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Zoo City Beastro

September 22, 2022

  • 5222 Portage Road
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 888-2074
  • Website
  • Menu

We’ve been really lazy on weekends lately. We’ve spent a big part of our summer not doing anything on Saturday’s because L has wanted to go to open skate at Wings West. The Saturday night open skate is $8 for two hours and during the summer, there’s hardly anyone there.

Open skate is getting busier though so L won’t be able to practice the things she wants to practice with more people on the ice. We kind of let her have the last couple of weeks before hockey started then we need to take our weekends back.

Sitting around the house is really kind of demoralizing though. I try to motivate myself to get chores done but it only turns in to a couple of things then me sitting on the couch watching The Simpsons all day.

At some point in the day, over the objections of the kids, one of us usually declares “we need to get out of the house.” To do that, we force the kids to go out to eat. For some reason, they think that is a form of torture.

I picked the restaurant on this particular Saturday afternoon because there are several places that I want to try.

My pick this day was Zoo City Beastro in Portage.

Zoo City Beastro is on Portage Road and Fairfield Road just south of the I-94 Interchange. The building has been a restaurant for a while. It was last Lindbergh’s Landing and Fat Tony’s Grill and Sports Bar prior to that. Portage Road is a little (no, a lot) tore up right now but you can still get to the restaurant from Fairfield Road.

It was probably around 2:00 when we walked in for lunch. The restaurant was fairly empty with just a few people sitting at the bar and three or four tables of families in the dining room. The bartender told us to grab a table wherever we wanted and someone would be right over.

The decor hasn’t changed too much since Lindbergh’s Landing moved out. There is still a corrugated metal border running around the exposed ceiling. The bar has kept the sports bar feel with several TV’s above the bar itself and more TV’s throughout the dining area. The planes that were once hanging from the ceiling are obviously gone as that’s no longer part of the theme.

We sat in what I guess you can consider the bar dining area. We went to a pub table in the back of the space and a waitress followed closely behind.

J and I both started with drink while the kids both ordered Sprites

I kept it simple with a tall Two Hearted. I couldn’t really see the taps from the table and didn’t want to ask but I assume everyone in Kalamazoo has Two Hearted on tap.

J asked about ciders and it was recommended she try the Sierra Rose Watermelon Hard Cider. It was brought out with a chilled glass so she could pour it if she chose.

The menu isn’t huge but it has some recognizable things. The owners are related the family that owns the Village Hide-A-Way in Vicksburg so there’s restaurant experience at a place that has been a staple in that community.

J has brought me home burgers from the Hide-A-Way on more than a few occasions. She works in Vicksburg and the Hide-A-Way becomes an after work stop occasionally.

I stuck with a burger at Zoo City Beastro just because they had several that sounded delicious.

My pick was the Big Meat Burger. Like the name implies, there is a lot more than just a hamburger patty on this sandwich. In addition to the beef, there are layers of ham, roast beef, Swiss and American cheese. The sandwich is served on buttery, golden brown Texas Toast which gives it a unique feeling but the toast doesn’t hold up well to all the juice dripping off the burger. The hamburger kind of plays second fiddle to all the other meat piled on top of it. The sandwich is a lot but it’s a lot of deliciousness. Like all the sandwiches, the burger comes with fries. Nothing special fries but a good compliment to the burger.

J got a chicken strip basket thinking she would share some of it with B. The kids aren’t really great about eating in restaurants so we have been sticking to appetizers with them. We knew he wouldn’t eat the whole basket and J figured she wouldn’t either so she got one to split. The chicken tenders are frozen tenders served along the same fries that I got with my sandwich. Again, nothing special but pretty standard pub fare. Tasty and filling.

The kids have really taken a liking to soft pretzels. Zoo City Beastro has a pretzel on the menu they call a “Mega Pretzel.” The price is $14 so we were a little hesitant but both kids wanted it. We said they could get one to share with the hope it really was mega.

We were not disappointed. It was a mega pretzel. The large soft pretzel barely fit on the tray it was served on. It came with a large cup of beer cheese which neither kid touched but I used for my fries. The pretzel was so large we ended up taking about a quarter of it home. This is definitely a shareable pretzel and not something you’d want to order for just yourself.

L has also taken a liking to tater tots. There was a tot side option on the menu so we got her a side of those as well to go with the pretzel. Simple frozen tots but she ate almost the whole basket.

The bill for our meal was around $65 before tip which is becoming the norm for us eating out.

Zoo City Bestro had the unfortunate luck of closing on the building just a few days before the pandemic shut restaurants down in 2020. They worked through the pandemic to open and what they came up with is something similar to the Village Hide-A-Way but something that’s also it’s own thing. The neighborhood bar thing hasn’t really worked in this location which is on a very busy stretch of Portage Road but also backed up to a somewhat quiet, secluded neighborhood. Just because it hasn’t worked before doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. Zoo City Beastro has a solid menu in a great place to knock a few back after work or meet the guys for a few beers while watching a game.

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