Bull’s Pit Smoked BBQ – Kankakee, IL

25 08 2008
  • 125 W. Staion St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 932-2399
  • Website
  • Menu
Bulls Pit Smoked BBQ in Kankakee, IL

Bull's Pit Smoked BBQ in Kankakee, IL

Kankakee is the closest big town comapred to the tiny town of 750 people where I grew up.  People who live in that small town, work in the Kankakee/Bradley/Bourbonnais tri-city area and they do a majority of their shopping, entertaining and dining out there as well.  For the longest time, I had the same complaint about Kankakee that I did about Lansing.  There was no good barbecue joint.  That finally changed at the beginning of 2008.

A girl I went to high school with and her husband opened up the first BBQ joint in the area that I’m aware of.  They turned an old building near downtown Kankakee into a great Memphis style smokehouse.  I made my first trip to Bull’s just after it opened with my brother.  At that time, I had a few complaints, but loved the BBQ.  My girlfriend and I were heading from her parents in Chicago to mine south of Kankakee for a weekend of drinking and catching up with old friends.  Along the way, I wanted to stop and try Bull’s again to see if the little things I didn’t like had improved.

Like I said, Bull’s is located just off of downtown Kankakee.  Downtown has been run down for years and there’s not much there other than a bank, a liquor store, and a movie theater.  There’s a couple business along the main road, but nothing that you would make a destination.  Bull’s changes that.  The business is located in a pretty non-descript building on Station St.  There is a parking lot, but we found spot on the street in front of the store.  There’s just a sign out front that lets you know you’re in the right place…that is until you get out and smell the smoke.  Once inside, you have to make a left to get to the order counter.  The layout is a little wierd with two rooms downstairs.  One is the kitchen/order area.  The other is the dining room.  There are only a few tables, but there is a bar that runs the whole length of the room with pub stools.  It really gives the feel of a Southern BBQ lunch spot.  The staircase to go to the upstairs dining room is right as you enter the door.  It’s a massive feature and takes up and good portion of the building.  Read the rest of this entry »





Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Oak Lawn, IL

22 08 2008
  • 4020 W. 95th St.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 422-1384
  • Website
  • Menu
Portillos Hot Dogs on 95th St. in Oak Lawn near Chicago

Portillo's Hot Dogs on 95th St. in Oak Lawn near Chicago

I said this a month ago when I reviewed the Portillo’s in Crestwood, IL (review HERE).  I LOVE PORTILLO’S!  The thing I miss the most about Illinois and Chicago cuisine is the Italian Beef sandwich so anytime I get a chance to get one, I make sure I do. 

J and I were at her parents before continuing our trip south to my parents for the annual Homecoming celebration.  We got in late and had plans to go to a 24 hour restaurant for breakfast, but we were too tired and just went to bed.  When we woke up, both of us were starving.  After playing Mario Kart Wii with her mom for a while, we got up and went looking for lunch.  J asked what I wanted and I said I didn’t care.  She knows me all too well and suggested Portillo’s.  I thought we were going to the one on Cicero we always go to, but she said there was one closer to her parents place near Christ Hospital.  Read the rest of this entry »





Another Illinois Weekend

21 08 2008

I apologize in advance for the lack of Mid-Michigan updates that will happen this weekend.  We’re heading back to my hometown in Illinois for the annual Homecoming celebration.  Along the way, we’ve got plans for a couple stops in Chicago, Kankakee, and we’ll see what else comes up.  Maybe on Sunday we’ll stop along the way for dinner.  I’ve been pushing for Redamak’s in New Buffalo for the past couple months, so we’ll see if that happens this time.  

I hope I’m not boring you too much with our travels.  I know it seems like we’ve been going to Illinois a lot this summer and we have.  That should slow down now that summer’s over.  I have to go to Champaign once for football and I’m going to Indianapolis next week…also for football, but other than that, we won’t be heading south again until the middle of October. 

I try to keep this blog kind of journal.  I think it’s important to tell stories and not just tell you what I think.  I like for you to see who we are even though I’m aware I’ve never used names or elaborated on what exactly we do or where we work.  I’ve provided just enough clues to hopefully keep you strung along.  I’ve always felt a good blog is one that updates everyday and tells a story, but those stories have to be interesting even if you don’t know the people involved so that’s why I also blog on trips like I do at home. 

If this bores you, come back Monday for regular updates.  If for some reason you’re intrigued, there will be some more travel updates probably starting tomorrow. 

For whatever reason you read and however you found this blog, thank you.  I appreciate those of you that keep coming back and giving us suggestions and you’re opinions on dining in Mid-Michigan.  That’s the reason I started this blog.  It’s not about me being vain.  It’s about an open dialogue of food and restaurants specifically targeting the Lansing area.





Panera Bread – Lansing Mall

21 08 2008
  • 5300 W. Saginaw Hwy
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 703-9340
  • Website
  • Menu
Panera Bread located inside the Lansing Mall on Saginaw Highway in Lansing

Panera Bread located inside the Lansing Mall on Saginaw Highway in Lansing

I used to be scared of Panera Bread.  I always assumed there is nothing there I would like because they didn’t make greasy hamburgers and fries.  My girlfriend finally got me there one day while we were doing some extended work in Decatur, IL.  We had exhausted all of the downtown restaurant options and another lady we were working with had mentioned she was going to Panera Bread.  I decided not to argue and went along for the ride.  To my surprise, I actually found quite a bit there that sounded and looked good.  Panera has always been a standby for J.  She eats there pretty much every time she has to work in Kalamazoo or anytime she has to find someplace to eat and I’m not with her.

Today, we needed to run to Horrocks before heading back to Illinois for the weekend.  J just wanted a salad for lunch and asked if there was a Panera close.  The only one I could think of was the one at the Lansing Mall so after we grabbed what we needed from Horrocks, we headed down Saginaw Highway to the mall.  Read the rest of this entry »





Welcome Enlightened Spartan Viewers

21 08 2008

I’ve noticed the last couple days that a lot of hits are coming from the Enlightened Spartan website.  For those of you finding this blog for the first time, thanks for checking it out and I hope you find something you like.  For those of you regular readers, make sure to check out Enlightened Spartan for some incredible Spartan sports coverage.





McDonald’s – Holt

20 08 2008
  • 2400 S. Cedar St.
  • Holt, MI 48842
  • (517) 694-9431
  • Website
  • Menu
The McDonalds on South Cedar St. in Holt

The McDonald's on South Cedar St. in Holt

Surprisingly, McDonald’s is one of my favorite fast food restaurants.  I don’t eat there often because I don’t eat fast food all that much, but I do really like their “burgers.”  Since moving to Lansing, I haven’t eaten at one even though there is one right down the road from our place.  J and I needed to make a run to Target this morning to get a diaper bag and some bottles…..for my brother who’s wife is expecting my first niece in about seven weeks.  While we were out, we decided to just run and grab lunch instead of coming home and trying to make something.

J wants to get back on the Weight Watchers diet and the only way it will work is if I get on it too.  I’m not super excited about it because it takes away all the foods I like and makes me eat larger portions of the foods I don’t.  But, she wants to do it and I want to help her, so I’ll do my best. 

Since she wants to start this diet, my usual double quarter pounder with cheese value meal isn’t really an option.  For the first time since I was five and ordering happy meals, I ordered something other than the #4.  I didn’t really know what any of their salads were so I just ordered what J did.  We both got the Southwestern salad.  I got grilled chicken and she got crispy chicken. Read the rest of this entry »





The Peanut Barrel

19 08 2008
  • 521 E. Grand River Ave.
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-0608
  • Website
  • Menu
The Peanut Barrel on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing across the street from Michigan State University

The Peanut Barrel on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing across the street from Michigan State University

The Peanut Barrel is one of the restaurants that have been our list since we moved here.  One of our first weekends in Lansing, we went to check out East Lansing and MSU.  We walked by the Peanut Barrel and the patio area was full with a long wait, so we didn’t stop.  Every other time we’ve been down that way, the situation was the same, so we’ve always passed.  Those times were always weekends which makes sense.  Lots of students with families in town.  We finally made it to East Lansing on a Tuesday morning right before lunch and thought it would be the perfect time to try to get a seat outside. 

My girlfriend needed to go to the Secretary of State’s Office.  I asked her which one and she just said one near a restaurant we haven’t been to.  The Mason branch is the closest, but there’s not a lot of restaurants around there.  I thought I remembered seeing a branch in East Lansing and there are still a ton of restaurants in that area that we haven’t been to, so that’s where I went.  Like all trips to the SOS office, it never goes smoothly.  We had to drive all the way back home to get something and go back.  Same thing happened to me last time I went.  Why do they have to make it so damn hard? Read the rest of this entry »