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Alright, so here’s my deal.  I’m not a food critic.  I’m not a chef.  I’m not a foodie.  I like to eat.  I like burgers.  I like fries.  I like pizza.  I love good BBQ.

I started writing about my food experiences several years ago when I lived in Peoria, IL.  I was posting reviews on the website (my posts are under the name Ryan Johnson….there’s a lot of them). 

In March of 2008, my girlfriend (now wife) got a job in Lansing.  I went with her hoping to find a job.  We all know how easy that is in Michigan.  I’ve gotten by as a freelancer and we’ve enjoyed spending our spare time traveling the state and finding the best Michigan has to offer as far as dive bars, pizza joints, and greasy spoons. 

I chronicled our travels on a a blog.  Mid-Michigan Dining.  It went over pretty well in Lansing and I had a pretty good group of followers and commentors.

In September of 2009, my wife was transferred to Kalamazoo from Lansing.  Since I’m still freelancing, we jumped at the opportunity to advance her career.  We picked up and moved to the south side of Kalamazoo. 

There’s two benefits to the move.  1.)  J (my wife) and I are from the Chicago area (which you will read all about in reviews from that area) which puts us closer to home.  2.)  We get a whole new area to explore and blog about. 

As you’ll see, there’s no rhyme or reason to the places we choose.  Sometimes it’s as simple as driving by a place and saying “hey, that looks cool.”  Sometimes months of research goes into finding the perfect dining spot.

You’ll notice I’ll talk a lot about burgers.  There will be a lot of pizza comparisons.  And, most importantly, a lot of complaining about how hard it is to find good BBQ (at least that was the case in Mid-Michigan).

We’re always open to suggestions.  There is no advertising on this site.  I’m not selling good reviews.  We just enjoy the dining out experience.  I’m a fairly good cook, so it’s not like we’d starve if we didn’t eat out.  We just enjoy the experience. 

If you have any questions, ask.  I reply to most comments.  If you have suggestions, please share.  If you don’t agree, say so.  I’ve been called many names for not liking the Red Coat Tavern in Royal Oak, so I’m pretty much immune to any derogatory statement you can throw at me. 

I like to think this blog is a hub for discussion on food in the region.   Most reviews will be from the Kalamazoo/Portage because that’s where we live, but we do enjoy weekend road trips just to find a restaurant.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. Cindy McKanic permalink
    May 28, 2010 11:35 am

    Good morning: I’m from Kilwin’s Corporate (we loved the South Haven blog naturally) and was wondering how to get in touch with you?

  2. Dalee Camp permalink
    July 29, 2010 11:26 am

    I happened upon your blog this morning as I was searching the web to see if The Corner Bar still had all you can eat Ribs on Tuesdays. Having grown up in Kalamazoo I’m really enjoying going through your reviews of the local restaurants. Many I’ve been to and I’m finding your reviews both fair and informative. There’s a few that I haven’t had the chance to go to but am adding them to my to-eat list. I’m most excited about La Mexicana, I’ve been to La Azteca bakery but had no idea that they had a small restaurant and ice-cream parlor. I just wanted to say thank you for putting this blog together, I will be forwarding it to both my local friends and out of town family members to reference where they might like to eat when in town.

  3. kelly H permalink
    November 12, 2010 11:07 am

    It sounds like you may now be working in the GR area or at least open to reviewing restaurants in that area….a couple places I would suggest…

    Cambridge House on Monroe
    Michigan Grand Coney on Michigan

    I love that you focus on normal food, not high end specialty types where you only get a bite of this and a bite of that!!

  4. Matt permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:59 pm

    Stumbled upon your blog looking up info on the Red Coat Tavern. I think it’s kind of funny that you got slammed for that one. I’ve only been there once, and the mac ‘n’ cheese was amazing (not so much after we took some home, but at the table it was one of the best I’ve had). Anyway, I hope people cut you some slack. I mean, one visit hardly makes a person’s opinion authoritative. So many factors could influence an experience, and the Red Coat is certainly… average, though I though the burger was better than most sit-down restaurants’.

    I’d love to know more about the kind of freelancing you did. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to network a bit.

  5. October 12, 2011 12:50 pm

    Please contact Dave at Dine Michigan

  6. January 10, 2012 1:25 pm

    Hey guys, great site!. I love what you are doing and also am soo honored to have my name in the blogroll. I recently updated to an official website so the link on your blogroll is no longer in existance. My website is so please check it out and I would love some input. Hope to see ya around!!

  7. Glenna permalink
    October 31, 2014 4:25 pm

    I don’t blame you, I don’t like The Red Coat Tavern either!

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      November 7, 2014 4:49 pm

      People get really angry when I say that. I don’t get why

  8. December 11, 2015 12:35 pm

    Hi –
    I’m working with a start-up for food bloggers in Michigan called Tabelog ( They’re a subsidiary of the largest company in Japan (similar to Yelp here in the US).
    We’re bringing their annual restaurant awards to the US that are judged solely by a panel of local food bloggers (all online). The winning restaurants get a framed 2015 award and the food bloggers get an ‘official judge’ icons/etc. and related PR for their blog. We’re looking for bloggers from the Michigan area to invite as an official judge. Is this something that you would be interested in?
    Thanks in advance!

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