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Shipwreck Cafe

August 26, 2021
  • 11691 Lacore Road
  • Empire, MI 49630
  • (231) 835-2580
  • Website
  • Menu

Man, did we do a lot of hiking.

We only had two days to see as much as we could at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore so we packed in as much as we could.

We started our day with breakfast in Beulah followed by a hike at Treat Farm Trail then lunch in Glen Arbor. We took a short break and headed back to our AirbNb in Thompsonville then back at it with a hike at the Empire Bluff Trail outside of Honor.

After all that, we weren’t done. It was dinner time and we promised the kids a swim in Lake Michigan.

A friend of mine spends a lot of his summer in Empire. He suggested a couple of places for meals and one of them worked out perfectly for us.

We stopped at Shipwreck Cafe right on the main road through Empire. The small take-out sandwich shop is near the corner of Lacore Road (or M-22) and Front Street. There is no inside dine-in seating but they have some picnic tables outside if you need a place to eat. The building almost looks like it began life as a house but was turned in to some kind of commercial property several years ago before being converted into the restaurant.

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Art’s Tavern

August 25, 2021
  • 6487 W. Western Avenue
  • Glen Arbor, MI 49636
  • (231) 334-3754
  • Website
  • Menu

We had a lot to pack in to two days.

We took a weekend trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes to go hiking. J had several trails she wanted to do but, as with any trip, it was food that was at the top of my priority list.

There was one place I wanted to go while we were in the area. A pub in Glen Arbor that was recommended to me several years ago as being worth the drive from Traverse City.

Art’s Tavern is in very busy downtown Glen Arbor. The small restaurant sits on the corner of Western Avenue and Lake Street. The pub has been a staple in Glen Arbor since 1934….or 1926 if you count the previous owner with a different name for the space.

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L’Chayim Delicatessen

August 25, 2021
  • 274 S. Benzie Street
  • Beulah, MI 49617
  • (231) 882-5221
  • Website
  • Menu

We have never been to Sleeping Bear Dunes. We’ve been in Michgan almost 14 years now and have never taken the trip to the northwest corner of the state. We needed to fix that.

We’ve obviously gotten in to hiking over the last year and a half and become much more outdoorsy people. One of J’s friends took a trip with one of her friends to Sleeping Bear Dunes a couple of months ago and couldn’t stop talking about the trails. J had to go….so we booked an AirBnB.

Our cabin was in rural Thompsonville. I had to work much later than I had hoped Friday night so we didn’t leave Kalamazoo until 8:00. We got to our cabin around 11:30 and everyone pretty much went straight to bed.

J wanted to get up and get moving on Saturday morning. We were only going to be in town for the weekend so we had a lot to pack in to two days.

J’s plan was to find a gas station and grab donuts for breakfast. Nah…we can do better. I started looking for bakeries. I couldn’t really find anything close but I did find a highly rated deli that makes their own bagels.

L’Chayim Delicatessen is in downtown Beulah on Benzie Street near Prospect Avenue. The buildings in this older section of downtown are all connected and this little one story deli is squeezed in between larger buildings on the west side of the road.

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Vickers Lakeside Tavern

August 23, 2021
  • 120 W. Prairie Street
  • Vicksburg, MI 49097
  • (269) 475-5790
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s almost time to start school again. L will be going back to in person class for the first time since March of 2020 and B starts Kindergarten this year.

We had our summer care plans pretty well planned out. The kids went to a day camp most of the summer but there were two weeks between when that day camp ended and when school starts.

No worries, J said she would work from home those two weeks…..until she started a new job on the first day we were without a day camp.

J’s mom offered to take the kids….but they got pounded by that storm that rolled through a few weeks ago and didn’t have power for a week. We weren’t going to send the kids to their house without electricity.

J’s mom then said she’d just watch them at our house until they got power back. They finally did on Wednesday so Thursday she took the kids back to St. Joseph County with her for the rest of the week.

That gave J and I one night without the kids to go out for dinner. Her new job is in Vicksburg and she had to stay late Thursday night. There’s a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to down there so I asked if she wanted to meet when I got off work.

Vickers Lakeside Tavern is in downtown Vicksburg on Prairie Street right next to southern most tip of Sunset Lake. The road in front of it is pretty tore up right now but you can still access the restaurant through the back entrance of the Family Fare Parking lot if you can’t get through on the street. The restaurant is in a building that used to be a bank and if you can see before and after pictures of what they did with the property, it’s quite amazing how they turned a Bank of America into a great little pub.

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August 23, 2021
  • 701 Wealthy Street SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 551-1108
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s been a few years since I’ve worked full time in Grand Rapids so it’s always amazing to me just how much things have changed in the four years.

I was driving along Wealthy SE one day last week and barely recognized anything. The neighborhood has been kind of hip for a while but there are so many new restaurants and shops in the area. The vibe was buzzing on a random Wednesday night with patios full and people walking the streets.

I had a task to do in East Grand Rapids but would be driving back down Wealthy when I was done. I figured I may as well try out one of these new (to me anyway) restaurants on the way back.

The restaurant I picked was Royals. This little diner with a huge patio sits on the corner of Wealthy and Henry Avenue in Grand Rapids’ East Hills Neighborhood. I knew there was something on that corner before but I couldn’t remember what until I went back to Google Maps street view. It was Jonny B’z. Before that, it was an old service station.

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The Front Porch

August 23, 2021
  • 55. Battle Creek Street
  • Galesburg, MI 49503
  • (269) 548-9786
  • Website
  • Menu

We were really trying to stay away from our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago so we went on a little adventure. We had a fantastic lunch at the Lucky Rooster in Battle Creek followed by a hike at Ott Biologicall Preserve.

We still needed to kill more time. Our neighborhood was having their annual picnic. We’re not huge fans of our neighbors. We live in a subdivions without sewers. The township has been trying for years to put sewers in but every time they come up with a new plan, a few neighbors organize and get them stopped with a ballot initiative. They did the same sidewalks…yeah, people oppose sidewalks in this neighborhood.

The unfortunate thing is, the kids want to go. There’s a bike parade and bounce house but we really don’t feel like making small talk with people who are actively trying to keep this neighborhood in the 1860’s.

To kill a little more time, we took a detour on the way home and stopped in Galesburg. I wanted to pick up a bottle of bourbon from Gull Lake Distilling Company so we sat and had a drink too. That wasn’t really fair to the kids so we made a stop to get them something too.

We were already in Galesburg so we decided to get ice cream in Galesburg.

The Front Porch is a rather large seasonal, walk up ice cream shop on Battle Creek Street not too far north of that weird intersection with Michigan Avenue in the downtown area of Galesburg. There’s a big canopy covering the walk up windows then a large yard with games and picnic tables to sit and enjoy whichever ice cream treat you decide on.

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Lucky Rooster Kitchen & Cocktails

August 20, 2021
  • 1299 E. Columbia Avenue
  • Battle Creek, MI 49014
  • (269) 224-2000
  • Website
  • Menu

There’s been a theme on this blog over the last year and a half. Find a place to hike….then find a place to eat. That’s kind of what our life has become during this pandemic.

J was back in the office this summer and the kids were at a summer camp so we didn’t do nearly as much hiking as we did last year when I was the only one not at home all day.

We’ve had some really nice weekends the last couple of weeks and J wanted to get out of the house. We’ve been spending time just hanging around the house doing housework and chores but it was time to get out. We needed a destination hike.

Battle Creek is kind of an untapped area for us when it comes to hikes. We’ve found a couple of trails over there but decided to look a little deeper to see what we could find. There are number of newer restaurants on my list so J went to looking on AllTrails.

We picked Ott Biological Preserve in Emmett Township. Hey…wouldn’t ya know. There’s a restaurant near there I’ve been pitching for a while now.

Lucky Rooster Kitchen and Cocktails is on Columbia Avenue in Emmett Township near Marjorie Street. The large restaurant has a little bit of a difficult parking lot to get in to as there’s really no separation between the lot and the road. In a past life, this was the Brickyard Pub and the Warehouse and it looked nothing like it does now. It was about four years ago they started to add on to this building giving it the look it has now.

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Cairo’s Kitchen

August 20, 2021
  • 155 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1D
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 525-2996
  • Website
  • Menu

You know me by now. I’m a burger, wings, pizza guy. I don’t venture outside of my comfort zone much….but I’m trying.

The year my son was born, I ended up working Christmas Day. We split up holiday’s at my job since we’re a 24/7/365 operation. My son was due on Thanksgiving and ended up being born on Black Friday. I asked not to work either of those knowing I would screw someone over at the last second if I was in the hospital.

The non-Christians in the office always volunteered to work Christmas. They weren’t forced to but I work with some good people. One guy volunteered every year and every year, he treated us (on the company dime) to Middle Eastern food for dinner since it was one of the few places open on Christmas Day.

I had never even tried Mediterranean food before that Christmas but it was the only thing we had to eat. It was just pork, beef, and lamb so it couldn’t be all that bad.

I found out that year that I liked the flavor of those meats prepared that way. I’m not much of a veggie guy so the rest of it wasn’t my thing but I ate a lot of Shish Tawook that Christmas.

Fast forward to now, I still don’t really eat Mediterranean food but I’m a little more open to it if it’s offered.

There’s a new Egyptian restaurant downtown and really close to where I work. It took me a few days to open myself up to something new but others in the office were raving about it so I had to give it a try.

Cairo’s Kitchen is the first restaurant to open up in The Exchange Building on the corner of Rose and Michigan in downtown Kalamazoo. The restaurant is on the first floor of the building on the Rose Street side even though it has a Michigan Avenue address. The restaurant doesn’t have it’s own outside access but entrance to the small shop is just inside the door.

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Schultz’s Treat Street

August 20, 2021
  • 3023 Oakland Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 743-7137
  • Website
  • Menu

You know what Kalamazoo doesn’t really have? Neighborhood ice cream shops. For a metro area the size of Kalamazoo/Portage, the number of locally owned ice cream places is really low.

We live on the west side of town and the options really aren’t that great. When we want ice cream, we typically go to Culver’s or *shudders* McDonalds because it’s easy. We always try to hit up local joints when we’re outside of Kalamazoo but sitting at home on the couch and thinking, “I want ice cream” always brings up a long conversation that ends at a drive thru on 9th Street.

We were having that same conversation recently on a really hot Saturday night. We were *this* close to loading the kids up in the car and going to McDonalds but J came up with a better idea. We wanted a local ice cream shop and it has been years since we’ve been to Treat Street.

Treat Street is no long just Treat Street. It’s part of Mrs. Schultz’s Sweets and now known as Schultz’s Treat Street. It was about a year ago Schultz Sweet, Inc acquired the long time ice cream joint in the Oakwood Plaza on the corner of Oakland and Whites in Kalamazoo’s Oakland/Winchell Neighborhood.

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Gary Z’s Sub Shop

August 3, 2021
  • 254 E. Front Street
  • Buchanan, MI 49107
  • (269) 695-0800
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s kind of amazing there are still places in Southwest Michigan I haven’t been yet, innit?

I’ve been doing this blog for almost 12 years. My job takes me all over the state so it’s always surprising when I get an assignment and it’s a place I haven’t been.

We got sent to a location near Buchanan last week. I took the “long way” to Buchanan because we had time to kill. That took us through the City of Buchanan. When it came time to leave, I told my co-worker I had noticed a sub shop downtown and I was going to head back in to town to grab something to eat.

Gary Z’s Sub Shop is on Front Street in downtown Buchanan near the intersection with Red Bud Trail. The small sub shop looks like it has been there a while and is described as “one of the go-to places in town” but the area Chamber of Commerce.

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