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Skinny Kenny’s BBQ & Ice Cream (Oshtemo Township)

February 25, 2022

  • 7000 Stadium Drive 
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 270-3530
  • Website
  • Menu

I’ve made no secret over the years how much I love BBQ.  

When we first moved to Kalamazoo, there weren’t any really good options.  The Rib Cage on North Street was the closest Kalamazoo had to a BBQ place for a few years after we moved here in 2009.

Several places have come and gone since then.  Some little places on the northside of town like Beale Street BBQ or TNT-Little Brother’s BBQ.  Some bigger places like Kelvin & Co. and Finley’s Grill and Smokehouse.

In addition to those brick and mortar places, a slew of BBQ food trucks have made their way through Kalamazoo.  It’s always a good day at Lunchtime Live when Weller BBQ or Pig Out Take Out showed up.  

There are a lot of restaurants who get in to the food truck business to supplement what they’re doing in their shops but it’s not very often a food truck goes the other way and opens a brick and mortar building…let alone two of them.  

Skinny Kenny’s BBQ is the success story a lot of food truck operators strive for.  The food truck business was already pretty popular.  They moved in to an old diner on Red Arrow Highway mostly to use it as a catering kitchen but decided to have some retail as well.  It was too popular.  They outgrew the space.  A second location was opened up in Portage followed by a move up Red Arrow Highway towards Kalamazoo.  

Skinny Kenny’s BBQ and Ice Cream now calls the shopping center on Stadium Drive near 8th Street home. They closed the Mattawan location and moved in to this one. The space has been home to several restaurants over the years. It was Blackeye Espresso Cafe, Feed the World Cafe, and most recently, Chau Haus Schnitzel Station. The building is kind of oddly situated with the parking lot behind the building. It’s really hard to see what’s in those spaces as you’re driving by at 55 mph on Stadium. Signage isn’t great but they have a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tubeman to get your attention. Once you get in the parking, there isn’t any signage yet for Skinny Kenny’s above the entrance. the “Coffee Bar” from Blackeye is still on the awning so that’s what you need to look for…..or just follow your nose.

Skinny Kenny’s does offer online ordering but it wasn’t giving me the option to select pulled pork for any of the options so I decided just to walk in and see what I could order. It’s been six years since I’ve been in the place and I didn’t use to take as many pictures of places as I do now so I’m going off a pretty weak memory. Some things definitely looked familiar from my previous trips to this space but I can’t compare on what’s new or not.

There’s a order counter immediately to your right as you walk in the door. The menu board hangs right above it. If you’ve ordered at either of the other Skinny Kenny’s locations, there’s nothing at this location that will surprise.

I put in an order for J and I. The kids are weird and won’t eat BBQ…nor will they eat “fancy” mac and cheese. That’s fine. They can eat a pizza Lunchable if they don’t want tasty smoked meats.

I took a seat in the dining area while I waited for my meal to be put together. Like I said, I ate here about 6 years ago when it was a different restaurant but it seems pretty familiar. the dining room is broken up with a large fireplace in the middle of the room. It’s a nice space with tile floors and a vaulted ceiling. There is a lot of room to space out if you’re still uncomfortable eating amongst others.

It took less than ten minutes for my meal to be bagged up. Before I headed out, I made a stop at the ice cream counter just to see what they had. This is what makes the Oshtemo location different from the Portage. They offer ice cream from The Ice Cream Club out of Boynton Beach, FL. I believe they’re the only ones in the state to offer this specific brand. We’re really going to take advantage of this in the summer. I’ve long complained about the lack of neighborhood ice cream stands in Kalamazoo. This will be the closest we have to something like that in Oshtemo.

We couldn’t wait to break open the boxes when I got the food home. Screw the kids. They can make their own Lunchables.

I usually order the Monster Bowl but decided to try something different. I went with the 3 Street Tacos. The three flour tortillas come with meat (I picked Brisket and there is a $4 upcharge for that), a spicy sauce, a pico, a cumin sauce, Fresca cheese, and cilantro. My only disappointment here was the Pico is a Pineapple Pico….I don’t love pineapple. I did my best to pick out the bigger chunks. The tacos were insanely delicious otherwise. The brisket was super tender and the tortilla just soaked up all the juices and the myriad of sauces and flavors swimming in each one of the three tacos.

I added on a side of the spicy mac because I have a hard time turning down BBQ shop mac and cheese. The creamy mac and cheese is made spicy with jalapenos then bacon is added just because…bacon.

J did the Monster Bowl because those things are just so darn good. You really get a little bit of everything in this meal. It starts with a couple of thick slices of cornbread, topped with mac and cheese, then topped with meat. J picked the pulled pork. I asked for the non spicy BBQ sauce because I know J. This is what I usually get from Skinny Kenny’s and there’s a good reason why. The bowl is so good and it’s so filling. J didn’t finish so I was able to get a little bit of that delicious, smoky pulled pork.

I mentioned in my last Skinny Kenny’s post, BBQ is not cheap and neither is this meal. That’s ok though. You’re paying for good food. The bill for our meal was just under $40.

I was already pretty happy Skinny Kenny’s was more easily accessible when they opened up in Mattawan but this move to Oshtemo makes me smile even bigger. Sure, I can always make my own BBQ but it takes so much time. This is a much better option most days.

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