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Big T Restaurant

November 14, 2009

  • 155 N. Main Street
  • Lawton, MI 49065
  • (269) 624-1200
  • Website
  • Menu

How funny is it that we get a Southwest Michigan restaurant recommendation from a friend back in Chicago?  For quite some time now, he mentions this place every time we hang out with him and his wife.  I think he has family or something in the area or they have a cabin nearby.  Not sure on specifics, but I know he says it’s one of his favorite places. 

J and I had to make the trip home for a family emergency.  J got off work around dinner time and we just decided to eat on the way.  I had originally wanted to go to a place in Benton Harbor, but I happened to look at the website and see they had a special event tonight so that was out.  I started looking for someplace else along I-94, but nothing jumped out.  I had a few ideas, but J mentioned Big T Restaurant.  She couldn’t remember what town it was in, but knew it was somewhere between Kalamazoo and Chicago.

Big T Restaurant is in downtown Lawton on North Main Street.  It is a huge building that takes up what looks to have been three store fronts at one time.  The drive from I-94 is less than ten minutes and in no time, we were looking for a parking spot.  Not as easy as it sounds.  To my surprise, Big T is THE restaurant in this part of the state.  It seemed like the whole county was in downtown Lawton tonight. 

There were no available street spots in front of the building, but there are a couple really large lots on the backside of the building.  We found a spot about a block away and headed back .  There was an entrance off the back alley, but we walked around front.  I assumed once inside we would have to find a hostess station which would probably require a walk through the entire restaurant to the front. 

As I assumed, the hostess station was right near the front door.  We must have walked in right as the dinner rush was starting.  There were quite a few people gathered inside the entryway waiting for a table.  That’s surprising because, again, the place is huge.  There are five different dining spaces and all of them were full.  J put our name on the waitlist and we were told it was going to be about a fifteen minute wait. 

We took a spot along the wall and waited.  As I leaned up against a pole, I noticed there were fake pine needles wrapped around.  That led me to look up where I saw nothing but Christmas ornaments.  That was pretty much the decor.  Christmas on the ceiling and beer signs on the walls. 

The dining room right in front of us, and behind the hostess station, appeared to be the non-smoking area.  We saw plenty of people leaving, but getting seated was taking a long time.  The hostess was also busing tables and helping out the waitresses.  At one point, I could visibly see four tables empty yet no one was being seated.  That’s not counting all the tables I couldn’t see in the other dining rooms.

After about twenty minutes, the hostess finally called J’s name and we were taken to one of the far dining rooms which is a tri-level.  I believe this may  have been the smoking area, but even J, who’s usually pretty sensitive to smoke, didn’t notice anything.  When you enter this area from the bar, there is a dining room to your left then a staircase to your right.  It goes both up and down to more dining spaces.  The upper level didn’t appear that was being used.  It looked like it may have been being set up for a party. 

We were seated in the main level of this dining room in a booth.  The waitress who would be taking care of us was dealing with a large, obnoxious party at the table next to us.  She said she’d be right over.  We both found what we wanted right away, so when she did get to us, we could put our entire order in. 

We started out with an appetizer which is unusual for us, but J found something that sounded to good to pass up, deep fried jalapeno cheese ravioli.  I love deep fried ravioli anyway, but add jalapeno cheese to it and you’ve got a winner.  The ravioli was served with both pizza sauce and ranch dressing.  I took the sauce, J took the dressing.  There were probably a dozen or so ravioli in the little basket and they were as good as we both hoped.  I didn’t get much of the jalapeno, but J said she noticed a little after taste of it.  Whether I got the jalapeno or not wasn’t super important.  The deep fried ravioli was delicious on its own.

As we were each grabbing one last ravioli, our meals came out.   I kept the spicy thing going with the Southwest Burger.  The 1/3 lb burger came with jalapeno bacon and pepperjack cheese on a Ciabatta roll.  The burger wasn’t quite big enough for the bread, but I didn’t really care.  I’m a huge fan of Ciabatta bread, so I wasn’t complaining about the wasted space.  The choice of bread is actually was led me to order this particular sandwich.  The burger was good.  It was cooked so it was just a little pink inside which is how I like it.  Again, I didn’t really get the jalapeno in the bacon.  I would have preferred jalapenos separate from the bacon, but either way, this was still a really good sandwich.   I got fries to complete the meal.  They were served in a separate basket and were a nice golden brown and crispy.  My meal alone was enough to fill me up, but I got some of J’s chicken to really put me over the edge. 

J got the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich which started with a deep fried chicken filet that is covered in Buffalo sauce.  It’s topped with jalapeno bacon and pepperjack cheese and served on a pretzel roll with a chipotle ranch sauce on the side.  Just like with my sandwich, the bread was the deciding factor for J.  She would eat just about anything that is served on a pretzel roll.  She said the chicken was good,but a little too hot for her.  Near the end of the meal, she peeled the bread off and just ate that leaving a little bit of chicken which was offered to me.  Of course I took it.  The Buffalo sauce tasted like Frank’s Red Hot, but I could be mistaken on that.  J chose curly fries as her side and she polished them off. 

Our bill was right around $27.  That’s definitely more than we usually spend on a meal that consists of sandwiches, but it did include an appetizer that we really liked so there was no complaining.  Big T is that restaurant you see about every 100 miles across this country.  It’s a gathering spot for locals, a destination for city folk, and a part of the fabric on the community that when people say Lawton, the first thing that comes to mind is the local restaurant.  We enjoyed our meal despite the wait and are looking forward to brining my family back to a restaurant that will remind them of that place back home.

Deep Fried Jalapeno Cheese Ravioli

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on Pretzel Roll

Southwest Burger on Ciabatta

Big T on Urbanspoon

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