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C J’s Pub

August 17, 2018

  • 1027 Schuster Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 342-0270
  • Website
  • Menu

Many years ago, when I was single and worked first shift, I would stop at a pub on my way home for work, grab a PBR or a Bud and something to eat.  When J and I started dating, the pubs still happened occasionally but we would actually find a table and not just sit at the bar.

A lot of that stopped when we moved to Michigan.  J worked nights and I was kind of freelancing and kind of not working so I was home and made dinner most nights.  She got a dinner break around 6:30 so I would have dinner on the table waiting for her.

When I started working again, I started working second shift….and that lasted for over seven years.  I finally got back to a day shift four out of five days last spring but now I rush home to spend time with my kids before they have to go to bed.

Needless to say, stopping at the pub doesn’t happen like it used to.

Earlier this week, J went to a friends house for dinner.  It’s a group that gets together regularly so the kids can play and the ladies can have some adult time.  She texted me to say she wasn’t going to be home so I was on my own.  Last time this happened, I went to O’Duffy’s Pub.  This time, I had another pub that I had just heard something surprising about.

C J’s Pub is a place I’ve pasted probably thousands of times.  It’s just off Lake Street on Schuster Avenue, but the building is visible from the Business Loop.  It’s a pretty large building that looks like it’s been added on to a few times.  The parking lot was almost full when I pulled in just before 6:00 on a Tuesday night.

I parked near the back of the lot by Julianna’s Restaurant.  The parking lots would flow seemelessly into one another except for the fact Julianna’s looks like it’s been recently blacktopped while C J’s looks like it hasn’t been touched in years.  There’s an awning in the middle of the building with a grey solid steel door.  I assumed that to be the entrance so I pulled slowly until I could hear the chatter of the crowded bar and figured out I was in the right place

C J’s is a pretty classic pub.  It’s like a lot of the places I grew up around in a small town.  There are very few windows and the lighting is kept pretty low.  There are banks of electronic dart boards, pool tables, and video games on one side of the room and tables are scattered around to fill in the remaining space.

I took a seat at the bar and figured I’d be asking for a Budweiser but I looked at the taps and saw something that looked vaguely familiar.  I asked the bartender if that was Angry Mayor from Lansing Brewing Company.  She said it was so I asked for a pint of that and a menu.

In the eight years that we’ve lived in Kalamazoo, I’ve never once considered going to C J’s Pub.  A big reason is I could never find a menu online.  I scoured the Facebook page thinking there would be one buried in the pictures but there’s nothing.  It wasn’t until I saw a thread on reddit and multiple people saying they had the best chicken wings in town that I decided I was just going to do it one of these days.

The wings are on the Starters and Snacks portion of the menu.  They have options for either an order of ten or an order of six with fifteen different sauce flavors to choose from.  I picked an order of ten with Spicey (sic) Garlic Butter and an order of fries.

The beer tasted really damn good and I realized I wasn’t going to have enough left when my food came.  The bartender had taken the time and asked my name when she took my food order.  As I was nursing the last of the beer I heard someone yell my name from the end of the bar.  It was the bartender with a fresh pint glass asking if I wanted another beer.  I finished the one I was drinking and said yes.  A few minutes later, the wings came out.

I started in on the fries first to give the wings a chance to cool a little bit.  The fries were thin, crispy frozen french fries but there was a lot of them.  I grabbed the salt and pepper shaker off the bar because they needed a little bit more flavor.  They were simple but a good compliment to the wings.

OK, so the wing were the reason I stopped here and, I gotta tell ya, I was not disappointed.  The ten pieces were evenly divided between drumette and wingettes.  They have a very crispy skin that was covered in a spicy, garlicky, butter sauce and tossed with herbs.  A little bit of the seeped into the bottom of the tray but they were by no means swimming and steaming in the extra sauce.  The wings had a good, strong garlic flavor to them but the heat of the buffalo sauce slipped in right at the very end.  There were a lot of people on that reddit thread who said C J’s had the best wings in town and I can say they are by far the best wings I’ve had in Kalamazoo.  They were so delicious I’ve been thinking about them all week.

The dinner cost me about $22 before tip.  C J’s Pub is kind of a hidden gem in Kalamazoo.  It’s a great blue collar, grab a few beers after work kind of place but they also have these fantastic chicken wings that I had never heard anything about before.  The rest of the menu all looks pretty standard…sandwiches, pizzas, other fried foods..but the wings along are worth finding this place.

C J's Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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