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Taco John’s – Stevensville

August 8, 2016
  • 4107 Red Arrow Highway
  • Stevensville, MI 49127
  • (269) 605-6352
  • Website
  • Menu

There’s a Taco John’s in Michigan!  There’s a Taco John’s in Michigan!  I shouldn’t be that excited about a fast food taco chain, but holy cow am I ever.

I have a weird relationship with the “West-Mex” taco chain based in Wyoming.  My family always went to locations in the Kankakee, IL area when I was little for two reasons.  On Tuesday, they did Taco Tuesday where tacos were half price and they also did taco’s for A’s on report cards.  I didn’t get a lot of them, but enough to get a couple free tacos.

When I moved to Peoria, Taco John’s was there as well.  Heck, the location was right down the street from where I worked in Creve Coeur, IL.  They still had Taco Tuesday so for five years, that was my go-to on Tuesday’s that I didn’t bring my lunch.

A few months ago, I drove to Stevensville to meet a co-worker from Grand Rapids.  We were heading to a Chicago suburb and it was easier to meet than for me to go pick him up or him to come to Kalamazoo first.  As I got off the highway, I damn near hit the breaks.  There was a sign for Taco John’s at the exit.

Fast forward to this past weekend.  I was taking J and the kids to her parents house in the Chicago suburbs.  We wanted to hang around for the Big Latch-On in Bronson Park Saturday morning.  When that was over, we got on the road and started heading west.  J had said something about lunch and I asked if she could wait until Stevensville because I wanted tacos.

Taco John’s is a little ways off the highway…almost a mile… at exit 23.  It’s on the corner of Red Arrow Highway and Glenlord Road.  It shares the building with a BP gas station with the restaurant taking up a space in the south end of the building. Read more…

Salvino’s Ristorante – Plainwell

August 7, 2016
  • 1290 M-89
  • Plainwell, MI 49080
  • (269) 685-4800
  • Website
  • Menu

Trying to find something to eat on my way home is always a pain in the butt.  I leave Grand Rapids most nights a little after 11:00 and, on most days, I don’t get a typical dinner break.  I’m not the healthiest eating or thinnest person in the world, but I do try to avoid fast food.  I know a lot of restaurant food is just as bad for me, but if I’m going to eat bad, it might as well taste good.

I was really hungry as I was leaving Grand Rapids last Thursday (my Friday).  I decided to see if there was a restaurant that would still be open I could order something from.  I’ve been wanting to stop in Wayland at the Salvino’s that took the place of Uccello’s, so I looked them up.

Now, I thought I put in an order using the online ordering system to the Wayland Salvino’s, but when I got there, the take out area was closed.  I decided to check my email to make sure I had it right and sure enough, I screwed up.  I ordered at the Plainwell location.  Not a huge deal because it was still on my way home, but they were closing up the kitchen soon and not knowing how the restaurant was set up, I was worried about getting there by midnight to pick up my order.

Salvino’s Ristorante in Plainwell is one of two locations. It sits on the property that used to be Player’s Grill, but the building has undergone extensive renovations to the point it doesn’t even resemble the business that used to be there.   They’ve cleaned up the facade, added a large patio, and made some major improvements to what I remember as kind of a dark, cramped dining area and bar.   Read more…

Kalamazoo Pizza Company

July 29, 2016
  • 2120 South Sprinkle Road
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 978-7600
  • Website
  • Menu

I feel like I just wrote a blog entry on fast-fired pizza places and now, here I am, doing another.  I told you this was a fast growing segment of restaurants.

It also feels like it’s been a really long time since I wrote a Kalamazoo specific blog entry.  Sorry about that.  There hasn’t seemed to have been a lot of new restaurants opening lately.

Not a lot, but there is one that I’ve been somewhat excited about.  The people that own Camzie’s Pizza turned their little food cart in to a brick and mortar take out pizza business.  They still have the mobile oven for events, but a permanent location just opened up in Kalamazoo Township.

Kalamazoo Pizza Company totally redid and moved in to the small building on Sprinkle Road near Sweetwaters Donut Mill that used to be a Chicken Coop.  The building is now a drive up or walk up window only with a new tin exterior with a custom built oven hanging out the front.  There’s no seating or even an indoor area.  The walk up window on the north side of the building is covered, but it’s still “outside”. Typically, I would have used this option as I hate drive throughs, but there was a Pepsi truck unloading for the Sprinkle Mart next door blocking all the parking. Read more…

Dad’s Classic Grill

July 29, 2016
  • 3195 28th Street SE, FC103
  • Kentwood, MI 49512
  • (616) 285-1330
  • Website
  • Menu

The mall is typically the last place I would look for good food and to be honest, I cannot remember a time that I’ve actually taken a dinner break and went to the mall food court.  A couple of nights ago, I did just that.

I had been hearing about a burger place that opened in Woodland Mall for a while now.  It was hard for me to believe that this was serious chatter.  Mall food courts are usually filled with the same fast food chains..a pizza place, a couple Asian places, a Subway maybe.

I sort of ignored what I had been hearing until I saw the Top 10 for the Grandwich competition.  This mall food court restaurant actually had a spot in the top ten.  I decided it was time to stop ignoring the chatter and go see if I had judged this place wrong without ever seeing it.

Dad’s Classic Grill is part of the Cafes in the Woods food court inside the Woodland Mall in Kentwood.  I’m not really a mall shopper, but I have been to Woodland Mall on a few occasions to pick things up on my dinner break.  I had not been to the food court though and I was a little surprised when I walk in.  It isn’t quite the cavernous, bright, cheery mall food court you’re used to seeing.

The Cafes in the Woods have their own entrance next to JC Penny on the southeast side of the mall.  The food court is set up with one long row of restaurants along one side of the wide walkway and a seating area on the other side.  They try to give this more of an upscale mood with dark woods, dark lighting, and a space that doesn’t look like something from Mallrats or Life on a Stick (high five if you get that reference). Read more…

Rocket Pies

July 27, 2016
  • 435 Ionia Avenue SW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 965-1620
  • Website
  • Menu

Quick service, fresh made pizza has become all the rage lately.  It seems there’s a number of different places opening up with the same, simple concept.  Build a personal size, thin crust pizza in front of you and then fast fire it in a high temperature oven.

We have become big fans of Blaze Pizza in Oshtemo and love the idea.  Your not stuck with the typical one or two topping pizza on the same boring crust.  You can actually choose from a big list of ingredients and each person can get the pizza they want.

While Blaze is doing it’s thing as a chain, there are a number of local places popping up with the concept as well.  One of those places is Rocket Pies in the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.

Rocket Pies is owned by the same guy that owns Love’s Ice Cream which has been at the Market since the beginning.  Recently, he bought Relish Green Grocer, moved Love’s to a space near the front of the market, put Rocket Pies in where Relish used to be and condensed Relish down some to fill in the remaining space.  Throw in a few tables and there’s a nice little spot right as you walk in the door for dinner, ice cream, and fresh veggie shopping.   Read more…

Waffle House – North Canton, OH

July 26, 2016
  • 5424 Whipple Avenue NW
  • North Canton, OH 44720
  • (330) 497-1747
  • Website
  • Menu

I know there are a lot of people out there that if they could pick one national chain that we don’t have here to come here, would pick In-N-Out Burger.  I would be opposed to such a move, but that’s not the first chain I would pick.  Oh no.  The first chain I would pick would be a 24-hour diner famous in the south, but non-existent in our great state.

The last two out of state trips I’ve taken to work have worked out pretty well.  Both times, I had a hotel about an hour from the job site which, let’s be honest, kind of sucks.  It would have been nice to be in downtown Indianapolis or downtown Cleveland, but our lives were made easier by being outside of the city.  The benefit both times is what was across the street.  Both times….Waffle House.

The Waffle House in North Canton is on Whipple Avenue just around the corner from the I-77 exit for Everhard Road.  It’s right across the street from the Hyatt Place I was staying in and the 24-hour restaurant was a life saver one night.   Read more…

Table Six Kitchen + Bar

July 25, 2016
  • 6113 Whipple Avenue NW
  • North Canton, OH 44720
  • (330) 305-1666
  • Website
  • Menu

Last Sunday was a long day.  I had traveled to the Cleveland area with a co-worker and we were going to be there all week (not hard to figure out why).  We had to pick up some paperwork on Sunday when we got in to town, but of course, that got messed up so it took a lot longer than it should have.

We were going to be working in Cleveland for the week, but our hotel was actually pretty far south of the city in North Canton.   Unfortunately, there was no time for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Heck, there was barely time for dinner.

We got to our hotel just off of I-77 at the Everhard/Whipple Road exit.  It was a little after 7:00 by the time we got checked in and we had an early start in the morning.  Still, we hadn’t eaten all day and this was going to be the only night we’d be able to sit down for a good meal.

Obviously, neither of us were familiar with the area.  We were in somewhat of a shopping district and we passed stuff like Logan’s Roadhouse and Applebees back up an exit to the north.  C.W. had asked if anything like that sounded good.  Of course, I wanted to look a little harder and came up with something even better.

The restaurant I found is part of a local group of restaurants under the 91 Restaurant Group Banner. They have four restaurants in the area under three different names.  There are two 91 Wood Fired Oven locations, a restaurant called 3 Brothers Corner Tavern and then the one we picked to eat at Table Six Kitchen + Bar.

Table Six is in a little strip mall right on the outside of North Canton on Whipple Road south of Dressler Road.  I was a little hesitant bringing this particular co-worker to this place because I knew he wanted steak.  He’s the kind of guy that looks for a steakhouse and not an eclectic menu with a good craft beer list.

Read more…

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