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Earth Fare/Westnedge Kitchen – Portage

March 5, 2015

  • 5070 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 343-4160
  • Website
  • Menu

Is it just me or are grocery stores really changing.  On the way out are the stores that just sell you groceries and maybe some salads from the deli.  All these new stores popping up have cafe areas that will rival almost any restaurant alongside their aisles and aisles of gourmet, fresh, or organic foods.

The newest entry into the Kalamazoo market is Earth Fare.  J has been super excited about this place for months as we watched the building being constructed in front of the Lowes on the corner of South Westnedge and Kilgore in Portage.  I always like variety and Earth Fare offers something a lot of it’s competitors don’t.  They don’t sell any products with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial fats or artificial transfats, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweetners.

Earth Fare has 33 locations throughout the Southeast and Midwest.  The Portage store is the only one in Michigan at the moment.  The doors to that store opened at the end of February and people were excited to see what was inside.

My first attempt at checking out Earth Fare was two days after it opened.  The parking lot was full and the first two rows in the Lowes parking lot were full as well.  I was about to give up when a spot opened up, so I zipped in before anyone else could.  I didn’t realize the carts were on the outside of the store, so I was lost when I got in.  I had L with me and the store was pretty crowded, so I picked her up.  I didn’t really get to see anything on that trip because there were so many people it was hard to move.  I tried to get to the cafe to get a sandwich, but gave up and decided to come back another time.

The following Sunday, L’s preschool performed at a church service, so for the first time in many, many years, we went to church to watch her sing.  Afterwards, we were fairly close to Earth Fare and J suggested stopping for lunch.  We sort of hit the same problem as we did my first attempt.  No parking again.  Once again, just as I was about to give up, a spot opened up right in front of me.

J has been going in the morning to get breakfast and that’s worked out much better for her.  She’s able to get a smoothie and a sandwich plus have time to browse the store before it gets crazy.  She was not expecting the mad crush of people that were waiting inside the doors after we got L in a cart and got inside.  

We headed straight to the deli since that was the purpose of the trip.  They have a really great hot bar and a salad bar where you serve yourself.  There are also pizza “slices” available to eat in or to go.  I put the quotes around slices because it’s actually a whole quarter of a pizza.  I passed on it this time, but it’s a must try in the future.

We went to the Home Sliced Sandwich counter to get three sandwiches to go.  I ordered the Hottie Pastrami, J ordered Ma’s Chicken Salad Wrap, and we got a Grilled Cheese meal for L.  The lady working the sandwich counter was struggling a little bit so it took quite a bit longer than it should have to make the sandwiches.  I stayed and waited while J grabbed some snacks around the deli then went to the register in the cafe to pay.  She was able to pay for our three sandwiches while they were being made, so we could just bail once they were finished.

It took at least ten minutes for the three sandwiches to be wrapped up and handed to us.  J and mine’s came with choice of chips or a pickle slice while L’s came with carrots and grapes.  Both J and I chose the chips which were kettle cooked.

L couldn’t wait and tore in to her sandwich in the car.  I’m pretty sure she had 3/4 of it gone by the time we got home.  The sandwich was a delicious, buttery, toasty brown with two slices of American cheese in between it.

My sandwich was pretty awesome.  I felt stupid saying the words “Hottie Pastrami,” but the sandwich was really good.  The hot pastrami is put on to a light rye with spicy mustard and swiss cheese then pressed warm.  It took me all of about ten second to tear through the sandwich.  I didn’t want to set it down.  The pastrami had that delicious peppery taste and the spiciness from the vinegar of the mustard was just perfect.

J’s Ma’s Chicken Salad had a lot of mayo.  The wrap is served cold with chicken salad, lemon garlic mayo, and lettuce on a flour wrap.  The squirt bottle of mayo was kind of plugged up as the lady was trying to make the wrap and it unplugged all at once leave a huge splat of mayo on the wrap.  She sort of spread it around then added the chicken salad and the lettuce.  J ate half of the sandwich for lunch then saved the later half for another meal.  Unlike me, she likes mayo, but not a lot of mayo.  I never got a straight answer out of her about whether there was too much or not.

Earth Fare is a welcome addition to the Kalamazoo area.  My chief complaint so far is that it’s too busy, but I’m betting the company isn’t too unhappy about that.  The sandwich maker was a little unsure of herself and that caused to to go very slow, but agian, things will change with time.  The store has only been open a little over a week.  J has been stopping in just about every  morning.  She loves the place.  I’m sure once things settle down, I will to and we’ll be making frequent stops at Earth Fare not only for delicious meals, but to do a little shopping as well.

Hottie Pastrami

Ma’s Chicken Salad

Westnedge Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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