointe Mall on the corner of Howard and West Michigan near Western Michigan University’s campus.  The restaurant takes over a space between The Den Party Store and what is now Y Bar & Bistro.  The last thing I can remember this space being is a Metro PCS store, but there could have been something else in between.

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Wetzel’s Pretzels (Portage)

January 5, 2018
  • 6650 S. Westnedge Avenue #108
  • Portage, MI 49024
  • (269) 329-0610
  • Website
  • Menu

There are certain food chains that require a must stop at for me based on aura alone.  They’re usually west coast places that we can’t get here in Michigan, so when one of them pops up, I go a little crazier than I’d like to admit.

Wetzel’s Pretzels is one of those places.  I had never had Wetzel’s before.  In fact, the only reason I knew the name is from a TV show.  Yes, Dear did an episode where the families got stuck in an airport and while Greg was miserable and angry about the setback, Jimmy was ecstatic to use his Wetzel’s Pretzels coupons.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to Crossroads Mall so I was a little surprised to see a Wetzel’s Pretzels had opened shop on the lower level in the Macy’s wing.  It’s actually just below Auntie Anne’s which is on the second level.

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Kalamazoo State Theatre

December 21, 2017
  • 404 S. Burdick Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 345-6500
  • Website

I don’t have to tell any parents this, but when you have kids, me time goes away.  That’s not a bad thing.  We just have to cut back on some things we used to enjoy doing.

One of those things is concerts.  It can be expensive to hire a babysitter for the night on top of all the usual concert expenses so it really has to be a show we want to see to make it worth it.

We’ve missed out on one show we both have wanted to go to for quite some time.  Every year, for the last nine years, Frankie Ballard does his Country Christmas show at the State Theatre.   We’ve always had something going on and last year, even though we had tickets, we couldn’t get a babysitter for the night due to the weather.

We made plans to go to the show again this year and even worked it out so my parents would be in town for Christmas.  We had our babysitter and we had our tickets.  We were finally going to get to this annual show.

The State Theatre is in downtown Kalamazoo on Burdick Street just south of where the Kalamazoo Mall ends at West Lovell Street.  The theatre has been a fixture in the city since the vaudeville days.  It was built in 1927 and has seen movies, concerts, stage shows, operas and much more.  The theatre was conceived by the W.S. Butterfield Theater Chain and designed by John Eberson who designed around 100 theaters and created the atmospheric theatre style.  The Butterfield Theater Chain is responsible for dozens of theaters in Michigan with Kalamazoo’s being one of the early theater’s W.S. Butterfield used on his Michigan vaudeville circuit.   Read more…

AMC Portage Street 10

December 18, 2017
  • 180 Portage Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 743-3764
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s time for my annual trek to the movie theater.  When I was in college I would sometimes go to two or three movies a day.  I loved the theater.  I loved movies.  I still enjoy the experience and I still enjoy movies but it’s not something I have much time for anymore, but I still make sure to hit the new Star Wars movie on opening weekend….something I’ve done since the Phantom Menace came out almost twenty years ago.

The last two movies, The Force Awakens and Rogue One, I’ve gone to the Alamo Drafthouse.  Well…that’s not an option anymore.  The landlords kicked Alamo out of their downtown space because another much larger theater chain wanted the space and offered more money to rent it.  If you live in Kalamazoo, you know how unpopular of a decision that was.  People (including me) loved the Alamo Drafthouse.  It just wasn’t a typical movie theater.

The chain that moved into the space at the corner of Portage and South Street in downtown Kalamazoo is AMC.  The theater is now known as Portage Street 10 after initially launching in the market as Kalamazoo 10.  Goodrich Quality Theaters sued AMC over the name because they’ve been the Kalamazoo 10 in town for many years and it was causing marketplace confusion.

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