Crow’s Nest Restaurant
Last weekend, J and I decided we weren’t going to eat out together for the whole week. We made a grocery list, went to Meijer and bought food to make dinner. Wednesday didn’t really count because I had to work in East Lansing, so we both did our own thing that day, but there was no expensive dinner out. We decided last weekend that our treat for not eating out was to go out for lunch on Friday. Early in the week, we decided on a restaurant and we’ve been looking forward to it all week.
When we lived in Lansing, we were turned on to a local breakfast joint that is worthy of Diner’s, Drive Ins, and Dives. Golden Harvest is perfect. It’s a small diner that serves amazing food. We had heard the Crow’s Nest is Kalamazoo’s breakfast place and we’ve been looking forward to trying it for a long time.
The Crow’s Nest is on South Westnedge at Vine Street. It gets its name from the fact it is an upstairs loft above Fourth Coast Coffee. We decided on a weekday lunch because neither of us really get up in time for breakfast and we didn’t want to have to wait on a Sunday for a table.
Parking was the first obstacle. The restaurant is on a very busy section of Westnedge Avenue. There are some angled spots between the building and the coffee shop next door, but only half of those are for the Crow’s Nest. I drove around back and took a right. I didn’t see it when I parked, but there are signs saying that lot is private and subject to tow. Still, I saw signs for Crow’s Nest parking and that’s why I went that way. It wasn’t until the way out I saw the private lot signs, but to my relief, my truck was still there. Not sure if I was supposed to park there or not, but I won’t do it in the future just to be safe.
We were warned that the restaurant could be pretty smokey. J works nearby, but chose to come home and change clothes before going to lunch. Good idea. We first noticed smoke as we walked by the windows for Fourth Coast Coffee. We weren’t even inside and we could already smell smoke.
When you go through the front door, your presented with a set of stairs right in front of you. Those are the steps that lead to the Crow’s Nest part of the building. To your right is a door that leads into the coffee shop.
We went upstairs and found a “Please Seat Yourself” sign. The space is really neat. There are maybe a couple dozen tables on a two tier dining room. The larger space has most of the tables, but they are all for parties larger than two and they were full. J noticed two women getting up from a table in the area near the front windows so we headed that way to find another two top near the window empty.
Crow’s Nest bills themselves as an upscale diner. The decor definitely matches that claim. My first impression is that the space would make a fantastic downtown loft. They’ve kept that ambience, but turned it into a functional, cozy restaurant space.
We sat at the table for quite a while without being acknowledged. J finally made eye contact with a waiter. He came over to take our order, but realized we didn’t even have menus yet. He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a couple glasses of water and some menus for us. We ordered drinks right away. I got a Coke. J ordered an OJ thinking she was going to order breakfast. The OJ came out in bottle form with a glass to pour it in so there wasn’t going to be any refills.
We were again left at the table for quite a while after we got the menus. Another table sat down next to us and they ordered before we did (different waitress). At this point I was ready to trash the service, but the rest of the meal went pretty smoothly.
Like I just mentioned, J was planning on ordering breakfast until she saw the Super Grilled Cheese on the menu. She ordered that with hickory smoked bacon and a bowl of tomato basil soup. The soup came out first. It was a creamy soup that she said was delicious. I thought it was odd she got the soup first (she asked for it that way). I would have dipped the grilled cheese in it. She said she was certain there would still be soup left when she got the sandwich and she was right. She said the grilled cheese was delicious. She wasn’t a huge fan of the bacon, but she’s picky when it comes to meat. I thought the bacon was delicious. It tasted like it was fresh from the farm which I assume it was. To me, it was the perfect piece of bacon. To her, it was too meaty. Not a big deal. It didn’t go to waste.
I ordered the Steak & Eggs. Breakfast is the only time I will order a steak in a restaurant. I always feel like steak is so overpriced at dinner time and most of the time, I can do better at home. When you order steak for breakfast, you get a decent size piece of meat, even if it is a cheap cut, plus eggs, toast and potatoes. I asked if I could fries for my potatoes. The waiter looked at me a little funny then said that should be ok. I got the steak medium and the eggs over-medium with wheat toast. The steak was more on the medium-well side, but still pretty good. The eggs were still runny in the middle which always make for a good steak sauce. The toast was a whole grain wheat that was lightly buttered. The fries came on a second plate. They were just out of the bag restaurant fries, but there was enough there that I could share with J who was still a little hungry after her sandwich was gone. I say it all the time, I’m not a breakfast person, but when I do get up or have breakfast for lunch, this is my favorite combination and the Crow’s Nest definitely delivered.
Our bill was just under $23. After the service snafu in the beginning, we really warmed up to the place. It’s a great breakfast joint and will be even better after the smoking ban goes into effect. When we were eating, neither of us really noticed any smoke, but when we got home, we both changed clothes right away and totally by coincidence, today was laundry day, so those clothes hit the washing machine right away. I don’t think it would be enough to keep us from going back, but something to take into consideration. More than anything, the place has a good vibe and good food. That’s a tough combination to beat.