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Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse (Oshtemo)

January 15, 2020

  • 5160 W. Main Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 342-4360
  • Website
  • Menu

Open skate at Lawson Arena the last weekend of Winter Break was  nuts.  We had just got L her own pair of skates that she really wanted to try out and B really wanted to try to skate for the first time so we went.  Wings West doesn’t have open skate until 6:00 on Saturday’s so Lawson it was.

L got used to her new figure skates and B had a blast.  He was so happy being out on the ice with all of those people instead of having to sit in the stands and watch like he usually does.  We never made it all the way around the rink but he would skate a few feet by himself before falling down, getting up, and doing it all over again.

Our time ran out just before 3:30.  We got the kids packed up and started heading for home.  J asked about dinner right as I was coming to the corner of Drake and West Michigan so I took a quick turn north. I figured we could decide along the way where to go.

The kids intially picked Applebees (they have tablets on the tables with games so they always want to eat there) but there was a wait already at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m not gonna wait at Applebees.  We have tablets at home they could play.

We walked back to the car and across the parking lot we see a restaurant that we’ve blown off for quite a while.  J suggested we go there and I figured why not.

Finley’s Grill and Smokehouse has rebranded since the last time we ate there.  They’re no longer just an American Grill.  They’re now also a smokehouse.

The longtime restaurant is in the Target shopping plaza on West Main in Oshtemo Township.  The parking lot is pretty small and most people were parking across the road in the plaza lot.  We saw a place next to the building so I pulled in the lot so we didn’t have to cross with the kids.

We always blow Finley’s off because of such an awful experience many years ago in Lansing.  The first time we ate at Finley’s American Grill was in 2008.  You could still smoke in restaurants back then and it was awful.  We asked to be seated in the no smoking section but there was a 15 minute wait so we reluctantly took a seat in the smoking section and that was a huge mistake.  We had a hard time breathing let alone smelling anything other than cigarette smoke.  Things have changed so much since then but it’s that impression of Finely’s that always comes to mind when we consider then usually pass on the place.

The layout of the restaurant always seems a little weird to me.  They try to give you a private dining experience so the dining room, for the most part, is two rows with booths on either side.  There are some four tops near the back that can be pushed together for larger groups.  The decor is pretty dark with orange and blue being the primary colors. Lighting comes from stained glass lamps hanging over the tables from the drop ceiling.

We were taken to a booth in the part of the restaurant that can be used as a private party room.  There weren’t a lot of people there yet for an early dinner but they seated us next to the one other couple dining in this back area.  Fortunately, there are higher walls between the booths so the kids couldn’t bother them too much.

We got settled with drinks and started looking over the menu.  While we were deciding, our waitress brought out two fresh, warm loaves of bread.  These are the types of soft breads that are easy to tear and just soak up the butter.  The kids surprisingly pass which was fine for J and I.

I was very excited for the smokehouse part of this restaurant.  The food I’ve had the other couple times we’ve eaten at Finley’s has always been good but I do love a good BBQ.

I picked the Prime Brisket Gouda Melt.  The sandwich is simple.  It’s chopped brisket and Gouda cheese with a little bit of their Kansas City Brazen BBQ sauce on a burger bun.  The brisket was super tender and juicy.  I’m not a big BBQ sauce on brisket guy unless it needs it…this did not need it.  It rivals any of the other briskets in town.  The sandwich came with “Finley’s Fries” and slaw on the side.  The fries were battered fries that were really good with a little bit of BBQ sauce.

As for that sauce, there’s a lot to choose from.  The waitress came out with a caddy holding six sauces and a warning that the Devil’s Advocate was spicy.  I didn’t believe her and tried a little bit.  She was right.  I should have believed her.  I was a pretty big fan of the Kansas City Brazen BBQ sauce but I tried all of them.  The Stout Sriracha was interesting but not sure I could eat a lot of it.  The Finley’s Original is the sweet option and that was the one J preferred.

J did not get BBQ.  She picked the Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad.  The plate is grilled chicken, salad greens, red onions, dried Michigan cherries, sugared walnuts, bleu cheese, and a Cherry Vinaigrette.  The thing that surprised me about this salad was “salad greens” meant iceburg lettuce.  Despite that, J said she really liked it and was happy with the flavors. Salads with cherries and walnuts are typically her favorite anyway so the cheap lettuce didn’t hold this one back.

L also got a salad.  She wasn’t really in the mood for anything on the kid’s menu so she asked for a side salad with ranch.  Again, iceburg lettuce but I expect that with a side salad.  She doesn’t like anything other than cheese on her salad so that’s all she got.

We picked a sit down restaurant for dinner because B wanted chicken tenders….then he ordered a grilled cheese.  His meal was pretty simple with a delicious, cheesy grilled cheese and Findley’s Fries.   He ate about half then we all stole some of his fries to soak up more of the delicious BBQ sauce.

This was a much better Finley’s experience than we had in Lansing all those years ago. Our bill for dinner was right around $40 before tip.

I walked away really thinking about the brisket.  I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.  All in all, Finley’s is pretty much a chain restaurant..the feel of it is anyway.  I think this visit may be enough to turn around our opinion of Finley’ the very least, it will become a carry-out option for the BBQ.


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 15, 2020 10:44 pm

    I wish more smokehouses offered turkey! I am not a huge fan of chicken and there is just something really delicious about smoked turkey … you should try it when you go next time! 🙂

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