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Olvera’s BBQ

November 18, 2022
  • 6800 Eastman Avenue
  • Midland, MI 48642
  • (989) 296-0678
  • Website
  • Menu

The best laid plans, amirite?

We were in Midland for a figure skating competition a few weeks ago. It was the last individual competition of the year and almost all of L’s coach’s skaters made the trip over for this event. To celebrate a successful season, L’s coach wanted to go out for dinner with everyone after the competition.

J actually took the helm at finding a place for a large group. She called a few places and no one was willing to reserve space for 25 on a Saturday night…except for Old Chicago.

Our group started to arrive at Old Chicago at about 4:30…right when we told them they would be there…only to find they had given away our reservation to another group because they thought the other group was us.

We were kind of screwed. J called a few places but they all said it would be about an hour wait. It had been a long day at the ice rink and we still had a two and a half hour drive home so we didn’t want to wait.

One of the parents noticed the Midland Mall across the street. Mall’s still have food courts…right? They went over to see what the options were and since there were actually four or five options to choose from and plenty of seating, we chose to eat dinner in the mall food court like it was 1992.

The best thing about picking a mall food court is the options. Some in our group are vegetarians. Some are gluten free. Others, like me, are much more carnivorous.

I went off by myself and found the BBQ joint.

Olvera’s BBQ is one of several food options at the Midland Mall food court. The mall itself is on Eastman Drive near the interchange with Highway 10 on the north side of Midland. The food court entrance can be found from the outside if you take a right from the main entrance on to Mall Drive. The word “Menu” hangs above the entrance making it easier to find.

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Molasses Smokehouse and Bar

November 16, 2022
  • 201 E. Main Street
  • Midland, MI 48640
  • (989) 486-9730
  • Website
  • Menu

I have gotten a lot of window time lately. I spent another day driving but this time it wasn’t for work. It was for my daughter.

L had her last individual figure skating competition of the season a couple of weeks ago in Midland. It has been a really, really long time since either J or I had been to Midland and we forgot just how far away it is.

L’s first event wasn’t until 12:30 so we decided to get up in the morning and drive instead of getting a hotel room on Friday night. I wanted to pick up an overtime shift Friday anyway so this worked out best.

We got to Midland about 10:15. We got L checked in, found her coach, and set her up in a locker room so she could start getting dressed. There was no use for me at this time. L and J get in to a locker room and start getting her ready so I’m really there just to make a Walgreens run if they forgot something.

We had stopped at Starbucks back in Kalamazoo to get coffee and grab some breakfast sandwiches but I was already getting hungry by 11:00. We were planning a team dinner after the competition so I knew I wasn’t going to get to explore the way I typically like to. I asked J if it was OK if I ran to get something to eat before L’s first event.

I headed to downtown Midland to findn Molasses Smokehouse and Bar on Main Street near McDonald. The Kansas City style smokehouse opened in 2019 in a building that sat empty for several years after a coffee house moved out.

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Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’

November 16, 2022
  • 2114 S. Cleveland Avenue
  • St. Joseph, MI 49082
  • (269) 281-0686
  • Website
  • Menu

I told you. I’ve been on the road a lot lately.

I work double shifts on Friday’s in the fall and I travel a little on those shifts. A couple weeks ago, my shift took me to St. Joseph. I had a lot of time between my usual daytime shift and the task that awaited me that evening. That means, I find something local to eat.

I was actually looking at a Mexican restaurant kind of on the southwest side of St. Joseph to grab something to eat but when I started looking at the map, another place caught my eye…and that place was BBQ.

Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’ is an interesting little BBQ joint in St. Joseph Township. The building use to be a coffee drive through on Cleveland Street near the intersection with Hilltop Road. There is a little hut that is drive up only. You enter a driveway from the southside and pull up to the window to order then exit on the north side of the property.

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Fratelli’s Pizza

November 14, 2022
  • 435 Bridge Street NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • (616) 454-9370
  • Website
  • Menu

I worked a lot the last week in October. I had two trips to Detroit including a 16 hour day on Saturday then I volunteered for a Sunday shift in Grand Rapids. This one was kind of strategic. I bartered for Halloween off. I typically work nights on Monday and since Halloween was on a Monday, I wanted the day off to so I could go Trick-or-Treating with my kids.

Weekends in Grand Rapids aren’t always stressful. A lot of times, they’re pretty laid back. I got lucky with a pretty laid back shift. We got our tasks down around 6:30 so we both had time to go somewhere for dinner.

Co-Worker wanted Chipotle and I wanted pizza. We went back to the office drop some stuff off then went our separate ways for dinner.

I had been looking for pizza places I hadn’t been to when I found one I should have went to a long time ago but never have.

Fratelli’s Pizza is on Bridge Street in Grand Rapids just to the west of US-131. It’s across the street from the huge New Holland Brewing building on the corner of Bridge and Broadway. The building is a standalone brick building that sits next to a larger commercial building that has undergone a lot of change over the years.

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Primanti Bros Restaurant & Bar (Novi)

November 14, 2022
  • 43335 Crescent Boulevard
  • Novi, MI 48735
  • (248) 344-4852
  • Website
  • Menu

Like I’ve said recently, I’ve spent a lot of time on the road.

I picked up a Saturday shift a couple of weeks ago that brought me to Detroit. I met a colleague from Grand Rapids which means I didn’t have to go pick him up. I could take my time, grab food where I wanted, and go home via I-94 without having to detour to drop him off.

It was a long day in Detroit. I got to town around 6:45 AM and was packing up to head home around 6:30 PM.

My day actually ended in Southfield. We finished up what we needed to do then he headed to Grand Rapids while I headed back to Kalamazoo.

I hadn’t eaten since a truck stop burrito at around 5:00 AM. I got on the Googles to see if I was close to a Primanti Bros. I was so I put in an order and started the trek home.

There are two Primanti Bros restaurants in the Metro Detroit area. One in Novi and one in Taylor. I was closer to the Novi one and it was too far out of the way so that’s the one I ordered from.

Primanti Bros in Novi is in the Novi Town Center not too far off I-96. The restaurant is on Crescent Boulevard just to the south of the I-96 interchange with Novi Road. This a really, really commercial area of Novi so it’s not hard to find chain restaurants all around it.

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Brooklyn Bodega Bagels and Deli

November 14, 2022
  • 10 Jefferson Avenue SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 724-4275
  • Website
  • Menu

It seems like every industry is dealing with staff shortages right now. Mine company included.

Because of that, I’m spending more time in Grand Rapids. I still do the majority of my shifts in Kalamazoo but every so often, I’ll need to pick up a shift in the Grand Rapids office due to staff shortages.

I was up there a few weeks ago on a day shift. My workload was fairly light. My co-worker and I completed our task pretty early in the day then headed back to the office to finish the paperwork. I had a fairly big gap for lunch and I drove by a spot not too far from the office that looked to be right up my alley.

Brooklyn Bodega is a small, carryout only restaurant on Jefferson Avenue just south of Fulton on the edge of downtown. The restaurants is part of a small commercial building with five storefronts. The last time I was in this particular building was 2014 when it was Cvlt Pizza.

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Joe’s Pizza NYC (Ann Arbor)

November 10, 2022
  • 1107 South University Avenue, Suite B
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 213-5625
  • Website
  • Menu 

I was so excited when we first moved to Kalamazoo because it was a college town. College towns usually have open late pizza by the slice places.

Imagine my disappointment when Kalamazoo didn’t have one of those.

There was a place that tried for a while. Hot Slice opened on Michigan Avenue where DP Dough is now but didn’t survive. It took way too long. It would take 20 minutes just to get a slice of pizza. If I wanted to wait, I would have ordered a full one from somewhere.

I had a late work assignment in Oakland County a few weeks ago. I had picked up a sandwich at DiBella’s in Auburn Hills but I was hungry again by the time I was coming home around 11:00 PM.

I knew of at least one pizza by the slice place in Ann Arbor so I headed there. When I looked up the address, I actually found a second place I had never been to so I went that route instead.

Joe’s Pizza NYC is the quintessential late night college town pizza joint. The small restaurant is at the intersection of South University Avenue and East University Avenue. The building is right on the edge of the University of Michigan campus. The space was a bookstore a few years ago but it was gutted and rebuilt to house a bank, a pizza restaurant, and a gym.

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DiBella’s Subs (Auburn Hills)

November 7, 2022
  • 3395 University Drive
  • Auburn Hills, MI 48326
  • (248) 377-1100
  • Website
  • Menu

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Detroit area for work recently. It’s that time of year when I just get a lot of assignments on the road. It will be slowing back down pretty soon….hopefully.

I was in Eastern Oakland County a few weeks ago for a shift where I was meeting a co-worker near Oakland University. I got over there early…like I typically do…so I could find something to eat.

I was hoping there would be a lot local quick food kind of places since I was near the University but that wasn’t really the case…at least what I could tell by doing a quick Google search.

I did find a sandwich place near the entrance to the University. It’s a chain but not one we have on this side of the state and I knew it would be quick.

DiBella’s Subs is an east coast sub shop that’s been around for decades. The sub shop stayed pretty small for most of their history with locations in and around Rochester, NY and eventually Buffalo. They started expanding end of the 2000’s. They operate 44 shops in five states with Michigan being as far east as they’ve gone.

The Auburn Hills location is one of five Michigan locations. The shop is on the corner of University Drive and Squirrel Road right across the street from the entrance to Oakland University. The shop is in a shopping plaza with several other chain restaurants. DiBella’s is in the building closest to the University Drive entrance.

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Big Shawn’s Cheesesteaks

November 3, 2022
  • 4317 Kalamazoo Avenue SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49508
  • (616) 608-7498
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m not sure what day it is right now or which city I’m working in. It’s been a helluva couple of weeks with a lot of overtime and a lot of travel.

I was in Grand Rapids last week working an evening shift filling in for a colleague. Another co-worker and I had an assignment in Kentwood which we finished up just before dinner time.

We were in an area that had a lot of dining options and I was hungry. I didn’t tell him what I was doing but I pulled in to a parking lot near the corner of Kalamazoo Avenue and 44th Street and told him I was getting dinner.

I stopped at Big Shawn’s Cheesesteaks. The small Philly cheesesteak restaurant is in that massive shopping center on the corner of 44th and Kalamazoo. Big Shawn’s is in the building on the Kalamazoo Avenue side. You can enter from either Kalamazoo Avenue, which only has a few parallel parking spots in the shopping center, or from the parking lot which is a lot easier to park on.

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Blackhawk On the Move

November 3, 2022

  • Food Truck
  • Allegan, MI 49010
  • (269) 455-0097
  • Website
  • Menu

There are a lot of BBQ food trucks. It seems like whenever there is some kind of large food truck event there are twice as many BBQ trucks as anything else.

It’s hard to complain about that. I love BBQ….but variety is also nice too.

A food truck out of Allegan noticed that it was getting harder to get booked because they were competing with other BBQ trucks. According to a post on their Facebook page, they were having a hard time even getting in to events because of the “BBQ” in their name….so they changed it.

Blackhawk BBQ became Blackhawk on the Move.

I’ve written about Blackhawk BBQ before. I saw them out when I was driving through Allegan one day so I pulled off and got a sandwich. I’m doing another blog post because they’ve changed their name and we tried more on the menu this time.

Our experience with Blackhawk on the Move was at Steinspark Biergarten and Food Court in Portage. The German style beer garden has their own food but they also bring in food trucks to provide food options other than German food. They park the trucks on a cement pad right outside of the beer garden near their own food hut.

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