Long weekend means we need to get out of the house. J took an extra long weekend for the Independence Day holiday so she didn’t have to get up for work bright and early Monday morning like she usually does. Without the worry of having to go to bed early, she suggested we take a little road trip somewhere.
We came up with just going to Grand Rapids and taking L to the John Ball Zoo. It has been four years since J and I have been there. We took my niece back before her little sister was born….so it’s been quite a while.
L tired out pretty quickly at the zoo. We made it through most of the exhibits before taking the Funicular back down to the entrance and heading home. J asked if there was anything we could pick up to eat in the car, but anything I could think of wasn’t open on Sunday.
It’s a good thing we just got moving, before we even made it to the highway, L was passed out. She was exhausted. J and I were both hungry, but we weren’t going to wake L just so we could eat. I decided to give it some time and she how long she stayed asleep.
On our way to Grand Rapids, J had noticed a billboard around D Avenue for Maude’s Taphouse in Otsego. I had looked at it online a few weeks ago and they weren’t open for lunch at that time. By the time we made it close to the Otsego exit, it was after 3:00, so I assumed they would be open. I asked J if she wanted to pull off and get dinner. L had been asleep for about 40 minutes at that point and I assumed she would be waking up soon.
Maude’s Taphouse is in downtown Otsego on Allegan Street (or M-89) just to the east of the intersection with Farmer Street. We pulled up to a parallel parking spot on the street and the open sign was flashing in the window. Unfortunately, L was still asleep and my attempts at waking her up were pretty pointless. She shrugged me off twice and turned over essentially telling me to go away.
J and I were still hungry though, so I opened up a menu I found on their Facebook page and suggested we just do carry-out. I would go in, have a beer, and put in an order while J stayed in the air conditioning with L.
The restaurant space is kind of long and skinny. There is a HUGE bar that takes up a large portion of the space with 41 tap handles….most of which are Michigan beers. There’s a row of booths on the wall opposite the bar and a number of tables in the remaining spaces.
There were only a few people are the bar when I walked in. I took a seat at the end of the bar and waited for the bartender to bring a beer menu. She grabbed one and came over right away. I told her I was going to get a beer, but I also needed to put in a carry-out order. Since we looked at the menu in the car, I didn’t really need anytime to look over the menu before getting back to the bartender.
I started with the beer for myself. They have a really impressive beer list and I actually felt kind of bad J couldn’t come in. They even have Gunga Din cider on tap from St. Julian…one of J’s favorites. I looked over the menu quite carefully before deciding on the Coconut Almond Brown from The Hideout Brewing Company in Grand Rapids which happened to be on Nitro. It’s a delicious American Brown Ale with a toasty coconut and almond flavor. I started out sipping, but had to hurry as my food order actually came up pretty quickly and I didn’t want to leave J and L in the car any longer than I needed to.
The burger menu at Maude’s is pretty much a build-you-own. The burger is called The “Maudie” and choice of toppings is up to you. I decided to top the fresh ground, hand formed patty with bleu cheese ($.50 extra) and bacon ($1.00 extra). The freshness of the burger keeps it juicy and tender. The meat was perfectly pink right through the middle which was perfect with the saltiness and the crispy bacon. The sandwich comes with skin on fries. They were crispy on the outside and just a touch of salt.
J was having a hard time deciding between of the pulled pork sandwiches, but in the end, she ordered the Maude’s Original. The dry rubbed pork is oven roasted in house and topped with a spicy, mayo based slaw after being covered in a house BBQ sauce. It’s served on a fresh roll with fries on the side. I was a little nervous when I saw the thick, creamy slaw, but J seemed to like it. She said it had a pretty good kick to it and despite being roasted as opposed to smoked, the meat was tender and delicious.
We ordered L a meal too even though she really wasn’t interested in it. We got her the Baked Mac & Cheese served Maudie Style. The smaller portion of their Baked Mac & Cheese comes with a pretzel rope. L took a couple bites but she didn’t really seem interested. I’m not sure why, I thought it was delicious. Creamy with just a little bit of a bread crumb crust to it. After finishing off my meal, I ended up eating hers.
Our bill, including the beer, came in just under $30. Man, do I wish Maude’s was a little closer. This place has a really great craft beer tap list, which you can always find online at BeerMenus.com, in addition to the great pub menu. Otsego isn’t really where I would expect a place like this to open, but since it did, you should probably seek it out.