Dec 14, 2010

Sports bar in beach town

This place has quickly filled a niche for a sports bar. Joe's Bar & Grill in South Haven has become "the" place to watch sports in this beautiful harbor town. The large flat screen TVs everywhere make where you sit meaningless. They also have seating outside and on the rooftop in good weather. The rooftop would be great during the fireworks! The menu is filled with your usual bar food, however they do a better job with it. The burgers are very good and if you want bacon on your burger or a blt, they use applewood smoked bacon. If you want a fish sandwich, they will hand dip it in their own beer batter. I really liked my corned beef brisket sandwich on their brioche onion roll. Good soups and chili as well as their famous fish and chips. Lots of appetizers and great beer selection. Check it out when you are in town. Check the guide for more details. Also, watch out for the $185 towing charge from Lee's towing(two miles),(cash only) if you park in the closed auto parts store lot!

Nov 6, 2010

Nice place on Green Lake

This place on Green Lake actually has a Caledonia address. Sitting across the lake with a nice view is Maria's Pizza and Italian Restaurant. The pizza is very good either hand tossed or thick crust. Some special pizzas like Hawaiian with coconut or BBQ chicken. Nice pasta dishes as well. We had the manicotti which were hand filled and covered with their delicious, sweet housemade sauce. The lasagna is all housemade as well, along with all their sauces. The sausage is also housemade and mom makes the meatballs. Try the meatball sub or any of their 17 subs. Kids menu is available. Other offerings include American food like fried chicken, hamburgers or fish. They even offer some Mexican items with housemade burrito sauce. Salads and soups include BBQ chicken or taco salad and minestrone, clam chowder or chili soups. Desserts include cannoli, tiramisu or ice cream. No alcohol. Nice simple place with a great location and very good food! Check out the guide for more details and a map.

Oct 28, 2010

New Spanish restaurant in Marshall

This place is right on the main drag in an old building with a high tin ceiling and brick walls. The unique Zarzuela Spanish Restaurant in Marshall will provide a special dining experience to those willing to try something new. Several sandwich, soup and salads for lunch using Spanish recipes and real Spanish ingredients. I had a serrano ham sandwich with 12 month aged manchego sheeps milk cheese. The dinner menu is larger with paella specials nightly. They also have some nice pastas like espagheti carbonara or pasta con gambas. Try the Spanish olives, almonds, cheeses and cured meats. If you like squid or gazpacho sevillano soup...they have it. The liquor license is on its way. Desserts are house made, as are many of their unique offerings. Check out the guide for more details.

Oct 19, 2010

Time to feature a good Battle Creek spot!

This place in Downtown Battle Creek does everything. From breakfast to late night bar with live entertainment. The Griffin Grill and Pub is "good for what ales you". They start with a full breakfast menu featuring a cinnamon roll big enough for two. At 11am lunch starts with hand pattied fresh burgers, soup of the day or their two daily soup offerings of hot pepperjack potato and homemade chili. Lots of other sandwiches including the fish made with the same hand breaded prime cod used in their "famous fish & chips" known as the best in the area(very good!). Daily they offer their fish & chips along with "bubble & squeak". Friday & Saturday add corned beef & cabbage and shepherds pie to round out the irish/english pub fare. Yes they have lots of other items like appetizers, salads, steaks, chicken, shrimp, kids menu and desserts. 14 TV's for game day and 33 beers on tap. They are the only ones in the area featuring 2 cask conditioned hand pulled ales! Lots of Michigan microbrew beers and others from england and ireland. Small wine list and full bar. Check their website for live music. Check the guide for more details.

Oct 12, 2010

Memphis style BBQ downtown

After spending a lot of time in Memphis, Mat Stedman learned to appreciate uncomplicated BBQ. He says "sometimes simpler is better". This place in downtown Jackson is called Mat's Cafe and Catering. You can smell the smokers going where the pulled pork is cooked for 12 hours then served on breads and buns baked in house. Great pulled pork sandwich! Make sure you grab a fork. Order at the counter then prepare to feast. Also known for their famous chicken gumbo. I also really liked the cornbread I got with my sandwich. Nice atmosphere, great food! Check the guide for more details.

Oct 9, 2010

Heading to Ann Arbor today?

Since 1911. Check out this historic bar and restaurant in Chelsea. The Wolverine Food & Spirits is a classic bar that also serves good food. Back in 1911 it opened as an all night diner for travelers and truckers using then major highway US 12. In the '60's started serving liquor by the glass and now is known for steaks, burgers and fish. They are especially known for their award winning flat iron steak(Michigan beef contest 2005). Fish specials daily. I had a burger and a bowl of their homemade chili and was impressed. Large menu has something for everyone, so take the whole family. Large screen TV's if you want to watch the game. If you are so inclined they do offer a liverwurst sandwich. Check out the guide for more details. Note: I don't suggest you wear all green if you visit today even though you would match the color of their awning??

Oct 7, 2010

New "old" Burger joint just opened!

Newly opened burger joint in the old Nisker's location on S. Westnedge in Portage is Lou Nisker's State Burger. Mr. Nisker has returned to reopen his old location with a newly redecorated and improved place. He heard his former restaurant he originally opened in 1986 and sold 20 years later had closed. With a couple of old friends he returned to town and opened State Burger in the same spot. All burgers are prime ground sirloin made fresh daily and never frozen. Fresh buns baked daily in their own ovens and several homemade products like 6 marinades, sirloin chili, sweet sirloin beans and State BBQ sauce. Chicken, beefalo, fish, hot dogs and veggie burgers also. We really like the hand cut curly fries. Hand dipped shakes and South Haven s'mores. Kids menu. Welcome Lou Nisker back to town after a couple of year absence! Check the guide for more details.

Oct 3, 2010

Time for cider and donuts

Time for Cider and donuts at many locations throughout southwest and south-central Michigan. Our family tradition includes Crane's in Fennville and Verhage's in Kalamazoo. We have also visited Schultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan, Grandpa's in Coloma, Jollay Orchards near Coloma, Wick's Apple House near Sister Lakes and many others. What is better than fresh pressed cider and warm homemade donuts or a peanut covered caramel apple at this time of year. Check the guide under "cider mills" to find lots of great places for the whole family.

Sep 23, 2010

Burger and a car wash?

This place in Mattawan seems out of place until you go in and see a nice burger joint and sandwich shop. Chamois Burgers serves fresh burger never frozen, grilled on a nice char grill and served on a fresh bun. Simplicity and quality make a good burger in my world. Indoor seating, ice cream and subs come with the package. Not to mention their chicago dog! Good fries with skin on. For those of you who do not already know, a chamois is a porous leather used to dry a car after washing. It is pronounced "shammy". I only add this as so many have ordered the "cham oyz" burger that it is getting funny. Check the guide for more details and if you spill any food on your car you are in the right place!

Sep 20, 2010

Three Rivers-New in 2009

This place used to be a chinese restaurant and now is Mexican. You would never know it had been anything else. The owners of El Camino Real Mexican Restaurant have done a very nice job with atmosphere, service and food. They have a full bar and full service menu. This is a family owned and run authentic Mexican place. This family takes great pride in all aspects of their restaurant. I really like their chili relleno, tamale and chili verde that I tried over a couple of visits. Big menu with all your favorites. Bring the whole family and stay for dessert. Try the banana chimichanga. This is on the main drag right off U.S. 131. Check out the guide for more details.

Sep 16, 2010

New Winery in Mattawan

New in 2010. Third generation grape grower and hobby wine maker has taken hobby to a new level and opened the area's newest winery. Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery will sell their 8 wines only at the tasting room at the winery. Get there before the end of October because they will close from November till April. Cody is the name of their late golden retriever and Kresta means "crest" or "hilltop" in Croatian which is the owners heritage. They make a chardonnay and a bourdeaux style blueberry wine. Check out the guide for more details.

Sep 12, 2010

New addition in Fennville

I have heard many good things about this Fennville eatery and finally tried Salt of the Earth after picking apples at Crane's Orchards. It is everything I have heard. They bake their own breads and pastries. They source their products locally. From meats, produce and fruits to local cheeses and gelato. Most everything is made in house or from local providers in the area. They have buttermilk bleu cheese, pecorino romano, aged white cheddar, chevre, feta, provolone, fresh mozzarella and other goat cheese all from local Michigan producers! Most rave about the brussel sprouts, pork belly and pierogie appetizers. The grilled cheese is very special. Try the grilled hangar steak, char grilled ribeye, braised pork shoulder or wood oven bone-in salmon. Speaking of wood ovens be sure to try the wood fired gourmet pizzas. Yes they have pastas and chicken dishes as well. Good salads and soups. Fenn Valley Wines (Fennville). Don't miss Palazzolo's(Fennville) gelatos for dessert. The coffee shop cafe and bakery open at 7am. Try the cinnamon roll! My wife and I split 1/2 piece and took the other 1/2 home. Brunch on weekends with fresh squeezed juices. Full bar. This is a great restaurant and worth the drive! Check the guide for details.

Sep 3, 2010

Try a place near the lakes

Michigan has so many lakes that I had to pick just one area to blog about for Labor Day weekend. Try the excellent breakfast at The Wright Place in Sister Lakes. With 10 lakes in the area, I thought this might get you to take a drive. They are known for european style pancakes that hang over your plate. I liked the pumpkin pancake with creme anglaise sauce, secret spices and walnuts, topped with whipped creme. You may prefer the "murtle turtle" which is covered in pecans, caramel sauce, chocolate, more pecans and whipped creme. Also known for omelets, skillets, waffles(similar to the pancake offerings) and fresh baked items. Check out the area's cider mills, golf courses and lake activities. Check the guide for more details.

Aug 25, 2010

Time to feature one of my all time favorites!

This place calls itself Saugatuck's "Marquee dining spot". What looks like an ordinary neighborhood bar with a marquee is in fact one of the area's best dining stops. Phil's Bar and Grille has some great items like their lobster cobb salad or the portabella mushroom sandwich. I really like the broasted chicken dinner and the burger is fantastic! The burger is served on their in house baked ciabatta bread. I get the gorgonzola cheese on mine. Everyone is still talking about the gorgonzola dip. They are also known for ribs and have been voted "best bar & grill" on the lakeshore. All salad dressings, sauces and soups are housemade. Everything we have tried has been delicious! The atmosphere inside is quaint with brown paper tablecloths and crayons so you can draw. Full bar with very good drinks. They have a small outside seating area. When you are finished you get a small cup of animal crackers. Check out the guide for details.

Aug 18, 2010

Try to find this one!

This place has been hidden away since 1978. Take a drive in the country to see if you can locate the Country Road Steak Barn. Between Butler and Girard. The building is an old pole building, the parking lot is gravel, the inside seems like most bars except it has a neat fieldstone fireplace to go with the pool table. It is the first time I have enjoyed an excellent prime rib dinner while watching people play pool. I would go back anytime for that prime rib as well as the salad bar or the soup. My wife had good tender and crispy fried chicken. Our other friend liked the prime rib as well as I did. They have other steaks, fish and chicken dishes. This is another one of the places that make this guide so useful.

Aug 15, 2010

New place added in Paw Paw

New in 2010. This place has a very gregarious owner(Tim) who may even come out to meet you and shake your hand while carrying a package of his top quality hot dogs. Red's Root Beer Drive-In in Paw Paw is a nice addition to the area dining scene. I really liked the chili dog on my first trip and I really liked the hamburger on my second. These along with other offerings like chicken, fish and pulled pork sandwiches are available in a basket that includes coleslaw or apple sauce and fries. With my dog and burger I had a frosted mug of fresh made daily homemade root beer. Tim makes the root beer fresh every morning from their own recipe. They have a much larger menu than most other root beer places in the area, in total square footage and in items offered. The menu hangs down from the carport. Carhops take your order and deliver it on trays that hang over your window. You can also get onion rings, fried mushrooms and poppers. For dessert try a rootbeer float, cone, brownie sundae or Red's special seasonal desserts from the special board. Recently it was strawberry shortcake. Nice place with very good food!

Aug 2, 2010

After the fire, better than ever!

This place has been around under current ownership for 10 years, however they were damaged when the place next door burned. After being closed for 7 months, they have rebuilt a very attractive place. The Broadway Grille in downtown Union City is family owned and operated with a very nice menu and some unique offerings. They bake some of their breads in house. I had the french dip on the house baked bread and was very impressed. They have a wide variety in their menu from sandwiches to mahi mahi dinners. Known for their wraps, south of the border items(with housemade pico de gallo), large salads or salad bar, toasted grinders, steaks, chops, ribs and housemade desserts. Add a kids menu, a full bar and you have a very good pizza place. Oh yeah, the pizzas! They are housemade with lots of styles like bbq chicken, herbivore or carnivore. This place is hard to pin down because in a small town everyone has their favorites and Scott caters to his customers, however you can bet it is good and designed to put a smile on your face. They will have outdoor seating soon. Check out the guide for more details.

Jul 26, 2010

New European Cuisine place added

This new place is so popular that I feel I am late to the party. Downtown Kalamazoo is the host for Rustica described as Rustic-European-Cuisine. What a nice addition to the local dining scene. The restaurant is small and it is hard to get a table, so we used the call ahead program since they do not take reservations. This is what a great downtown restaurant should be. Open kitchen, fresh local ingredients, great service and unique selections. The menu is not large but has great variety. Our group of three had pan-roasted Michigan chicken, grilled American kobe beef and grilled leg of lamb. Each was served with a different side dish to match. They also have several fish and pasta offerings and a very popular pan-roasted pork chop. Add 130 wines from all over the world including 30 by the glass, nice appetizers, salads and desserts and you have one of the areas finest restaurants! Check out the guide for details and more review.

Jul 18, 2010

New BBQ place added

Would you like to watch the game on some nice big flat screen TV's while having a beer? How about adding some pulled pork or beef brisket to this setting. Well the people at the Saucy Dog's Barbeque in Jonesville have done just that. This is a very good BBQ joint with hardwood floors and wood furniture, but also a nice sports bar type atmosphere. Voted best lunch in Hillsdale county. I had the beef brisket sandwich with their slightly sweet sauce and was very impressed. They also have pulled chicken, ribs and wings to round out the BBQ portion. Add things like BBQ nachos or their signature "saucy dog" which is a deep-fried hot dog topped with coleslaw and BBQ sauce in a hot dog bun along with salads, soups, sandwiches(including burgers), sides and desserts and you can bring the whole family. Check out all the details and more review in the guide.

Jul 11, 2010

New place added unlike any other!

"Yooper" food comes to Southwest Michigan. Allegan in particular is the host hometown for U.P. North Sandwich & Pasty Co. How about a made from scratch pasty with a side of beef gravy from a family who recently moved here from the Upper Peninsula. They also feature a "cudighi" sandwich which is a homemade italian sausage patty served several ways. Hot subs, cold subs and specialty sandwiches like the dirty reuben or the pecan chicken salad croissant. Lots of salad choices like chicken apple vineyard, greek or chicken club. Soups and several sides are available as well. This food is excellent and a one of a kind experience. The place is fairly simple yet nice and you order at the counter, yet when they bring you your food it becomes very special. Some very nice desserts and Upper Peninsula candies and fudge sold at the counter for the "too go" crowd. More details in the guide.

Jul 7, 2010

Terry's Guide featured in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave media article

Growth News - THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010

Portage Resident Offers Favorite Dining Picks at Updated Online Site

Terry St. Louis of Portage sells insurance, and he spends a lot of time traveling Southwest Michigan, dining out at least five days a week.

So many people asked St. Louis for advice on where to eat he decided to start Terry's Guide to Dining and Drinking to chronicle his picks for the best places to dine in Southwest Michigan.

After a little over a year, the site has reviews and pictures of 350 places where St. Louis has found good food. Wineries, bakeries and breweries are all part of the mix.

The site recently relaunched with a new look and features that are more friendly to mobile phone users and is constantly updated as St. Louis finds new places to eat. There are no negative reviews, only places where St. Louis can recommend good food.

"When I go into a restaurant I ask what they are known for, what are their top sellers and build my review from that," St. Louis says.

The restaurant guide covers all kind of eateries from dives to fine dining spots such Webster's in downtown Kalamazoo. The site also can be searched by city, cuisine and specialties. Hidden-away spots only the locals know about are also part of the package.

"One of my spots is two miles down a dirt road," St. Louis says. "I have reviews of places that are out in the middle of nowhere."

The site recently has seen a lot more traffic -- 4,000 visitors last month -- and St. Louis attributes that to its redesign by Team Hypernet. He said the company not only provides attractive graphics but services to help drive traffic to the site.

If the site continues to grow he hopes to eventually branch out and offer reviews from Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Grand Haven.

Writer: Kathy Jennings
Source: Terry St. Louis, Terry's Guide to Dining and Drinking

Jul 6, 2010

New addition in South Haven

This place has done the unexpected.
Willy O's Pizza & Grille has created a following in a town that already had several good places for pizza. This thin crust style is so good that they won 2nd place in a national pizza contest in Las Vegas for their regular pizza and 1st place for their gluten free version. The dough, sauce and sausage are made fresh daily with their own recipes. They also cook their own corned beef for their gourmet reuben pizza. Lots of sandwiches, calzones and appetizers. Salads and seasonal soups are served. Desserts include a blueberry-pineapple pizza or upside-down cheesecake bites. You can buy Lorraine's homemade chocolates at the counter. Sit down seating in the dining room or outside during warm weather. Go in for some great pizza and see their national championship trophy! They do "call ahead" or regular take out as well.

Jun 29, 2010

New place added in Saugatuck

This is not something you would expect to find in this little harbor town. However these people from Kentucky have brought real southern BBQ to town in a brand new restaurant called The Hickory Pit BBQ. They make you feel right at home and want you to enjoy the food from their roots. I can't wait to get back to town for another of their pulled pork sandwiches. I also want to try the real Kentucky specialty soup called burgoo which is traditionally cooked outdoors in iron kettles over an open wood fire for 12 or more hours. They also have brisket, ribs and chicken along with all the fixins' like cornbread, baked beans and potato salad. Try something original like the bar-b-que pie, smoked bologna or smoked ham! Finish with their pie of the day. Everything made from scratch by people who want to put a smile on your face.

Jun 23, 2010

New Dutch place added in Holland

I finally found a real Dutch restaurant! I always wondered if there was such a thing. deBoer's Bakkerij & Dutch Brothers Restaurant finally does the trick. This place has been around since 1956 and at the current location since 1998. A real mix of old and new with old world Dutch treats and baked goods mixed with modern popular items. From old world Dutch croquettes & pea soup to mahi mahi fish tacos. From the Amsterdamage to the barefoot hippy this menu is very unique. My favorite breakfast places are those with a bakery attached and this is one of the best. Don't miss the banket almond stick, the pig in a blanket, the dulce banana rhumba french toast, klompen cakes or the lekkerbekje for dessert. They will be roasting and grinding their own coffee real soon as well. This place is worth a trip for breakfast or lunch. Plan on taking something home from the bakery. Check the guide for all the details.

Jun 10, 2010

New Orleans style deli & bakery

New Orleans comes to Middleville in the form of Big Easy Deli & Bakery. The owners had lived in Gulf Shores, AL for several years savoring New Orleans style food from their close proximity and because that style is very prevalent all over that part of the gulf. Open for breakfast and lunch you could start your morning with local roasted coffee, a housemade muffin, pastry or strudel and move on the Bourbon Street croissant. How about a nice quiche with house baked bread for toast. Lunch has that same great bread in several sandwich options like a pulled pork po'boy with coleslaw on top or a shrimp po'boy. Their signature sandwich is the muffelatta which rivals any I have had on Bourbon Street. Don't miss the gumbo. The owner is up at 3am baking her breads, muffins and turnovers so we can enjoy all this homemade goodness. Daily specials like red beans and rice on Monday and jambalaya on Tuesday. Always chef choice fish on Friday. This place is worth a drive so check it out. More details in the guide.

Jun 5, 2010

New addition Pub

Since 1959. This place has always had very good food but was a little smoky for the guide. However, you need to try The Pub in Richland. If you have never been or not in quite awhile like me, go back and check it out again. They are most famous for their burgers. They also make homemade potato chips and big beer battered onion rings. All soups are homemade and their fish sandwich is hand battered pollock. You could also try the 14 piece hand battered perch dinner or their 1/2 pound pot roast. They are a bar with TV's for sports and Nascar special wing deals. On Saturday you can stay past 9pm and enjoy the Karaoke! Nice place. Check out the guide for more details.

May 26, 2010

Take a drive out to the farm!

This place defines my "hidden away" category.
The Farm House Bakery & Restaurant near Vandalia is really out in the country and is actually located on the farm! I really like breakfast places that are also bakeries because the toast is so good. Add to that the donuts, pastries, bismarcks, cinnamon rolls and apple fritters, you may have to take some of your omelet home. This place is a store, bakery and restaurant. Nice lunches and great breakfasts. The bread is made with hand ground grain for each batch! The salad dressings are all made in house and are available for sale. I liked the sweet and sour. All this is good but their real specialty is their pies! Several choices all made from scratch in house. Have a nice breakfast or lunch, then purchase some bread, dressings and pies to go. Neat place with very nice people operating it right on their farm. Sometimes you may even get to go on a horse drawn buggy ride. Check their website for special events. Check the guide for all the details.

May 24, 2010

Fine dining destination added!

This top rated restaurant in Tecumseh seems like it belongs in a big city. We are glad this top chef chose this small town to open Evans Street Station. Chef Alan Merhar was doing farm to table before it became the latest craze. He negotiates with local farmers and suppliers for fresh local products. This place has been written up in all the nearby papers like Toledo, Ann Arbor, Detroit and even AAA. Rave reviews from diners and food writers. This chef/owner had prior stops at Detroit area top spots like the Tribute and Forte'. The only evidence from the building being the former fire station is the siren on the roof. The fieldstone fireplace inside along with an open kitchen gives it great style. They also have outdoor dining. This is fine dining at its best in both quality and presentation. My strip steak with a cabernet reduction sauce was amazing! One of the few places that makes everything from scratch inhouse with local ingredients. Known for great crabcakes, baked brie, Michigan potato chowder soup, lamb shank, bacon wrapped amish chicken, flat iron steak, lobster, great wine list, martinis, microbrew beers and housemade desserts like capuccino creme brulee. Everything here is good, fresh and from local ingredients. 60% of their business is from out of town people, so make the trip through Tecumseh to this destination restaurant. Check the guide for all the details and more review.

May 17, 2010

Terry’s Guide to Michigan dining and drinking kicks off second summer season with updated website

Try this newer place in South Haven

This place is behind Clementine's on a side street, however many people have found it. So much so that they have doubled in size in only a couple of years. The menu is large, mostly homemade and fresh.
Maria's A Taste of Italy has really done things right. Lasagna is their best seller. I really like the pasta shells. Pizza is hand tossed with homemade sauce and lots of topping choices. Don't miss the sweet pepper crab soup on weekends or the mussels in red sauce under the seafood section. Many go just for the salads. How about a tuscan chicken caesar or a traverse city salad. During the season try Maria's antipasto. Great breadsticks as well as a large sandwich assortment. Try the italian beef or sausage. Maybe both for a combo. The capaccio comes with hard salami, cappicola and pepperoni. How about the johnny D which is an open faced homemade meatball sandwich covered with their marinara and cheese then baked! Palazzolo's gelato, crane's pies and homemade cookies can be purchased there or to go. Click the highlighted name above for more details.

May 12, 2010

Smoking ban causes some new additions to guide!

I really like the food at some places that used to be a little too smoky to go in the guide. I am now adding them since the smoke free law starting May 1st. The smoke didn't bother me too much, however I know it bothered some of you. So now check out Barney's Bar in Bedford. This place has great hamburgers! Several other good sandwiches like a wet beef, philly beef or french dip. A grilled or deep fried chicken sandwich. Lots of "munchies" as well as steak or shrimp dinners. Nightly specials and very good pizza! Prices are great and food is good. My kind of place!

May 6, 2010

Mother's Day at a Mansion?

Lots of places have great Mother's Day specials. Great brunches and dinner specials all over. Check some of your favorite places that are not usually open on Sunday and you may be surprised. How about a special place at some of the mansions around our area. W.K. Kellogg Manor House is very nice check located on Gull Lake. In Jackson check out Cascades Manor House at where they always have Sunday brunch. In Eaton Rapids check out The English Inn at or in Saugatuck check out The Belvedere Inn at Just a few special places. I am sure there are many more. No quarantee they are not already booked so good luck!

Apr 30, 2010

Most Drive-ins are now open!

Its that time of year when we want to roll down the windows and get some fresh air. How about a visit to one of several drive-ins listed in the guide. We have one in Jackson, Marshall, Coldwater, Portage, Paw Paw, Coloma and South Haven. Search the guide for Diners & Drive-ins. Time for a frosted mug of root beer? Do you miss a tray hung over the edge of your window? How about roller skating car hops? One of these may have the best baby back ribs around(picture the flintstones). Some have been around since the 1930's. Most are open by now, but you may want to call first(West Lake). Pretend you are on Route 66(more about that later). This is an All American pastime. Enjoy your hot dog!

Apr 22, 2010

Thai Restaurant added in Kalamazoo

This cozy place is located in a strip mall, however once inside the Bangkok Flavor Thai Restaurant it has a surprisingly nice atmosphere. The menu is large and filled with your Thai favorites like Pad Thai or spring rolls.
I have just recently become a fan of Thai food and like most I expected it to be similar to Chinese food. Not so. Thai food uses lots of herbs which make their food have combination flavors like sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. These flavors run thru most of their dishes. Lots of Thai dishes are coconut based and they use lots of curries. Green, red and yellow curries are commonly used. They also use lemon grass, galangel(gingery, peppery root) and green chilis. Chinese food uses more soy sauces along with ginger, garlic and red chilies. Thai food much more resembles Indian food than Chinese. Most Thai restaurants will allow you to "adjust" the heat used. I like it very hot and they never fail to come thru. In the U.S. the menus may be separated by appetizers, soups, entrees etc. However, there is no concept of courses in a Thai meal. Soups, salads, curries and noodles are eaten together to create a combination of flavors. A common starting point to the new Thai patron is Phad Thai which are flat rice noodles. They are made of rice sticks that look almost translucent. The noodles are soaked (not boiled), then placed in a pan and fried. Phad means fried. The noodles are then served with peanut sprouts, chopped chillies, dash of sugar, lime juice and chilli powder giving it the sweet, sour & spicy flavor. Add curry of choice. Many other chicken, pork, beef, fish and duck items cooked in the Thai style. Bangkok flavor can offer you this experience for your taste buds. They have some unique offerings like flamed duck or coconut juice to drink. Speaking of drinks they have a Thai beer called Singha that is good along with several other choices including Bell's or Taj Mahal from India. This place is very good.

Apr 17, 2010

New restaurant added in New Buffalo

New Buffalo is a great town for restaurants. I have some favorites there so that is my explanation for why I had never been to
Retro Cafe'. They have been there since 1994 and are right on US 12. This is a special place that uses organic ingredients and makes as much as possible from scratch. Breakfast and lunch only, so get there early. Outdoor deck is nice and the cafe' atmosphere inside is all their own. They bake many of their own items and make their own preserves and chutneys. They can be purchased in the store behind the restaurant called Kites Kitchen Bake Shop & Pantry. This restaurant has many original items like eggs benito or their grass fed roast beef hash. Great sandwiches and salads for lunch. I had the Drier's ham & brie with avocado & tomato grilled on sour dough bread. Excellent! Pricing reflects the top quality ingredients used and is worth it. Click the name above to go to their page for more details.
Enjoy! Thanks to Wendy for the tip on this one.

Apr 11, 2010

Terry's Guide-Phase II now complete!

You may have noticed that Terry's Guide has a new look! With lots of new features.

*We have expanded to include South-Central Michigan. Now 46 new South-Central places to try with many more to come!

*If you use a mobile device for the guide you will have much easier usage now with click thru navigation.

*Larger pictures and interactive maps for each location.

*Maps showing the Southwest and South-Central regions covered.

*You can now display up to 100 places on the search results page.

*The city where each restaurant, brewery, winery or bakery is located, appears on the left side of search results(great for specialty searches).

*The "hidden treasure" description is now "hidden away" meaning those places are harder to find.

*You can be added to our e-mail list to get a notice when new places are added or we update the blog.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions that led to these improvements!

Check back soon for more updates or add yourself to our e-mail list.


Apr 2, 2010

Easter, East Egg and Spring!

Had trouble finding an Easter Brunch that wasn't sold out. Finally got in at Win Schulers in Marshall. Good luck if you are looking! Tell us about your experience. Did you know April is Wine month? Check the guide for almost 20 wineries where you can go tasting. Tuesday Bell's Brewery launched their famous spring beer Oberon. This is a great beer and my favorite thirst quenching beer. I normally drink dark beers, however, after a round of golf, there is none I like better!
On to East Egg This new breakfast and lunch place is next to Craftsman Chop House by Crossroads Mall in Portage. Start with Water Street Coffee and their homemade donut holes. They have unique offerings like their 7 benedicts, scramblers, grits, omelets and crepes. Try a smoothie with your breakfast. Nice atmosphere and well run by the owners who also own Craftsman next door. Lunch offers 8 flat top burgers, nice salads, homemade soups and chili. Also, many nice sandwiches and hot dogs served 5 different ways. Nice addition to the Portage breakfast scene!

Mar 27, 2010

New in downtown Kalamazoo

New in 2010. This place is located next door to the venerable Michigan News Agency. It was formerly a coffee joint. The Studio Grill is a great addition to the downtown dining scene. They still are a coffee shop, bakery as well as a unique one of a kind restaurant. Their claim to fame are their stuffed burgers! They are really good. Made with always fresh ground beef. I had the Craig's burger marinated in buffalo sauce, stuffed with pepperjack cheese and sweet onion topped off with cheese and spicy buffalo sauce. Craig's is named after the husband half of the ownership. They have a spicy-sweet pineapple burger or kalifornia king burger plus several other unique offerings. They also allow you to create your own. Try the large selection of hot dogs or deli sandwiches as well. Even though the stuffed burgers are the thing, they also make a very nice breakfast with lots of choices of omelets, pancakes, french toast and their fresh bakery items. Click the name to go to the results page.

Mar 20, 2010

Very special Chicago style eats in Kalamazoo!

This place is non-descript from the outside and mostly take-out on the inside with only four stools at a counter for seating. However, once you have had the food at Ray Rays Italian Beef & Sausage , it will keep you coming back. The italian beef is great either plain or "dipped". Maybe add hot giardinieria peppers or even add italian sausage. The pulled pork is cooked out back on charcoal and comes with hot or mild bbq sauce. I like the hot! The fries are cut fresh and may be the best in town. My wife loves the bbq chicken which she gets with the hot bbq sauce and it falls off the bone. Real "Maxwell St." polish sausage, chicago dogs and several hamburger choices will satisfy a diverse crowd. Call first if you want their famous italian meatball sandwich, they run out often! Find this place and you will thank anyone who told you about it. Thanks Lindsey!

Mar 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day! Where to eat?

Lots of good places to celebrate and eat meat! In particular corned beef with cabbage. This is the celebration in the middle of lent. St. Patrick (387-461a.d.) was from England and was brought to Ireland by raiders and held captive for six years. Later, after getting free and returning home he became a priest and returned to Ireland to spread the gospel. Legend has it that he used the 3 leafed clover to explain the Trinity to his pagan audience. He became the Patron Saint of Ireland and the date of his death is celebrated with a feast day. The celebration in his honor originally was bacon and cabbage. Their bacon was more akin to canadian bacon or ham. In the late 1880's the Irish in the U.S. were too poor to afford the bacon and their Jewish neighbors introduced them to corned beef, which was cheaper.
Check the guide under cuisine for Irish/English pubs. Many of the breweries that offer food will have a nice feast today with a special Irish brew. Also, several bar and grills will offer specials for today. In the guide, search under specialty for Irish food. Have fun, take in the green river in Chicago or the green ice at Wings Stadium. Wear some green and celebrate this patron saint with some good food and drink!

Mar 12, 2010

Do you like diners? New addition in Three Rivers

Since 1969. This place seems small from the outside, the inside is larger than you would think and nicely decorated as a diner. Try Goldies Diner in Three Rivers for this town's "readers choice" award winning "best burger". Chicago dogs, newly added pulled pork cooked on premises for 10 hrs! Good pizza and everyone goes to get Sherman's ice cream. Click on their name in this paragraph for more details and their menu is on their website.

Mar 7, 2010

Best burger in Jackson?

This place has won the Jackson Citizen Patriot readers choice award for Best Burger for several years in a row. Schlenker's Sandwich Shop has beaten some very stiff competition. Jackson has some great burger places! Maybe it helps that they have been open since 1927. This is a small burger joint that seats a few people around a U shaped counter. The burgers are served wrapped in wax paper. Fries and pie are good. Great burger! Click on their name in this paragraph for more review and details.

Mar 5, 2010

Great pizza near Jackson

This place has one of the best stuffed pizza's you will find. That and a great sports bar atmosphere make Klavon's Pizzeria & Pub a must visit. They have a large menu with lots of other pizza, sub and sandwich offerings, including burgers. Click on their name in this paragraph to be taken directly to their info. Take the whole family or just go watch the game. Very nice place! It is worth the short trip in the country to get to it.

Feb 26, 2010

Hidden away in Jackson

You could visit Jackson for years and never find this place. Someone has to tell you about it, then you have to map it, because it is a former house in a residential neighborhood. However, it will be worth it when you find the Oak Tree Lounge. This place is a popular lunch spot for downtown workers and a nice bar and grill for dinner. Known for their five daily homemade soups from original recipes, like white chicken chili, corn chowder or creamy tomato. Great burgers and many other sandwiches. How about hand dipped fish? Small place but cozy. Many original items like their voo doo chicken sandwich. You will see why this place is a local favorite. Full bar and great food. My kind of place.

Feb 21, 2010

New addition in South Haven

You may think I am starting to lose it, but you have to prove me wrong. Check out the Lakeside Entertainment Center bowling alley with attached bar and restaurant for a really nice menu! How about their famous seafood chowder as a prelude to all you can eat whitefish on friday night. Do you like mahi mahi, lake perch, alaskan pollock, clam strips or yellowfin tuna steak? They have it served several ways. Like steak instead? How about a new york strip, prime rib or a blackened delmonico. Nice sandwich selection, but be sure to try the burgers. The pizza looked very good as well. Like wraps? Try the moroccan chicken wrap with a spinach dressing. Lots of appetizers like oysters on the half shell or shrimp jammers. I would not have believed this place was good if I had not tried it more than once. Check out the guide for details.

Feb 18, 2010

Nice BBQ in Jackson

This fairly new place has really caught on. Nice southern atmosphere and excellent BBQ at the Rocky Top Beer BBQ in Jackson. Meats smoked for 12 hours. Even smoked prime rib. Their hot spicy bbq sauce is great on the pulled pork or beef brisket. Try deep fried twinkies or deep fried corn on the cob. How about some sweet potato or pecan pie with a big mason jar of sweet tea. Large menu and full bar. Check out the guide for longer review and all the details.

Feb 12, 2010

Great place in Downtown Jackson!

This place in Jackson has it all. An owner/chef formerly of the Common Grill in Chelsea. A great old building with brick walls, high ceilings & hardwood floors. A complete, creative menu. Live entertainment and great service. Daryl's Downtown has become the place for a nice business lunch, cocktails or great dinner in Jackson. Their fresh in house baked dinner rolls are so good that many people buy them to take home! Known for great fish, they also do a really nice job with their chicken and steaks. They have one of my favorite salads as well. Check out the guide for more review and details.