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South Haven Brewpub

March 1, 2021
  • 515 Williams Street
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 767-7105
  • Website
  • Menu

I know a lot of families have really been impacted with sports cancellations due to this pandemic but we’re fortunate enough our kids aren’t really in to sports yet. They both played a shortened soccer season last fall but other than that, they haven’t missed out on much.

The one thing my daughter has really missed is ice skating. She was progressing through the levels with Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association last spring when ice skating was abruptly halted. We were finally back to a point we felt comfortable with group lessons and we signed her up.

We were all ready to go and realized her skates from last year don’t fit. She and I ran to Grand Rapids to buy a used pair from Play-It-Again Sports but realized the first week we bought a size too big. That’s fine. She’ll have them for next year.

We ordered her a new pair in what we thought was the right size but really wanted to test them out before she wore them for almost two hours of lessons. Problem though…there’s no place doing open skates.

This was all happening the weekend is was super, super cold….like air temperatures in the single digits, wind chills well below negative. The only place we could get on the ice for a few minutes was the rink in downtown South Haven. It’s an outdoor rink so we knew we wouldn’t be there long but we just needed to test out the fit and comfort.

Along the same lines, we haven’t eaten at a restaurant in almost a year as a family. I ate inside a restaurant once when I was in Florida on a work trip and J has met some friends on a patio a few times. We decided to look for some igloos in the South Haven area and that’s how we’ll ease ourselves back in to public dining.

We picked South Haven Brewpub as our first family meal out in almost a year. The restaurant is on Williams Street but you won’t see it as you drive by. It’s part of the Old Harbor Village right along the Black River Channel.

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Poncho’s Tacos

February 18, 2021
  • 1874 28th Street SW
  • Wyoming, MI 49519
  • (616) 805-3747
  • Website
  • Menu

I have been getting amazingly delicious tacos in Grand Rapids for several years.  My usual go-to places are Taqueria San Jose and any of the many locations of Tacos El Cundao  

You should know me by now though.  I always like finding someplace new.  

I drove down 28th Street a few weeks ago while I was in Grand Rapids and noticed a new taco place. I didn’t have time that night but I knew I’d be back in the Grand Rapids office fairly soon and kept this place on my radar.

I had a Saturday evening shift in Grand Rapids this past weekend. Those shifts are usually a little more laid back and I have a little more time to explore. This was the perfect time to go find that taco place.

Poncho’s Tacos is on the corner of 28th Street and Taft Avenue in Wyoming. The business opened on Black Friday taking after gutting a remodeling a space that used to be a Vape shop in a small multi-business building that has a couple accounting offices and a law firm.

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The Den Deli & Cafe

February 17, 2021
  • 388 W. Van Buren Street
  • Gobles, MI 49055
  • (269) 628-9081
  • Website
  • Menu

Back in Michigan after eight days in Florda and boy was the weather up here quite a shock. I mean, it was cold in Florida by Florida standards but man, it was cold when I got back home.

I got a couple of days off when I got back but then it was right back to work.

One of my first night’s back, I met a co-worker in Gobles for an assignment. I was working a night shift and what we had to do didn’t take very long. Once we wrapped up our task, I was off to dinner before heading back to Kalamazoo.

There are a couple of places in Gobles to choose from but I went to the one I assumed would be the quickest and easiest. I didn’t have time to sit down and eat anywhere and sandwich shops are always a good choice.

I picked a place called The Den Deli & Cafe. The small market and deli sits on the corner of South State Street (M-40) and West Van Buren Street. It’s the main intersection on the north end of downtown so it’s hard to miss. The building has been some kind of grocery store or deli with the last thing I can find being in the building a place known simply as Gobles Grocery.

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Bubba’s 33 (Wesley Chapel)

February 17, 2021
  • 26340 Silver Maple Parkway
  • Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
  • (813) 522-5090
  • Website
  • Menu

One more full day in Tampa. This will be the last of the blogs from my Florida trip so if you tuned out, you can tune back in now.

It has been almost a year since J and I last ate in a restaurant. Looking back over my blog posts, our stop at Reed City Brewing on March 22, 2020 was the last time I blogged about dining in somewhere. I was a few weeks behind on actually blogging because this stop was on the way home from a trip to Traverse City. I believe our last time in a restaurant was actually March 8, 2020.

My co-worker and I were pretty much on the same page on this trip. We didn’t want to be anywhere there were large groups and throngs on maskless people.

We did carry-out all week. We’d pick things up on our way to job sites and eat in the car or once we got to our workspaces. By the tend of the week, Co-Worker was getting tired of cold fries and asked if we could find a place that wouldn’t be packed to sit down and have a hot meal.

The hotel we were staying at was in Wesley Chapel…about 25 minutes north of Tampa. There were a lot of chain restaurants in the area and I assumed these would be our safest bet.

I picked a chain casual dining place just across the road from our hotel. I had never heard of it but some research showed it was operated by a familiar name.

Bubba’s 33 is Texas Roadhouses take on sports bar. The restaurant is meant to compete with the likes of Buffalo Wild Wings and Hooters. The spin-off restaurant was launched in 2013 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. There are a couple locations in Michigan…both in the Detroit area in Taylor and Macomb.

The Bubba’s 33 in Wesley Chapel is right next to a Texas Roadhouse. The address is Silver Maple Parkway but the business actually sits on Golden Maple Road…and the first time you see it, you’re driving on State Road 56. If you’re coming from I-75, you have to go past the building quite a ways to the next stop light then double back.

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Westshore Pizza (Lambright)

February 16, 2021
  • 3742 W. Lambright Street
  • Tampa, FL 33614
  • (813) 872-0038
  • Website
  • Menu

Our trip was coming to end. We had just a couple more days in Tampa and finding someplace to eat was getting exhausting. I’m not one to give up and just start hitting drive-thrus so I told my co-worker I had a few more tricks up my sleeve.

We were in Tampa the week leading up to Super Bowl LV….and our remote workspace was pretty close to Raymond James Stadium. I knew Saturday night before the game was going to be difficult to get around so I suggested we grab a pizza on our way to the jobsite and get enough that we could make both lunch and dinner out of it.

The night before, our colleagues in town from Indianapolis took their evening break and went to a pizzeria not too far from the job site. They just did slices but came back and kind of raved about it. That was a good enough endorsement for me.

We picked Westshore Pizzeria on Lambright Street just east of Dale Mabry Highway in the unincorporated area of Egypt Lake-Leto. The stand alone pizza place sits off the road in a commercialized area near a busy intersection.

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Waffle House (Wesley Chapel)

February 15, 2021
  • 5421 Village Market 
  • Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
  • (813) 973-2801
  • Website
  • Menu

I don’t go to the south without going to Waffle House. It’s like a rule or something.

We did a couple of Waffle House trips late at night last year on our trip to Miami but this year was different. COVID kept us out of the restaurants for the most part and Waffle House’s aren’t very big to begin with.

While we were working a lot in downtown Tampa, our hotel was actually about a half hour north of the city in Wesley Chapel. It would be closer to 1:30 by the time we got back to the hotel every night and even then, there were nights I still had some work that needed to be done before we got back at it the next morning.

Friday night was finally the night I didn’t have much to do when we got back. I was kind of hungry and didn’t want to leave without getting my Waffle House fix.

The Waffle House closest to our hotel was the one in the Village Market Shopping center right off I-75 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard. This is a pretty commercialized area of town with several chain and not chain restaurants and some big box store shopping. The Waffle House sits near the front of the parking lot and is easy to see from the road before you turn at the light to get into the plaza.

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Wing House (Tampa Stadium)

February 15, 2021
  • 3712 Columbus Drive
  • Tampa, FL 33607
  • (813) 575-8734
  • Website
  • Menu

Spending eight days away from home, in a hotel, working 14+ hour days can take a toll. By our sixth day in Tampa, we were looking forward to the flight home and a return to not figuring out what our one meal for the day was going to be.  

We had two work sites while we were in Tampa.  We had office space downtown near the Hillsborough River and we had a remote work site not too far from Raymond James Stadium where the Buccaneers play.  We spent our mornings in the office and the evenings at the remote.  

Our break was around 3:00 when we were moving from one worksite to the next.  A lot of days, we grabbed something on the way.  Dale Mabry Highway has a lot of chains and it was quick and easy to grab something on the way to the remote worksite.  

Early in the week I noticed a Wing Place not too far off our route from one site to the next.  I put off ordering there until Friday for some reason.  When Co-Worker got done with his morning assignments, I asked if today was a good day for wings.  He said yes, I put in an order, and we headed to the second part of our day on site.  

Wing House is a chain of 22 wing restaurants in Florida.  The one we stopped at is the one near Raymond James Stadium on Columbus Drive between Himes Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway in the Northeast Macfarlane Park neighborhood of Tampa.  The restaurant is a two story sports bar that looks out over Columbus Drive.  You can see Raymond James Stadium in the distance and the New York Yankees training complex directly across the street.  

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Cigar City Brewing (Spruce Street)

February 13, 2021
  • 3924 W. Spruce Street
  • Tampa, FL 33607
  • (813) 348-6363
  • Website
  • Menu

When I found out I was going to be traveling to Tampa for work, my eyes kind of lit up. There was one place I absolutely had to make time to stop at. A place I’ve sent my sister-in-law several times on her work trips to Florida. A place with really yummy beer.

I had some errands to run while my co-worker was working on something else. We had been in Tampa five days at that point and I had tried to order from Cigar City Brewing twice. I was using the UberEats app for a pick up and both times, it timed out then said the business wasn’t available. I decided to give it one more try on Thursday but even if it didn’t work, I would call in an order. I was running out of time in Tampa to get tasty beer.

To my delight, the app worked on the third day. I put in an order, ran my errands, then headed out to Carver City-Lincoln Gardens neighborhood in West Tampa to pick up lunch for the both of us.

Cigar City Brewing is on West Spruce Street not too far off Dale Mabry Highway. It’s in a really commercialized area and sits behind a Home Depot. There are dozens of chain restaurants in the area just down the street from Raymond James Stadium and George M Steinbrenner Field. The building on Spuce Street is just one of Cigar City’s operations. They also have a taproom at the airport and a taproom downtown. The Spruce Street building is their main center of operation with the public taproom and the brewery operations.

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Wawa (Wellswood)

February 12, 2021
  • 1760 W. Hillsborough Avenue
  • Tampa, FL 33603
  • (813) 873-3649
  • Website
  • Menu

Finding something to eat late at night seems to be getting harder. Even the chain casual dining places are closing by 1 AM which made finding something to eat after our shift during the week in Tampa really hard.

I’ve never had a problem with gas station food. I get chicken from the Shell station in downtown Kalamazoo at least once a week and I love the pizza from the Speedy Cafe’s.

We kind of slummed dinner on Wednesday night and had Subway. We didn’t have a lot of time and that was something quick and easy. It’s not really filling though and by the time we started heading back to the hotel at 1 AM, I was hungry and needed something to eat before I went to bed.

I stopped at a Wawa on Tuesday night to grab some drinks for the morning. I had heard of Wawa but had never actually been in one. I wasn’t hungry Tuesday night so I got my drinks and that was it but I noticed they had a food option similar in style to Speedway’s Speedy Cafe. We had to pass that Wawa again on Wednesday night so I stopped again but this time added some food to my drink purchase.

We stopped at the Wawa on West Hillsborough Street near Mendenhall Drive in the Wellswood area of Tampa. The gas station/convenience store is really large and is a really popular stop even after midnight.

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Butcher N’ Barbeque

February 12, 2021
  • 1910 N. Ola Avenue
  • Tampa, FL 33602
  • (813) 693-5473
  • Website
  • Menu

Surprise! I was hungry for BBQ.

Our second full day in Tampa wasn’t quite as long as the first. We still worked over 14 hours but got to sleep in a little bit. By doing so, we missed the free breakfast at the hotel so both of us were pretty hungry when lunch time rolled around.

Co-worker had a few more responsibilities on this trip than I did so while he was doing his thing, I was looking up BBQ places for lunch. I didn’t ask him if he wanted BBQ. I just assumed everyone likes BBQ.

I picked Butcher N’ Barbeque on North Ola Avenue in the Ridgewood Park area of Tampa north of downtown along the Hillsborough River. The restaurant is part of the Heights Public Market which is described as “A food lovers dream.”

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