Dec 7, 2008
The Common Grill is not in Southwest Michigan, however it is such a good place I thought I should tell you about it in case you pass through Chelsea sometime. This restaurant was started in an old downtown department store building by Jeff Daniels father who owns the local lumber company. It opened on the same night as Jeff's popular Purple Rose Theater. They tapped a top chef from the Chuck Muer restaurants (Charley's Crab, Big Fish etc.) Craig Common is the chef and namesake to this top Michigan restaurant. The food is mostly Seafood with steaks & chicken offerings as well. They are also famous for salads and desserts, but don't miss the seafood chowder and the homemade dinner rolls. You can get any of this at the carryout as well. On my recent visit the day before Thanksgiving with my daughter, Jeff Daniels was sitting at the counter talking with his friend Craig Common. We left him alone like the people in Chelsea do. The meal was great and you have to try this place when in the area. Many think it is better than any place in Ann Arbor. The prices are a little high but well worth it. Casual dress and full bar.
Nov 24, 2008
This place has a neat atmosphere with high ceilings and a second floor loft area. The chef puts his touch on every dish at the Riverfront Cafe' in Niles. I had the crab bisque soup for lunch which was very good. The sandwich was cuban pressed pork, also very good. They had a unique idea for lunch with miniature desserts. My german chocolate cake was in a cylindrical form, but was delicious and at that size, costing only $2, made sense. Dinner is made up of steaks, seafood and other fine dining entree's. All chef prepared.
Nov 10, 2008
I went to two bakeries this week and added them both. I have walked or driven by this little bakery a hundred times and never noticed it. Jim T. told me I was missing the boat so I stopped. He was right! Louie's Bakery in downtown Marshall may be a hole in the wall, but what great food! They are known far and wide for their cakes and pies. I have read other reviews that rave about the lemon merenque. I also heard they had the best creme horns anywhere so I tried one and I agree! They are most famous for their nutty rolls. I had one of those later. This looks like a cinnamon roll with a light brown buttercream frosting filled with chopped peanuts...unbelievable. I will have a hard time going anywhere near Marshall now without stopping in Louie's. More details in the guide.
The other Bakery this week is Continental Pastries and Deli in Battle Creek which is a favorite of its home town. This place has rolls, donuts and cakes, however, they have a large cake decorating business that is really impressive. Go to their web page for a picture gallery. They have many harder to find confections such as strudel, napoleons, petit fores and baklava. It is also a Deli and has a nice lunch menu with indoor seating. To finish it off they are also an Ice Cream parlour. Very nice place and don't forget the french pastries! More details in the guide.
Nov 3, 2008
Since 1961. Bill's Steak House is a famous place that most of you have probably heard of. It is located on the east side of Bronson right on US 12. I had not been there in 20yrs. It is bigger and busier than ever. We had to wait for over one hour, but it was worth it. I don't think you can eat here normally without some wait. This place is known for giant steaks. The porterhouse can come as large as 30 ounces. I got the small 26 ounce one. They are known also for ribs and fish. Walleye, perch, blue gill, crab legs and lobster tail. They have desserts but I can't imagine having room for any. I would have to get them to go. Also, known for margarita's. Check the guide for more details.
Oct 30, 2008
I have heard about this new sandwich place but just got to it today. It is called B'wiched Deli & Microcatering. Located in a strip mall at Drake and West Main in Kalamazoo. Everyone has been talking about how good these sandwiches are and I was not disappointed! Deli quality meats and their own baked breads which can be purchased by the loaf or half loaf. Homemade sides and chips. Bakery cookies and desserts. Homemade soups and don't miss the eppee rolls. Dinner rolls brushed with olive oil, garlic, herbs and topped with poppy seeds and kosher salt. May be nice for Thanksgiving! I had the pastrami on an onion roll. Very good. My wife had the turkey on dill bread. Both would make us go back.
Oct 27, 2008
This place is a nice find right on Gull Lake near the bird sanctuary. Called Frona's Pantry. Great specials with a unique collection of specialty items. They are a bakery, coffee shop and restaurant. Try the dream eggs or the homemade corned beef hash. The bread is great! I had multigrain toast which had dried cranberries in it. Maybe the best peanut butter cookie I have had. The special of the day on my last visit was pumpkin pancakes. The meat is top quality, such as bavarian ham. All the ingredients seem to be top shelf. The atmosphere is very similar to a bed and breakfast. Very homey. It looks like good lunch items as well, however I have not tried lunch yet.
Oct 18, 2008
What a great dining experience! Saturday International Buffet with a chef from South Africa. Not to mention live music. Did I mention the building is from 1843? Check out the details on the guide. This is reservation only, so call soon. The place is called the Mendon Country Inn. Thanks to Eric V. for this find!
Oct 12, 2008
I finally went to the Riverview Tavern along the St. Joe river west of Constantine. I had driven by several times during the day and was not sure it was open. I stopped and looked in the windows as well as the hours on the door and made plans to come back. You step back in time in this out of the way place you will never forget. Check out the details in the dining guide and get there before they close for the winter.
Oct 7, 2008
I tried the Beeson St. Bar & Grill in Dowagiac for lunch and have added it to the dining guide for burgers. Be sure to check the hours as they are limited.
Oct 2, 2008
On vacation last week in Virginia and Pennsylvania. We were treated to a fantastic dinner at a unique restaurant in Upperville, Virginia. My daughter and her boyfriend found the Hunters Head tavern. This home converted to a restaurant was built in the 1750's! Talk about English, this place could just as well be in Cornwall. We all had different meals such as beef stew for me and organic half baked chicken for my wife. They have all the english brews and things like bangers and mash as well as welsh rarebit. If you go anywhere near that area make a point to find this classic great restaurant.
If this gets you thinking English pub, check out the guide for English/Irish places in our southwest Michigan area.
Sep 29, 2008
Porkapalooza time. Great event in Fennville with local beer, local wine and local meat. Music all day! Check it out at www.savegaseatpork.com. This event is October 4th so not much time.
Sep 18, 2008
Terry's Guide is now up and operational!!!
We have restaurants all over southwest Michigan along with breweries and wineries. We also have some bakeries and cider mills. Speaking of cider mills, it is that time of year to take the family for some cider and donuts. Check out Terry's recommendations in the guide. The one in Fennville even has a restaurant.
Remember the only restaurants in here are ones we have visited and are recommending to you!
Also, since the Paw Paw wine festival was just finished you know the harvest is underway and the wineries are great to visit on these cooler fall days. If you drive through the vineyards you may be able to smell the grapes as they are being harvested. While in wine country check out the restaurants in the wine towns and nearby. One winery even has a restaurant and it is very good! It has a great view overlooking the vineyards.
Have you taken a drive along the lakeshore? Remember many restaurants here will close for the winter. Make sure you get to your favorites or try some of our recommendations before they shut down.
Let us know how you like these places and if they are new to you, please let them know where you heard about them.
Mar 30, 2008
Terry's core website and database are currently under construction. We will soon be providing Terry's reviews of southwestern Michigan dining and drinking establishments.
This blog will be providing more in depth stories of featured favorites. Come back often. We expect to feature new places at least once a month.