Arcadia Ales – Kalamazoo
When I was in fifth grade, my teacher was very excited about the new shopping mall being built near her house. She used to tell us all the time how she would drive by on her way home from work and yell out the car window at the workers telling them to hurry up. She couldn’t wait for the mall to open.
I always thought that was a little weird. That is, until Arcadia Ales broke ground for a new brewery in downtown Kalamazoo.
It’s been a long year or so driving by the site anxious for the new brewery and pub to open. We love Arcadia in Battle Creek, but we don’t go over there nearly enough to eat. We’ve had really great snacks from the Twisted Tail food truck at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market, but it’s the BBQ we really love from Arcadia.
Finally, in early April, we saw the announcement that Arcadia was opening their doors in Kalamazoo at the beginning of May. Unfortunately, they’re not open on Sunday or Monday…which are my days off, but I did notice they are open Saturday for lunch and the lunch is served inside and not at the food truck that is parked outside for lunch during the week.
Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo is on Michigan Avenue just to the west of the Kalamazoo River near downtown. The building is huge because it’s also their new production facility. The restaurant takes up the side of the building that is closest to the river.
The pub is large. It’s divided in to three distinct spaces with the bar area being the first thing you walk in to. There is a huge bar with all of Arcadia’s delicious beers on tap and a number of pub tables in the space. There’s also a wall that opens up that leads to the outdoor seating area which overlooks the river. The third space is in the back of the restaurant and that’s where you pick up food. There’s sort of a deli counter with the day’s offerings. There are also some communal tables which are much lower. These work great for the families that come in to eat like us.
We were met by a waitress as we walked in. She explained how things worked and handed us a beer list. The waitresses are get the beer. If you want to eat, you have to go up to the counter and order for yourself. You pay at the counter for the food and pay your waitress for the beer.
We were walking in right at noon as the pub was opening for the day, so we were the first ones to head back to the food area. There is a chalkboard that hangs above the counter showing you what’s on the menu for the day. Luckily for us BBQ was on the menu. They had both pulled pork and brisket. J got the pulled pork, I got the brisket. We were also pretty lucky that they had Carmelized Bacon Mac & Cheese which L loves. We had it at the Farmer’s Market last week and she scarfed it down.
The bill for the food portion of our lunch was $26. Once we got settled in, J headed back up to the counter to get some BBQ sauce for her pulled pork as a waitress came over to get drink orders. I noticed they had Rapunzel on draft and was excited to try that one. J got a Whitsun.
The Rapunzel is one of their new beers. It’s a Wheat IPA brewed with lemongrass and honey with Michigan hops. It was really good. J grabbed my glass and took a sip too and she’s looking forward to bottles now. She’s not typically a fan of IPA’s, but this one isn’t really as hoppy as IPA’s usually are.
The food is exactly what we expected to be. Both of the sandwiches are served on a crusty roll that were almost as good as the meats. My brisket was super tender and full of that smokey flavor. J had brought me back some BBQ sauce, but I didn’t even really want it. I love a good smoked BBQ and this was a great smoked BBQ. The sandwich was served with cole slaw on the side and chips. I polished off the chips, but I don’t really like slaw.
J’s sandwich was a delicious mound of smokey, juicy, and tender pork. She likes sauce on all her BBQ so putting the sauce on is not a cover up. She mixed the sweet and the hot BBQ sauces to make a delicious sweet and spicy combo that paired perfectly with the smokey meat. Her sandwich also came with chips and slaw.
L got a little boat full of a cheesy, smokey mac ‘n cheese that comes with slices of crispy, caramelized bacon. It’s a really simple take on the dish, but it’s so good. L has been a fan of it both times we’ve had it now and J and I both had to sneak bites this time so we could see what it was like.
Once we add on the price for the beers, the total came out to a little under $35. I can’t explain to you how excited I am for this pub in Kalamazoo. I’m a little bummed they don’t do lunch from their kitchen everyday of the week right now, but the Twisted Tail does offer up some delicious combinations. It’s still totally worth a stop if you’re in the mood for lunch, but the dinner hour is where it’s at. We have always loved the food at all of Arcadia’s locations. We’re very happy to have them in town.