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Grand Traverse Distilling Kalamazoo Tasting Room

December 20, 2018
  • 224 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 254-8113
  • Website
  • Menu

A few weeks ago, J and I ended up at The Wine Loft after a show at Miller Auditorium.  We headed downtown to have a few drinks since we had a babysitter for the night.  Our intended destination was a new tasting room for a popular Northern Michigan distillery, but they close at 10:00.

We had another opportunity this past weekend when Frankie Ballard was in town for a show at the State Theatre.  We dropped the kids off with J’s parents then went to dinner at University Roadhouse.  We still had time before the 8:00 show so I once again suggested drinks.

We parked about halfway between the State Theatre and Grand Traverse Distilling’s new Tasting Room in Kalamazoo.  The distillery took over a store front on East Michigan Avenue in a space that has sat empty since not long after the smoking ban took effect and pushed Winston’s out. Read more…

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University Roadhouse

December 18, 2018
  • 1332 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49006
  • (269) 345-7990
  • Website
  • Menu

Having grandparents close is something new to J and I.  We moved to Michigan 10 years ago from Central Illinois.  We both grew up in north eastern Illinois.  She grew up in a Chicago suburb.  I grew up about 60 miles south of Chicago in a small farming community.  For the first ten  years, our families still lived in the communities we grew up in.

J’s parents began looking at lake houses last fall.  Her dad had retired and there wasn’t much keeping them in Chicago.  They had always planned to move away from the city after retirement but it was Wisconsin that was always their intended target.

When it came time to pull the trigger, they wanted to get closer to the grand kids.  That was a big relief to us.  For the first time, we’d have family nearby (and really, who would rather move to Wisconsin over Michigan?)

We’ve been able to take advantage of Nana and Grandpa nearby a few times already and it worked out perfectly when we needed a babysitter this past weekend for the Frankie Ballard concert.  My mom had offered to come up again, but J’s parents didn’t have plans and offered to take the kids overnight at their house.

We had the whole evening to ourselves and we expected to take advantage of it.  Dinner, drinks, and a concert.

We kicked around a few places to eat.  The only places downtown we really haven’t eaten at didn’t have much to appeal to J.  We discussed a few of our favorites downtown as well but ultimately, went for something we haven’t done in a while.

University Roadhouse was one of the first restaurants we ate at after moving to Kalamazoo in 2009.  We’ve eaten there a few times over the years, but it has been at least a couple since the last time I can remember being there.

J met some friends at University Roadhouse a few months ago and didn’t recognize the place.  She came home and said we needed to go back.  The idea came up when discussing dinner plans on Saturday so that’s what we decided to do.

University Roadhouse is one of the Houz Restaurant Groups restaurants.  They’re the same group that owns the Main Street Pubs, Fletcher’s Pub, and The Old Goat Tavern.  The Roadhouse has been a staple situated between Waldo Stadium and Western Michigan’s University’s campus on Michigan Avenue for almost 30 years.

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Factory Coffee

December 18, 2018
  • 213 E. Frank Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 567-1000
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m not a morning person.  I get up about a half hour before I need to get the kids off to school and my breakfast is usually a Pepsi and leftover pizza if we have some in the fridge.  I like breakfast food.  I like cooking breakfast food.  I just don’t like getting up early enough to do so.

I walked out of the house really hungry on Friday.  I was going to just hit the gas station on my way to work and grab a Pepsi and a Hostess, but I really wanted more than that.

As I’ve already mentioned, my morning caffeine is a bottle of Pepsi, not coffee like most people so I don’t spend a lot of time in coffee shops.  I noticed a few weeks ago that a new(ish) coffee shop popped up on Grubhub.  I clicked on it and noticed a few breakfast items on the menu.

Factory Coffee is on Frank Street on Kalamazoo’s north side.  It’s in a business incubator known as the Reality Factory.  A ceramics company and the owner’s moped business also have space in the building that was built in the 1930’s.  It’s pretty much always been a factory of some kind and still kind of is with the moped business.

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Grand River Brewery (Marshall)

December 11, 2018
  • 101 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Marshall, MI 49068
  • (269) 727-9311
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s usually me who is pressuring J in to going out to eat at a new place someone has told me about but this past weekend, she turned the tables on me.

We were planning our day on Sunday when J kept saying she wanted to go to Marshall.  One of her colleagues has been raving about a brewery there and, well, she had me at brewery.

Grand River Brewery in Marshall is the second location for the Jackson based brewing company.  The Marshall location is right in downtown on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Jefferson Street in the 150 year old Cronin Building.  If that names sounds familiar, you know you’re Marshall history.  The Cronin Mansion is the inspiration for the book The House with a Clock in it’s Walls which became a movie starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett.  This building downtown was used for many things over the years.  It’s original purpose was a dry goods store, but it’s been an antique store and a couple of restaurants over the yearsRead more…

The Robin’s Nest Family Restaurant

December 10, 2018
  • 28640 M-40
  • Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • (269) 628-2164
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s time to get a Christmas tree!  It’s time to get a Christmas tree!  I get so excited every year because this was not something my family did growing up.  My parents were artificial tree people so when J and I got our first tree nine years ago, it was a super big deal for me.

We’ve never really started a family tradition of picking one out and cutting it down.  We always went to places that had pre-cut.  The first year was Badger County and their place on Sprinkle Road in Portage.  We then did a few years at Mott’s before they closed down.  The last three years we’ve gone to Gull Meadow Farms but they stopped offering pre-cut trees this year so we had to find a new place.

The kids are old enough now I thought they would enjoy cutting one down.  We decided to go to Wahmoff Farms just outside of Gobles.

We got up Saturday morning with the intentions of doing all the Christmas stuff.  Getting a tree, decorating it, decorating the outside…..but first, breakfast.

I knew we were going to pass The Robin’s Nest on M-40 just north of the M-40 and M-43 intersection.  There has been a restaurant in this location since the 1960’s when The Country Drive-In opened up.   The building also played home to The Shagnasti and The Village Inn South before becoming The Robin’s Nest in the summer of 2013.

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Gibby’s Bar & Grill

December 7, 2018
  • 139 W. Main Street
  • Mendon, MI 49072
  • (269) 496-4835
  • Website
  • Menu

I worked late on Friday night so Jessica and the kids went to stay at her parents house somewhere between Sturgis and Mendon.  I was going to join them when I got off but I figured I would take advantage of having a quiet house to myself.

Saturday morning J was just going to come home but we started texting each other around 11:00 and decided to just let the kids stay at Nana and Grandpa’s.  J gave me the option to continue enjoying the empty quiet house or joining them.  I decided to join them.

Around 4:00 we started talking about going home.  I hadn’t eaten all day and was starting to get hungry.  I asked J’s parents if they wanted to join us for dinner.  I figured I could find something close by on the way home but they didn’t want to leave.  I was still able to talk J into stopping even though we knew we were taking a chance with two overtired kids.

We’ve learned the “back way” to get to my in-laws house so the only towns we go through are Schoolcraft and Mendon.  We could always go the suggested route and hit Centreville and Three Rivers too if we’re looking for something to eat and Sturgis isn’t that far out of the way either.  Knowing we had sleepy kids (yes, it was only 5:00 but did you get much sleep when you stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s?) the most direct route was best.

We chose to stop at Gibby’s Bar & Grill in Mendon.  The restaurant is on West Main Street (also known as M-60) near Nottawa Road.  The building is pretty typical small town bar.  The brick building is connected to several others along the busy road which serves as Mendon’s downtown.  .  The bar was named after former MSU and Detroit Lions star Kirk Gibson…which I can only assume why wood paneling on the building is painted green.

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Maple Grove Grill & Bar

December 6, 2018
  • 72040 M-43
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 637-9913
  • Website
  • Menu

I told you it was South Haven week on this blog.  Co-worker and I spent the whole day in Van Buren County.  He drover separately because he was heading towards Kent County after work and we knew we’d be there all day.

J knew that I was going to be home late so she and the kids went to her parents house for the night.  They picked up pizza along the way so they had dinner taken care of.

Friday night is usually pizza night but I was in South Haven by myself so I decided to take advantage of that.  There are still a few pubs I haven’t been to in the area and it was time to check one of those off the list.

Maple Grove Grill & Bar is right on the roundabout at the corner of M-43, 12th Avenue, and 72nd just a few miles south east of South Haven proper.  The building dates back to the 1930’s.  It’s been many things over the years but some sort of restaurant has always had a place in the little corner building.

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