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Bird Dog

April 3, 2022

  • 57649 Murray Street
  • Mattawan, MI 49071
  • (269) 668-4770
  • Website
  • Menu

We don’t do spring break. I’ve never understood why everyone in Michigan travels at the same time to the same destinations. Prices are clearly higher and I just don’t get why it’s such a thing.

J and I both work during spring break. L has been going to a spring break camp at The Civic Theater for a few years (minus the last two COVID years) and has loved it. B’s been wanting to do theater too so we sent him for the first time this year too.

The camp is pretty great. It’s an intense week. They learn a whole show in just five days. The kids are divided in to two groups..a younger group and an older group. Each group does like five songs.

The hard works is shown off at a performance on Friday. For some reason, that performance time was 4:00. Do people who work normal jobs actually get off work by 4:00? I sure as hell don’t and neither does J. We both ended up taking the day off so we wouldn’t miss the kids perform. “

Having time to go to restaurants without kids is rare for us. We both have so many restaurants we want to go to without kids…but most of them seem to open at 4:00 so that doesn’t work for lunch.

We did have one option for a place J has been wanting to take me to after she went with friends a few years ago.

Bird Dog is a “modern American restaurant” on Murray Street in Mattawan in what can be considered “downtown.” The building is right around the corner from the park on Front Street. The last time I was in this small building was 10 years ago when it was Farran’s Broaster Chicken. This building has undergone an extension remodel from counter service chicken joint to a kinda fancy sit down dining experience.

The restaurant is not big. We actually decided to go a little bit later in the afternoon thinking we’d beat the lunch rush. When we walked in, we were surprised to see every table full. There’s only half a dozen tables and a bar in the space. Bird Dog doesn’t take reservations so if you’re really intent on a meal there during busy times, you might want to make sure you get there early.

We must have just been on the end of the lunch rush. A few minutes after we sat down at the bar, tables started clearing out. We were already seated and the bar seats aren’t all that bad so we just stayed where we were.

The only bar seats available when we walked in were right in front of the kitchen so we got lunch and a show. Even the kitchen is pretty tiny and it’s amazing how they can crank out such high quality food from such a small space.

We were still kind of celebrating J’s birthday. We went to Valhalla the night before but we hadn’t really gone out for a birthday dinner. We didn’t have the kids and we were at a place we wouldn’t take them so this because J’s birthday dinner.

Since we were celebrating still, we started with drinks. They have a number of cans and bottles of beers. I picked the Old Nation Boss Tweed. Old Nation makes a killer IPA and this DIPA is no exception.

J’s pick was the Winter Mule. Served in a copper mule glass, cocktail is vodka, pomegranate, and Ginger Beer. She took a liking to mule’s during the pandemic and orders them whenever she sees one on the menu.

J had actually eaten at Bird Dog before. It was the last time she went out for brunch with her girlfriends before the world shut down. I’m pretty sure schools had just been shut down for the first time in March of 2020. They had discussed not going because of the uncertainty of what exactly COVID was at that time but we didn’t really know anything about COVID at that time. They ended up going and that was the last time any of us ate out for over a year and a half.

The one thing J really remembered from that brunch was the Firecracker Cauliflower. She had to get it this time too.

The Firecracker Cauliflower is a large plate of fried cauliflower tossed in a spicy Buffalo-like sauce. It was just as good as she remembered. She actually said it could have been a little bit spicier but she still loved the flavor. I tried a piece but just couldn’t get past the cauliflower part. The flavor was good though…a little spicier and I may not have noticed I was eating cauliflower.

I had a hard time choosing a sandwich. There were several on the menu I wanted. I ultimately chose The Beast Burger. This thing is a mix of Bison, Elk, Waygu Beef, and Board topped with Aged Wisconsin Cheddar and a bacon jam. This burger was amazingly delicious. It was pretty salty but it was a good salty. The meat was just tender and rich. The burger patty was covered in melted cheese with just enough of the bacon jam to amp up the flavor but not overpower the meat. I upgraded my chips to fries and that was a choice well worth the extra buck. The fries were fresh cut and tossed with an amazing salt, pepper, and rosemary seasoning. I knew going in this was going to be a good meal but I was blown away just how good every single bite was.

J wanted a sandwich but there wasn’t a lot that she would eat. She contemplated the Little Jerry Goes to Nashville which is their take on a Nashville Hot chicken but she was afraid it would be too spicy.

She picked the Chicken Confit which still was a little worrisome for her because we didn’t really know how the chicken would be prepared. Neither one of us are foodie enough to know what “confit” really is.

The sandwich is served on a super soft yet somehow still crispy sub roll. The small chunks of chicken thigh come with gruyere cheese, a pistachio pesto, arugula, and mayo. The chicken had an amazing flavor to it. I was a little concerned when I saw it that it wouldn’t be something J liked but she ate a full half of the sandwich. She kept talking about how good the bread was. If she was hesitant with the chicken prep, she didn’t show it. She agreed with me the chicken itself had an amazing flavor to it.

The sandwiches all come with house made chips as a side and J stuck with those. They were really crispy, seasoned chips and there was a big pile on her plate. She did say she wished she had gotten the fries after seeing mine but that’s not a slight to the chips. They were delicious and if we didn’t know just how good the fries were, we’d be raving about the chips too.

We passed on dessert because we had another stop to make before heading to The Civic for the kids’ show.

Our bill for lunch, with two drinks, was right around $60.

Bird Dog is such a gem. This is the kind of place that would do well anywhere but the quaint building in Mattawan gives the restaurant such charm. The owners opened a companion restaurant in Plainwell not too long ago in the building that was London Grill about 10 years ago. That’s going be a little bit bigger space with their already amazing menu. We’ll get there eventually.

As for Bird Dog, find a time to drive over to Mattawan. You won’t be disappointed.

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