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Brewsters Fine Foods & Spirits

November 5, 2009

  • 5135 Portage Road
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49002
  • (269) 344-0600
  • Website
  • Menu

Thursday’s aren’t traditionally a dining out night for us, but I have some work this weekend that would cut into our normal date nights.  After a quick trip to Meijer, I suggested going out for dinner.  I didn’t really have a plan when I brought it up, but I figured I could find something.

We live fairly close to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport and the other day, I decided to drive down Portage Road just to see what was around.  I assumed there had to be a couple restaurants and I found more than one.

The first restaurant we ran into after passing I-94 was Brewsters Fine Foods & Spirits.  It’s on the corner of Portage  and Fairfield Roads.  When I did a Google search for the place, an address down the street in Portage comes up, but the address on the receipt is a Kalamazoo address and matches the cross street for the actual location.

We actually went for an early dinner…what some would call the “Blue Haired Special.”  It was 4:30.  Still, the parking lot was packed.  I like to see that.  People just getting off work stopping in for a few beers.  It’s a good sign.

We were met at the door by a waiter who showed us to a seat in the dining room.  We were offered either the dining room or the bar, but J noticed a lot of smoke in the bar area and chose the dining room. We were the only ones who had chosen that option, so we had our choice of seats.

The waiter showed us to a booth just past the door.  He set down a couple menus and the specialty menu then left us for a few minutes to get our drinks.  I got a Pepsi while J got an Iced Tea. 

Working in the food service industry is something that many in my family have done for years.  I appreciate how hard it is to be a good waiter/waitress.  I don’t think I have high expectations when it comes to eating out.  I expect a few things, but I also try to take into consideration factors that aren’t seen on the floor when it comes to service.

Personality, however, can be controlled.  Now, I don’t mind a friendly waiter.  Who would?  But there’s a fine line between friendly and creepy.  Our waiter was really leaning on that line.  Making small talk is one thing but asking about how our Halloween was while we’re looking over the menu is a little much.  When we got back in the car, J let out a little shiver.  He didn’t really do anything wrong, but he could have limited the chit chat.

Anyway, the menu.  It’s too bad they don’t have a website or a menu online anywhere.  I would have grabbed a to-go menu if I had seen one and scanned it because they did have a lot of good look choices.  There was a large appetizer selection that had a lot of delicious looking fare including pulled pork nachos.  I was considering ordering that as an entree.

I looked at the burger options for a long time, but nothing really jumped out at me.  Instead, I went with a French Dip.  It’s usually my go-to if I don’t get a burger.  For those of you wondering, a French Dip and an Italian beef are not the same sandwich.  They’re similar, but not the same.  I like both.  The French dip is thinly sliced roast beef on a soft sub roll that is served with a cup of Au Jus on the side for dipping.  For an extra $.80, I added a slice of mozzarella cheese.  It was really quite tasty.  The sandwich was on the smaller side, but it was still very good.  I’m a big fan of dipping the whole sandwich in the Au Jus.  I love the bun soggy and falling apart.  The bun was soft to begin with and soaking it in the gravy made it even better.   The sandwich came with an order of fries that still had the skin on and were cooked crispy.  I was hoping the sandwich to be a little bigger, but overall, it was a pretty good meal.

J ordered the Applewood Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders.  On our honeymoon in Tennessee, J ordered pulled pork sliders from Tony Gore’s and found out she really prefers pulled pork this way.  She’s doesn’t like when the pork is too “meaty” and this solves that problem.  There’s more bun when the pork is served this way and that’s something she likes.  The meat came dry with BBQ sauce on the side.  It was a thin, Carolina style sauce that had just a bit of a kick to it.  Too many times, restaurants call a pureed pork out of a can pulled pork.  This was actual pulled pork that had actually been hand pulled.  She ate three of the sandwiches and gave the fourth to me.  She seemed to really like it and appreciated the way it was served.  Her sandwiches also came with fries which were cooked the way she really likes them.

Our bill was just under $20 and I don’t think we were even there a half hour.  Our food came out not much more than ten minutes after ordering.  Neither of us ordered anything that could be cooked to order, so it was just a little reheating and cooking some fries.  At the end of the meal, the waiter brought out a tray of desserts, but we were both stuffed.

Brewsters is a nice little neighborhood pub.  On one side, you had a rockin bar.  On the other, you had a nice little dining room that was separated enough from the bar that you could have a nice dinner.  Our only complaint was the over-niceness of the waiter.  His intentions were good, but it didn’t work for us.  I’m sure we’ll be back.  They have karaoke on weekends…..

French Dip w/Fries

Applewood Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders w/Fries

Brewster's on Urbanspoon

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Garry permalink
    November 6, 2009 8:39 am

    The picture of the outside of the place, looks like it used to be a Bill Knapp’s!

    See links below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Knapp's

    http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20040830/LIFESTYLE08/408300303/Bill-Knapp%5C-s-is-gone–but-it-isn%5C-t-forgotten

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      November 9, 2009 1:33 am

      It actually was a Bill Knapp at one time.

      http://www.greaterguide.com/kalamazoo/articles/brewsters.html

  2. Boomer permalink
    December 18, 2010 8:13 pm

    I was at Brewsters Portage Road location tonight with my son to dine. We both ordered the Walleye Dinner at about 16 Bucks a copy and I have to tell you I’ve eaten alot of Walleye in my life and if that was Walleye I ate then I’m the King of Great Britain. I could have gotten better tasting fish at McDonalds, that wasn’t Walleye, it tasted more like White Fish. The service there Stunk as well. We had some skinny young broad with a ring in her nose waiting on us who could have cared less, she didn’t even look like the rest of the waitresses in her attire, she looked like she just finished mopping floors at the bowling alley down the street. First she starts me off with a half cup of luke warm coffee, she takes the order, my coffee was gone in 5-10 minutes or so, we saw her again in twenty minutes or so with our dinner order. The dinner looked appetizing but it sure wasn’t. So as we’re leaving I see our waitress standing in the middle of the other room laughing, sucking up and brown nosing with the manager, this answered the question of where she was while I sat there with no coffee. I remember the day when this was a pretty decent place to eat, but it sure ain’t anymore, this place SUCKS

  3. February 18, 2013 11:53 am

    Brewster’s (Wilcox Restaurant Services) currently owes $12,080.17 in delinquent personal property taxes to the city of Kalamazoo. If they don’t pay up soon or make arrangements to pay, the city of Kalamazoo is going to recommend to the state of Michigan that Brewster’s liquor license not be renewed: http://www.ci.kalamazoo.mi.us/media/meeting_packets/20130218packet.pdf (see page 19, where Bennucci’s Chicago Oven & Grill is also listed, owing $4,170.12).

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