Grand Traverse Pie Company – Portage
I always like seeing new places move in to existing buildings. And, yes, I do like seeing new chains come to Kalamazoo. I’m a big supporter or local business and there are very few instances where I would actually say a chain is better than a local joint, but options are nice and sometimes easy wins out.
The newest chain restaurant to come to the Kalamazoo metro area is Grand Traverse Pie Company. It’s new to Kalamazoo, but not new to J and I. There were actually two locations of the small, 16 store chain in the Lansing area (one in East Lansing and one in Okemos). There’s also one in Kentwood which I ate at last summer.
The new Portage store moved in to the old Pappy’s Mexican Restaurant on South Westnedge near I-94. After a total overhaul, you wouldn’t have any idea that this building had a life as a casual dining Mexican restaurant. It really doesn’t look like they saved anything other than the shell.
The restaurant just opened so interest was high when I stopped in on Tuesday afternoon. L and I had to do some Christmas shopping down the street, so J asked if I would bring home lunch.
The parking lot was completely full when I pulled in. I started to go around the building thinking it would take me back to the parking lot, but it actually took me to the lot of bd’s. Mongolian Grill. I know it’s kind of a jerk move, but I parked in their lot and trudged through a snow bank with a toddler in my arms to get back to my destination.
The inside of this location looks a little different than the other three I’ve been to. It actually has somewhat of a Panera feeling to it. In a Kalamazoo Gazette article the owners called the decor an “urban farm market” which kind of fits, but it to me, it’s kind of cookie-cutter sandwich shop/bakery.
Right inside the door is a cooler with some of their baked goods that need to be kept cold. This is usually where I would find cheesecake, but there was none so I got in line to get sandwiches.
I ordered three sandwiches and a slice of pie for J. There were a lot of questions asked as I was ordering about sides and such which is important to the story a little later on. The bill was a little under $25 for our meal and I walked down to the next counter area to wait while our meals were made fresh and bagged up.
For myself, I ordered the French Dip. This delicious sandwich is oven roasted beef, red onion, and Swiss cheese on an herbed baguette. It’s supposed to be served with warm au jus, but there was none in my bag. The sandwich was surprisingly delicious. In the past, I have enjoyed my sandwiches from GT Pie, but this one was really good. The baguette was soft and soaked up the au jus that was on the beef. I would have liked to have been able to dip it, but as it was it was still very yummy. I actually almost walked out with this sandwich, but luckily, I was paying attention. After the sandwich was wrapped and bagged, I noticed one of the cooks looked at the order board then pulled the sandwich back out. They had put the onions on after I asked to leave them off. She pulled the onions off then put more meat on it to make up for the cheese and meat that was taken off with the onions. The guy filling the order didn’t realize the sandwich had been taken out and handed me the bag without it. I waited a second for the cook to finish wrapping the sandwich before taking the bag to give her time to put the sandwich back in.
J’s sandwich choice was the Smoked Ham & Havarti. Unfortunately, they don’t list sandwich ingredients on the website, so she wasn’t totally sure what was on it. Turns out, the herbed baguette was topped with smoked ham, havarti cheese, cherry apple butter, spicy mustard, salt, and pepper. She would have liked to have done without the mustard. Otherwise, it would have been a tasty sandwich.
L got the GT Kids Grilled Cheese. This simple sandwich is fresh baked bread and cheddar cheese. She ate this thing up very quickly. She’s kind of picky when it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches for some reason….we’re always so hit or miss, but this one was devoured. The meal was supposed to come with blueberry applesauce and a juice box, but when I opened the bag, there was no juice box. In fact, all I found were three sides of the blueberry applesauce…one for each of our meals, but I know I ordered at least one side of coleslaw…actually a good thing they screwed this one up because L absolutely loved the blueberry applesauce. Before we knew it, she had finished off the small cup of it on her own.
To finish off the meal, I ordered J a slice of Cherry Crumb Pie. I never saw it go in the bag and when I got in the car, I realized I should probably check the bag. Good thing I did. It wasn’t there. I had to go back in and ask for it. There was just no way I could home without pie because that is a big reason that J wanted me to stop there for lunch.
This was the best experience, food wise, that I have had at Grand Traverse Pie Company. Service had a few issues but they did just open and the issues were typical growing pains. It’s a little frustrating, but expected when something new comes to town. Hopefully next time they will have my cheesecake.