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Bimbo’s Pizza

March 4, 2010

  • 338 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 349-3134
  • Website
  • Menu

J comes home from work today and says to me, “I want pizza.”  Kind of a wierd thing to say for her, but I never turn down pizza. 

We’ve hit most of the well-known joints in town, but there was still at least one left that I wanted to get to.  Since they were actually open for lunch, we headed downtown. 

Bimbo’s Pizza has been in business in downtown Kalamazoo for fifty years.  It’s on Michigan Avenue between Edwards and Pitcher Streets.  The building is a magnificent old structure.  There’s an alley right next to Bimbo’s, so there’s an opportunity for more windows and they take advantage of it.  The kitchen area is right in the corner and you can watch the pizza makers from the streets. 

Inside Bimbo’s is just as interesting.  When you enter, you come right in by the kitchen.  It’s completely open and you can watch the pizza makers roll out the dough on the old rollers.  The machine makes a helluva noise, but I would bet it’s either original or very close to original. 

The dining room is surrounded by exposed brick walls and covered with a tin ceiling.  There are a number of dark wood booths along the walls and the rest of the space is filled in with tables. 

We were a little past the lunch rush, but we weren’t the only ones in the store.  We took a seat at a booth near the entrance and right next to the kitchen area.  There was already a menu on the table and the waitress came over for drinks right away.  We both got our usual Coke products and put in the pizza order when they arrived.

We went with a large pizza with pepperoni on half.  The pizza is a super thin crust 14″ pizza that is cut into squares.  When the waitress set it down in front of us, she asked who had the pepperoni and turned it towards me.  The pepperoni was actually under the cheese so I couldn’t see it and would have had no idea until I bit in. 

The crust on this pizza was fantastic.  It wa crunchy all the way through and around the edges, it had bubbled up leaving little air pockets which make it even more crunchy. 

The sauce was plentiful and had a little bit of a tang to it.  J said it tasted really “tomato-y.”  The top of the pizza had a thin layer of grease from the cheese, but it wasn’t overly greasy. 

Even though it was a large pizza, it was a really thin crust so the large pizza was just about the right size for us.  We both really liked it and J said it is one of her favorites.  The crust really made the pizza for us.  We’ve had a hard time finding that perfect thin crust and the pizza at Bimbo’s was very close to our favorite pizza from back home in that respect. 

Our bill was a little over sixteen bucks and it’s paid at a cash register.  I’m not 100% sure, but the place had the feel of a cash only deal.  I didn’t see a credit card machine and I didn’t see anyone else pay with anything other than cash.  There was also an ATM very close to the cash register which is a little odd if it’s not cash only.  We both had the money to cover the bill, so we didn’t ask. 

Bimbo’s is a little surprising to me.  It’s never mentioned among the best pizza joints in town, but it really should be.  Besides having a great restaurant, they do carry-out and partial bakes which is something I’ve never seen outside of Chicago.  Bimbo’s definitely deserves some recognition in Kalamazoo’s pizza scene. 

Large Pizza with Pepperoni on Half

Bimbo's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 4:04 pm

    Definitely a hidden gem. I’ve been here for 10 years but only got hooked on Bimbo’s last year. Didn’t know about the partial bake, I assume it’s a compromise between Papa Murphy’s and carry-out? Sounds intriguing since I love their pizza.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      March 7, 2010 4:09 pm

      The partial bake is something that’s pretty common in Chicago pizza joints. They bake it just long enough to set the crust then you can either freeze it for later or take it home and finish baking it. That way, it’s not overcooked when you reheat later.

      There was a guy who came in and picked up a half dozen pizzas for a party later that night…otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it either.

  2. March 24, 2010 4:26 pm

    We work downtown and our office gets Bimbos once a month. YUM. Nope, they only take cash or check. No credit cards.

  3. Brian permalink
    December 3, 2011 8:55 pm

    I recently moved from Kalamazoo to Brighton and Bimbo’s (good pizza in general) is one of the main things I miss. For me, it is the pizza by which all others are compared. I actually found this blog based on the Mid-Michigan version and have enjoyed reading reviews of my favorite places from my former home. Now I just need to talk some friends into Palermo’s the next time I’m visiting Chicago.

  4. September 9, 2012 11:09 pm

    At some point in the past year, they started taking credit cards. So good on them, and still the same yummy pizza.

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