Finley’s American Grill – Kalamazoo
Working Sunday meant Monday was my Saturday. Surprisingly, I was actually out of bed before J got home from work. I checked my e-mail and saw one from her saying she wanted to go out to lunch.
I had originally suggested going to Bilbo’s because I have a BOGO coupon. I thought I could save myself some money. She was on board, but the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t in the mood for pizza. I also didn’t want to go too far from home because I knew she would want to take a nap before her evening activities.
My second suggestion was Finley’s American Grill. We had eaten at a Finley’s when we lived in Lansing and had such an awful experience, we have never considered going back. The food was fine as was the service, but the atmosphere was horrendous. This experience took place in the archaic days before the smoking ban. We asked to be seated in the non-smoking section and instead of punishing those who have no respect for others, they put the non-smoking family section is a small, enclosed room in the back of the restaurant. We had to walk through the smoking section to get there and I swear the short walk took two years off my life. The smoke was so bad we had the smell on our clothes just walking through.
That pretty much sealed the deal for us on Finley’s prior to the smoking ban and it’s kept us away ever sense. When I suggested we try the Kalamazoo location, J’s eyes didn’t exactly light up, but she agreed.
We walked in to the restaurant a little before two o’clock on a Monday. We were passed the lunch rush and were pretty much the only ones in the restaurant. A hostess took us to a booth in the main dining area and handed us the large menus to look over while we waited on our waitress.
Finley’s sort of plays like the typical casual dining chain restaurant. They have five locations. All in Michigan. All within an hour and a half drive. While they’re not a large national chain, they do have that feeling which can either be comforting or a turn off depending on your view of chains.
The pop choice is Coke products so I got a Coke while J got a Sprite. The menu brags about their ribs, but I had the BBQ last time and wasn’t super impressed. Granted, I did get the Pulled Pork and not the ribs, but I’m not really a rib in the restaurant type of guy.
I ordered the Backyard Bar-B-Q& Bacon Burger. The half pound Angus burger is basted with BBQ sauce then topped with hickory bacon, cheddar cheese, and onion straws. Everything sounded good but the onion straws so I left them off. The burger was deliciously messy. It had a perfectly cooked pink center and just enough of the BBQ sauce taste to not overwhelm the juiciness of the burger. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. The fries that came with my sandwich had a batter on them. They were very crispy and lightly salted. Since J didn’t get any with hers, I was nice and shared….but I probably couldn’t have eaten them all on my own anyway.
J did the You Pick Two-Express. She started with the Michigan Cherry Salad which was brought out almost right away. The salad greens came topped with red onions (which she picked off), Michigan Dried Cherries, sugared walnuts, bleu cheese crumbles, and a cherry vinaigrette salad. She finished this one off so fast I’m just going to assume she liked it.
For the other half of the Pick Two, she picked the Bacon, Turkey, and Provolone on a Pretzel Roll. She loves the pretzel roll and that was her favorite part of this sandwich as well. The roll was very large and held smoked turkey, bacon, and provolone cheese between the two halves. The sandwich came with a side of honey dijon. She talked extensively about the rolls which was by far her favorite part of the sandwich.
Our bill was right around $20 which is what I expect at a casual dining restaurant. This was a much better experience at Finley’s mainly because we weren’t assaulted with a thick haze of smoke. The fact is plays like a casual dining chain will factor in to my decision on a return trip, but based on our meals, I would say there’s a chance we will be back.