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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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Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen

December 3, 2018
  • 364 Broadway Street
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 637-7727
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s South Haven week on the blog.  I spent a lot of time there last week and had the opportunity to eat meals at a lot of places I haven’t been to yet.

A co-worker and I were there on Friday and we had a lot of time to kill.  It was actually him who suggested we go get lunch and try to kill at least an hour someplace where we weren’t sitting in our car.

We ate at Gino’s East just a few days earlier so I knew that was out.  I asked C.W. what he was in the mood for and he just said someplace he could get a sandwich.

I picked Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen because it’s the kind of place we wouldn’t normally eat at while we’re in town for the beach.  It’s more of a breakfast/lunch place…the kind of place we would definitely eat at often if we lived or were vacationing in South Haven before hitting the beach for the day.

Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen is on Broadway Street right at the intersection with Michigan Avenue.  The business was previously a Chinese buffet.  The building sits right along the busy street which is also M-140.  There’s a small parking lot on the south side of the building that was full.  We ended up parking on Michigan Avenue and walking back to the restaurant.

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Hot ‘N Now

December 3, 2018
  • 69310 M-66
  • Sturgis, MI 49091
  • (269) 651-1983
  • Website
  • Menu

Nostalgia is fun right?  There’s a lot of restaurants I stop at for nostalgia purposes.  Taco John’s is a place from our day sin Central Illinois that we don’t have much here…same with Casey’s General Store and Hardees.   They’re not the greatest fast food joints in the world but I always get excited when I pass one because I don’t have the option of getting it every day.

I didn’t grow up in Michigan so all the empty shells of Hot ‘N Now really never meant much to me.  I eventually figured out what they were but I still knew nothing about once thriving regional chain that had 150 stores at it’s peak.

My Michigan-native co-workers have told me stories about the place and how they always wanted to make the drive to Sturgis where the last remaining Hot ‘N Now is still serving up a lot of the same things they did in the 1990’s.

Guess what?  I went to Sturgis last week for work.  I had some super jealous co-workers.

The lone Hot ‘N Now sits in the same place it did when it opened in 1990 on a very busy stretch of M-66 on the south side of town.  Like all Hot ‘N Now’s, the business is drive-thru only although it does have a few parking spaces off to the side where you can pull off and eat in your car.  Read more…

Ruggers Up & Under

December 1, 2018
  • 711 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 373-1412
  • Website
  • Menu

I realized this past week there are still a lot of long time restaurants in Kalamazoo I’ve never been to.  Theo & Stacy’s on Portage Road closing this week made me realize that.  There are hundreds of blog posts on this blog from all over Southwest and West Michigan but there are a few long time businesses that I haven’t been to for some reason or another.

Wednesday night J had an event to go to with the kids.  It was scheduled to begin before I got off work so she didn’t RSVP me.  I ended up getting off work early and could have met them there but J told me to just take the night for myself and go get dinner.  I’ve been putting together a list of bars I still haven’t been to that I likely wouldn’t take the family so it was just a matter of picking one.

I picked Ruggers Up & Under because I know their days are numbered.  The sports bar has been kind of right on the edge of downtown Kalamazoo on Michigan Avenue right where Michigan Avenue meets West Main Street for about 25 years.

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Gino’s East (South Haven)

November 30, 2018
  • 248 S. Broadway Street
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 639-4100
  • Website
  • Menu

If there’s one hill that I will die on it, it’s the hill that Chicago food beats all other regional food.  Don’t @ me.  As a couple of my co-workers have found out, there’s nothing you can say that will change my mind about Italian beef, hot dogs, and both kinds…yes, both kinds of Chicago-style pizza.

In Chicago, the hill both J and I would die on is the south side thin cracker thin crust pizza is far superior to the more popular north side deep dish pizza that more people associate with the city…hmmm….seems like baseball works the same way…south side better than north side….

Yes, I prefer places like our all time favorite pizza place Palermo’s 95th and the very close second Vito & Nick’s…but I still really like the deep dish pizza that Chicago is famous for.

Chicago pizza really made it’s West Michigan debut when Giordano’s moved in to Holland a few years ago.  I haven’t eaten there yet.  Giordano’s is my least favorite of the Chicago Big 3….also, I just don’t get to Holland much anymore.

The place I really got excited about opened this past summer in South Haven.

Gino’s East is on South Broadway Street right on the edge of downtown South Haven.  The Chicago pizzeria moved in to the former Joe’s Bar & Grill.  The restaurant underwent a pretty extensive renovation to give it the downtown Chicago feel that you get from the original shop on Superior Street.

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American Legion 118 Vet’s Cafe

November 26, 2018
  • 701 Riverview Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 365-0779
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

There can never be enough BBQ.  Have I said that enough yet?

It seems like there are two pretty distinct styles of BBQ here in Kalamazoo.  There’s the big commercial stuff that always has brisket, pulled pork, and baby back ribs…then there’s the more neighborhood stuff with the spare ribs, rib tips, and BBQ chicken.  Both of them have things that I really enjoy and if I can find a place with good rib tips, my shirts better get ready to be stained with BBQ sauce.

As I was looking through planning commission meeting minutes as one does, I came across something interesting.  A cafe was being planned by what was to become an American Legion post.  There wasn’t much info then.  They were trying to get a liquor license if I remember right but it’s something I kept looking for over the summer.

I don’t get down Riverview Drive very often but a few months ago, I was heading out towards Richland and I noticed a new sign on an old building.  The American Legion 118 Vet’s Cafe was open.

The Vet’s Cafe is in a building on the corner of Riverview and Hotop Avenue.  It has been so many things over the years.  The most recent was Jaddin’s Precious Soul Food Cafe.  Before that, it was a couple of different short lived soul food places and Beale Street BBQ.  This corner has a history of this kind of BBQ but it also has a history of businesses not lasting very long.

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