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State Burger

October 29, 2010

  • 6384 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 324-4866
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m bad at math.  Really bad.  It’s no wonder that I’m not an accountant.

A couple days ago, we got sucked in with an ad from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  We headed to Portage to pick up some new curtains and curtain roads.  When I got home to put them up, we realized one wasn’t long enough and the other wasn’t wide enough.  Whoops.

Since I can’t do simple addition in my  head, we had to do the walk of shame back in to the store and admit that I can’t figure out how many inches are in a foot and get the right ones.

Since we were on that side of town and neither of us had eaten all day, I told J we were going for lunch.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a new place had opened up where Nisker’s used to be.  I didn’t realize it at first, but this new restaurant also had the Nisker’s name on it.

State Burger by Lou Niskers is in the same spot as the previous Nisker’s Char-Broiled Foods on Westnedge Avenue in Portage.  It’s in a strip mall and you can’t really see it from Westnedge though.  It’s actually on the Mall Drive side of the center. 

The set-up of the restaurant is exactly the same but they have repainted the place so it has more of an “on the road” theme.  When you walk in, there’s a large map of Michigan with the store’s logo over the center and there are license plates mounted underneath the order counter.

Since we’ve been in Kalamazoo, we had heard different people tell us how Nisker’s wasn’t the same as it used to be when Lou Nisker’s owned the place.  On our one and only trip to the previous business, J and I both liked Nisker’s, so we were pretty surprised to hear locals say that it had gone downhill since Lou sold it in 2006.

The story of this new place is that Lou Nisker’s was heartbroken when he heard the original Nisker’s had gone out of business earlier this year so he got back into the restaurant business and reopened his business as State Burger.

J and I were in the store at that weird time between lunch and dinner so there weren’t a whole lot of people there.  We both sort of knew what we wanted, but finding it on the large, hand-written in chalk menu above the counter was a little difficult.

I just wanted a 1/3 lb State Burger that I got with cheddar cheese.  After putting in the order, the fresh hamburger patty is thrown on the grill to cook.  While you’re waiting, a different employee toasts a fresh made bun and asks you about toppings.  They sort of have a Subway set-up with the toppings in front of you and you pick what you want on your burger starting with the sauces.  I passed on sauce and only added jalapenos to mine.  After taking care of that, we took a seat and waited for our name to be called.

The burger tasted like it just came off the grill which is exactly what I liked about Nisker’s the first time we ate there.  The patty is pretty thin and cooked pretty well done, but it’s designed to be cooked that way.  I love the smokey, flame-kissed taste that only Nisker’s offers.

I made my meal a combo and added a Sprite and hand-cut curly fries.  The fries needed a little salt, but other than that were delicious.  They were crispy and golden brown and cooked all the way through which doesn’t always happen with curly fries.

J knew she wanted a grilled chicken sandwich, but had a really  hard time finding the option on the menu.  She ended up just asking the lady taking our order.  The grilled chicken is on the menu, but it’s hidden under the name of Tiger Stadium Chicken Burger.  I think the “burger” part of that threw her (and me) off, but the description on the paper menu does have it as a chicken breast.  With the chicken burger, you get your choice of marinaded chicken breast.  J went with the BBQ.  As her chicken was cooking, she added more BBQ sauce and lettuce as her toppings.

Last time we ate at Nisker’s, J loved the grilled chicken.  She felt the same this time.  She said it had a great smokey flavor and couldn’t get enough flame-grilled boneless, skinless breast.  She also made hers a combo with a Diet Coke and the curly fries.  As much as she loved the chicken, she had a hard time putting down the fries which left me with a few bites of the chicken when she got done.

Our bill for lunch was right around $15.   It’s a little bit more than some of the fast food in the area, but it’s soooooo much better.  I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between this and the previous Nisker’s, but I have heard from people that have lived in Kalamazoo much longer than I have that this Nisker’s is the original, better Nisker’s.  Either way, I thought the food was delicious and I love the char-broil concept.  It’s especially great in the winter when it’s too cold for me to stand outside and try to grill my own food, but in the summer, it’s a quick, tasty way to get fresh, flame cooked food.

1/3 lb. State Burger w/Jalapenos and Hand-Cut Curly Fries

Tiger Stadium Chicken Burger w/BBQ Sauce, Lettuce, and Hand-Cut Curly Fries

State Burger on Urbanspoon

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