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Arcadia Brewing Company

April 30, 2018

  • 701 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 276-0458
  • Website
  • Menu

We have been really big fans of Arcadia Brewing Company for a long time.  From the first time we ate at their now closed Battle Creek pub to the many times we stopped in to the Kalamazoo tap room for a quick weekend meal before getting on our with our plans for the day.

The thing we have always loved about Arcadia Ales, other than the beer and the food, is the deli counter service.  We could always get in and out pretty quickly, but we were always there at non-busy times.  The service worked great for us.  Grab a quick meal and a couple of drinks and we could be in and out in less than a half hour.

That all changed a few week ago when Arcadia moved to a full service restaurant.  I’m sure we were in the minority with liking the counter service and, like I said, we were always there at off-peak times so I have no idea what the wait was like on Friday and Saturday nights.

I got off work early on Friday because I was going to be working an incredibly long overtime shift on Saturday.  We picked L up from the bus stop and asked where she wanted to go for dinner.  She actually suggested Arcadia because she likes their mac & cheese.  I’m not going to argue when my kid picks a delicious brewery for dinner.

Things have changed since the last time I blogged about Arcadia Ales when they opened in 2014.  The Battle Creek pub and production facility are closed.  All the beer is now produced at this facility on Michigan Avenue right next to the Kalamazoo River.

The building serves as both the production house and restaurant.  The restaurant portion is on the west side of the building closest to the river.  There is a huge outdoor beer garden where dogs are allowed that is quite awesome when the weather is nice.  You can get to that beer garden either through a gate next to the building (dogs can’t go in to the building so if you have a dog, you have to use the gate) or through the main tap room.  When the weather is nice, there are large garage doors that open up to make the space easy to move between.  The main dining area is filled with large pub tables which encourage sharing a table with someone you don’t know.

The bar is right inside the door.  It’s surrounded by the same metal stools that are at the tables.  They only have Arcadia beers on tap and they’re getting really good about offering some fantastic pub exclusives.  I noticed a couple trial beers on the beer menu this time and it’s a place where you can find a lot of stuff they intend to package long before it hits the shelves.  The bar is also where you pick up to-go orders.  There’s a walk-up spot that doubles as a place to pick up outside beer (in plastic cups) and to pick up to-go orders.

The restaurant is still seat yourself so we headed to the back area where the old deli counter is.  There are more community style tables in that area but they are lower tables and work better for the kids.  We found a big round one open so that’s where we sat.

The waitress saw us sit down and came right over with the menus.  The food is all pretty much the same but it’s a little more organized.

We started with drinks.  I ordered the Autism Awareness Ale. This session IPA is a fundraiser for the Autism Society.  A dollar from each purchase goes to the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research.

J ordered the Cherry Mead.  The bar had to “go to the back” to get more of this so her drink didn’t come out with mine and it took quite a while for her to actually get it.  The waitress came out with a tray of drinks for the table next to us then brought L’s over when she was done with them.  J said the Mead was delicious and the ABV was perfect.  A lot of meads go so high that she can feel it after half a drink but she said this one was very drinkable and she didn’t have to worry about the feeling the effects of a high ABV.

When the waitress brought J’s drink, she also mentioned that she saw J’s appetizer up.  We assumed she would go grab it but she bussed a table and got drinks for another table before grabbing J’s appetizer….which we could see sitting there.  J wasn’t really happy with this.

The appetizer we eventually got was the Tachos.  This is a unique twist on nachos using tator tots instead of tortilla chips.  The small metal bowl was filled with crispy tator tots and topped with pulled pork, sweet BBQ sauce, a three cheese blend, sour cream, and onion.  The thing that stuck out, besides this being delicious, is the pulled pork.  J liked how this pork was pulled pretty fine.  There were no big chunks of meat which is how she prefers it.  Once we finally got the app, this one was a hit.

While J was working on her appetizer, the couches next to the fireplace near us cleared out so we let the kids get up and go over to the game table.  Arcadia has a table full of games and crayons for the kids.  We had some crayons on the table while we were waiting but since they weren’t going to bother anyone, we let them get up while we were waiting on our meals to come.  The fireplace is a cool little chill spot to hang out.  It’s more of a couple thing but they do offer service in area which has a couch on one side and a couple of chairs on the other with a really cool table in the middle.

It didn’t take long for our meals to come after J got her appetizer.  We all pretty much stuck to what we always get when we go to Arcadia.

I ordered the Brisket (solo) and a side of fries.  You can get the meats a solo (just the meat) or platter which comes with two sides.  I didn’t want two sides so I did it as a solo and just ordered a side.

The brisket is a 1/4 lb. which comes out to two large slices.  The meat here always has a perfect smokey flavor and is so tender.  The meat falls apart when you try to pick it up and doesn’t need any sauce to enhance the flavor.  The meat comes from the flat so it’s pretty lean.

The House-Cut Fries were such a great addition to the menu several months ago.  They started serving these with burgers and eventually added them to the menu full time.  The fries are fresh cut and fried to a prefect golden brown crispiness. They’re heavily seasoned in salt and pepper which makes them perfect to dip in the sweet BBQ sauce that’s on the table.

J ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich.  This sandwich comes on a Brioche bun that is stuffed with the house smoked pork.  This meat isn’t pulled quite as finely as the pork that was on the tachos.  J typically picks out the larger chunks of meat and gives them to me.  The pork is so tender, juicy, and smokey.  The sweet BBQ is a perfect companion to the smokey pork butt.  The sandwiches come with pickles and slaw on the side.  J had the tachos so she didn’t order another side for herself.

We got both of the kids Mac & Cheese which came with choice of fries or goldfish crackers.  They’ve always had a kids menu but it wasn’t very well publicized.  We would always order the mac and cheese.  Sometimes the person working the counter would throw in the goldfish.  Sometimes they wouldn’t.  It didn’t matter because it was the mac & cheese the kids loved. Arcadia uses big corkscrew noodles and a thick cheddar cheese sauce.  I have to agree with L, Arcadia does make the best mac & cheese.  It’s the only place she will eat the home made version.  She typically prefers restaurants that serve Kraft.  She finished her bowl off quickly and ate a little bit of B’s as well.  He was more interested in dipping the fries in ketchup.


Our bill for the meal was $63 before tip.  Arcadia is not a cheap place to eat but it is insanely delicious.  The BBQ is always some of the best around and the sides could be meals themselves.  The full service is going to take some getting used to.  This trip was right around dinner time on Friday night so maybe that  had something to do with it, but there were a lot of missteps that didn’t sit well.  We waited a long time for J’s drink.  We waited a long time for an appetizer that was sitting there ready to be brought to the table.  We waited a long time to get our check.  We were so used to the speed the deli service provided.  Arcadia is not the first place to try things this way and eventually switch to full service (Slow’s in Grand Rapids did the same thing and I was disappointed there too).  I’m sure most people prefer the table service otherwise they would have kept it how it was.   We’ll get used to it.  Change is hard.  We won’t stop going to Arcadia.  They still have some of the best food and beer in the area in a great laid back atmosphere.

Arcadia Ales Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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