Quaker Steak & Lube – Kentwood
Pizza, burgers, and wings. The three perfect foods. Finding good pizza and burgers is pretty easy. Finding good wings, not always as easy.
Last year after a the trip home for Christmas, J and I packed up all new stuff and started heading back towards Kalamazoo. Along the way in Portage, IN, there’s a chain restaurant just off the Interstate that I had been wanting to stop at ever since we moved to Lansing in the spring of 2008.
We finally did make the stop and loved the meal. Great wings. Great fries. Just great food. Imagine my excitement when I saw the same chain opening a store in Kentwood.
Quaker Steak and Lube opened up on the very commercial 28th Street in Kentwood just to the west of Patterson Avenue. This store is the only Michigan location for the small chain of under 50 locations. The original store was in Sharon, PA in a converted gas station during the oil crisis of the 1970’s. The name comes from the fact they were originally a cook your own steak place, but the chain is now known for their award winning chicken wings.
The store just opened about a week ago, so I had to do some searching to find a phone number. I was already familiar with the concept, so I knew I wanted wings. I found a phone number and called in an order from work. Since I work close to downtown, I knew it was going to take me about twenty minutes to get to the shop.
I put in the order for the Wings and Magma Fries combo. I prefer the bone in wings, so that’s what I chose. The person on the other end started to say good-bye after she took all my information, but she forgot something important. She never asked which sauce I wanted. I was able to stop her from hanging up the phone and made sure I got my order in with the Golden Garlic sauce which is one of their award winners.
Like most new restaurants, the parking lot was packed when I pulled in about twenty minutes later. I found a spot and walked in to find a lot of people hanging around the hostess station. One of them made contact with me and I told them I was there to pick up a carry-out order. Confusion ensued. No one knew what to do. There was a manager nearby and he said he’d go looking for it.
A few minutes later, two different people came out with my order all bagged up and ready to go. There’s a cash register near the front where you can buy the sauces, t-shirts, gift cards, etc., and I guess I just assumed they would process payment there. It’s kind of a tight fit because they have a big plush chair in front of it and the hostess station is right there…and there were a lot of hostesses.
The lady that brought my food went to that register, punched a few buttons and told me how much it was going to cost. I handed her my credit card and she took it to another register to ring it up. I never like to see my credit card go somewhere where I can’t see it, so that made me a little nervous. Not really sure why she could tell me the total from where she was at, but couldn’t run the card.
Anyway, I grabbed the sack and headed back to work to eat.
When I opened up the plastic container with my food, my mouth immediately began to water. There were eight plump, juicy wings waiting for me as well as a mound of skin on fries topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and scallions.
I started with the wings and the best thing I can say is it was worth the trip to get them. The wings are very meaty and the Golden Garlic sauce had a great, but not overpowering garlic taste. They have 22 sauces that are listed on the menu by their Scovill Heat Unit numbers. The one I chose was in the middle. Not really hot, but just enough of a kick so you knew what you were eating.
The Magma Fries that I got as part of the combo were also delicious. They are crispy thick cut fries topped with cheese and bacon and they don’t skimp on either.
My meal was a little over $12 without a drink, so it’s not cheap, but not bad when you consider the amount of food that I actually got. I really wish there was one of these in Kalamazoo because every Tuesday is All-You-Can-Eat Wings. Yes, all you can eat. You can try out all the flavors and just gorge yourself on chicken wings for a little over ten bucks. I ran in to a few problems, but I’m chalking those up to opening week issues. Nothing major and things that will be fixed with time.
I know it’s not like me to give chain stores love, but Quaker Steak and Lube is on of the best. Unlike other wing chains, they don’t serve puny, overpriced wings. The chicken they serve are juicy and meaty. Well worth the trip to Grand Rapids.