Chick-fil-A – South Bend, IN

7 10 2009
  • 4555 S. Michigan Avenue
  • South Bend, IN 46614
  • (574) 968-0351
  • Website
  • Menu
Chick-fil-A on Michigan Street in South Bend, IN

Chick-fil-A on Michigan Avenue in South Bend, IN

Getting closer.  The final day of our honeymoon started awfully early in the morning.  We got up and got going because we wanted to go apartment hunting in Kalamazoo.  Since it was still a four hour drive from Indianapolis to Kalamazoo, we got on the road early. 

 

Around South Bend, we started getting hungry.  All week we had been saying we needed to top at a Chick-fil-A for lunch.   We hadn’t up until this point and South Bend was probably going to be our last chance.  J took out the GPS to see if there was one close and there just so happened to be one right near our next turn

Let me backtrack a little bit with the whole Chick-fil-A thing.  For whatever reason, a couple guys I used to work with loved the place.  There was one location in Bloomington, IL on the campus of Illinois State University in one of the resident hall dining rooms.  We had a recent college grad working with us who lived in Bloomington and periodically, she would treat the guys to Chick-fil-A.  I never got it.  It’s like Sonic to me.  It looked, smelled, and tasted like fast food. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skyline Chili – W. 86th St., Indianapolis

7 10 2009
  • 3524 W. W. 86th Street
  • Indianapolis, IN 46268
  • (317) 872-2266
  • Website
  • Menu
Skyline Chili on W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Skyline Chili on W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Our trip was winding down and we needed one more hotel before making our way back to Mid-Michigan.  We initially planned on driving the whole way back to Lansing because I was supposed to work on Friday.  That got cancelled so we decided to break the nine-hour trip into two parts with a stop over in Indianapolis.

 

I really didn’t want to spend a lot on a hotel, so I did Priceline.  I said I wanted a hotel for $30 and someone took the offer.  It wasn’t a four star in downtown, but all we really needed was a place to sleep. 

As we were driving to our hotel, we passed a Skyline Chili.  Neither of us had ever eaten at one and the only reason I had ever heard of it is because of the Big ‘n Rich song Coming To Your City which has the lyric…

Well we blew through Cincinatti
And we all got really happy
Grabbed a bowl of that Skyline Chili along the way

Since our trip was essentially a country music/BBQ experience, it makes sense that we headed back for some chili.

Skyline Chili has six locations in the Greater Indianapolis area.  The one we chose was the location on West 86th Street on the northwest side of town.  It’s in a little strip mall just off Michigan Road with a number of other fast food and chain restaurants.  Read the rest of this entry »





Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint – Nolensville, TN

6 10 2009
  • 7215 Nolensville Road
  • Nolensville, TN 37135
  • (615) 776-1856
  • Website
  • Menu
Martins Bar-B-Que in Nolensville, TN

Martin's Bar-B-Que in Nolensville, TN

One more chance for BBQ before leaving Tennessee.  J and I got up just before lunch time in Nashville.  Our next stop was four hours away in Indianapolis where we were going to spend the night before going apartment hunting in Kalamazoo.  It seemed like a good stopping point. 

One of my “must see” stops was a BBQ joint in Nolensville, TN.  I thought it was north of Nashville but it actually ended up being a half hour south.  I was ready to just skip it, but J talked me into it.  We were in no hurry to get to Indy, so why not get one more good meal before heading home.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is one of Nashville’s best.  It’s on Nolensville Road just outside of Nolensville, TN.  I actually heard about this place from the same Bon Apetit article that raved about Slow’s and Zingerman’s Roadhouse. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I found was not it.  For some odd reason, I was under the impression this was going to be more of a sit down restaurant.  What we found was a small, neighborhood BBQ joint. Read the rest of this entry »





Wildhorse Saloon – Nashville, TN

6 10 2009
  • 120 2nd Avenue
  • Nashville, TN 37201
  • (615) 256-9453
  • Website
  • Menu
The Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Street in Nashville, TN

The Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Street in Nashville, TN

While BBQ may have been the thing I was most looking forward to on our trip, line dancing at the world famous Wild Horse Saloon may have been J’s. 

We weren’t planning on being in Nashville long.  We did our trip to the Opry, checked into the hotel, relaxed a little bit,  then headed downtown for dinner and dancing.

The Wildhorse Saloon is on 2nd Street in downtown Nashville.  It’s an old warehouse that has been converted into a three story bar.  The tree lined street that runs in front of it is sort of narrow, but there is street parking on either side.  The first time we drove by, we missed it.  The trees must have been covering the sign.  As we were driving around the block, we found the back service entrance, made a note of which businesses were around it, then drove back around to 2nd Street to try again. 

Once we spotted the building, we started looking for parking.  I didn’t see any garages, but I got lucky and found street parking right across the street.  The meters were off, so we didn’t have to pay to park in downtown Nashville. 

The Wildhorse doubles as a bar/restaurant and an entertainment venue.  There’s a gift shop with a separate entrance then the restaurant entrance.  There’s a ticket window inside the first set of double doors.  There was a cover the night we were there, but it was only $2, so I didn’t balk.  I was expecting it to be more. Read the rest of this entry »





Grand Ole Opry – Nashville, TN

6 10 2009
  • 2802 Opryland Drive
  • Nashville, TN 37214
  • (615) 871-6779
  • Website
The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN

I don’t know when it happened, but at one point when I was living in Peoria, I started listening to country music.  Growing up, I hated the stuff.  Only the “hicks” at my school of 400 listened to country music and I wanted to be cool, so I listened to hip hop.  Thankfully, I grew out of that phase, but I was left in radio limbo.  What do I listen to?  I tried to be interested in classic rock, but no luck.  The radio station I worked at in school was a Top 40, so that’s what I ended up listening to. 

Since my job in Peoria involved me being ina car most of the day, I just tuned in the Top 40 station.  After hearing the same Jessica Simpson song eight times in one day, I started scanning the radio.  I ended up on a country station from Galesburg, IL which is about 35 west of Peoria.  I just started listening and eventually, the music grew on me. 

Now, J and I are big country music fans.  We’ve seen almost every major star in concert and used to religiously watch CMT’s Top 20 Countdown.  When we decided to go to Tennessee for our honeymoon, there had to be a stop in Nashville.

After eating lunch at Neely’s Bar-B-Que, we headed across town to check out the major country music attraction in Nashville.  The Grand Ole Opry. Read the rest of this entry »





Neely’s Bar-B-Que – Nashville, TN

4 10 2009
  • 2292 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard
  • Nashville, TN 37228
  • (615) 251-8895
  • Website
  • Menu
Neelys Bar-B-Q in Nashville.

Neely's Bar-B-Q in Nashville.

When J and I were planning our honeymoon, we decided we were doing a BBQ tour.  Originally, the plan included a stop in Memphis, but once we realized how far Memphis was from not only Nashville, but Lansing, we scrapped that part and will hit it later.  I was a little bummed.  I could spend a few days in Memphis just eating.  Screw the sights, bring me some good Q! 

Since we were going to Nashville, I knew there was still a way to get that good BBQ.  There’s one Memphis family who has a Nashville location as well and once we left Pigeon Forge, we went straight there.

Neely’s BBQ is on Nashville’s northwest side.  It’s located inside the Waterfront Plaza on Rosa L. Parks Boulevard which also goes at Metrocenter Blvd…at least according to our GPS.  When coming from I-65, it’s really hard to see.  In fact, we missed it and almost missed on the return trip.  It sits a little ways off the road and there are so many trees in front that you can’t see the sign.  There’s no signage out by the street either.  I could smell bbq, but I couldn’t find it.  Read the rest of this entry »





Krystal – Pigeon Forge, TN

4 10 2009
  • 2041 Parkway
  • Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
  • (865) 908-3210
  • Website
  • Menu
Krystal on The Parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN

Krystal on The Parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN

For someone who likes to think I know a lot about food and restaurants, I felt a little ignorant the first time I saw a sign for Krystal.  J and I were driving through Sevierville, TN on the way to our cabin.  I knew it looked like fast food, but I had never heard of it.  J said she thought it was like a White Castle.  That was a turn off to me, but we also thought it would be fun to try something new. 

As we were leaving Pigeon Forge on Wednesday morning, J suggested stopping.  It was early and I was hungry.  We had a three hour drive to Nashville where we already had lunch plans, so getting a little something to eat wasn’t a bad idea. 

The Krystal in Pigeon Forge is right on the Parkway.  We pulled in probably a little after 9:00 and the place was empty.  In fact, we were wondering if it was even open.  There were maybe two cars in the lot, but it looked dark inside.  We pulled in and saw people moving.  I tried the door and it opened so we went in. 

Krystal is apparently a pretty large chain.  They were founded in 1932 in Chattanooga, TN.  One of the original owners actually visited White Castle restaurants and took notes.  Today, Krystal is commonly referred to as the White Castle of the South.  Read the rest of this entry »





It’s Time For a Change…

2 10 2009

I knew this day was coming.  I just wasn’t expecting it for at least another six months or so. 

The day before our wedding, J got a call from her boss.  Her job in Lansing has been eliminated and she’s being transferred to Kalamazoo.  The timing was awful, but it’s actually a huge step up for J so it is something we are really excited about.  With the new job comes another move. 

When J and I moved to Lansing a year and a half ago, we didn’t really have intentions of making Lansing a permanent home.  We did expect to spend a little more time here than we did and we grew to like Mid-Michigan.  We’ve had a lot of fun adventerous.  We got to see Traverse City, Mackinac Island, two Tigers games, a Michigan football game, an MSU men’s basketball game, Hell, and Frankenmuth.  We took my first trip out of the country when I bought J tickets to see a concert in Windsor for Christmas.  A few months later, we took my parents gambling in Canada….a trip my mom still talks about.  We took my niece to her first baseball game at Comerica Park this past July and we had pizza at Buddy’s which still freaks my family out.  We’ve been to The Henry Ford.  We took an inpromptu trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.  We’ve shopped in Birch Run and loved the outlets in Howell.  All of this while being centrally located in Lansing. 

Most importantly, J and I got engaged in Lansing.  Neither of us will ever forget our kitchen table where I set the ring for her to find when she came home from the gym.  We planned a wedding and got married while we were Lansing residents.  J even bought me cuff links for the ceremony that had a map of Peoria, IL and Lansing, MI.  One for where we met…and one for where we got engaged.  No matter where we go from here, we’ll always remember Lansing.

I’m not sure when the move will happen yet.  I know it will be very soon and before the end of October.  I’m going to keep my blog going, but as SW Michigan Dining.  Mid-Michigan Dining will still be somewhat active.  I’ll be making the drive back to East Lansing quite often as I picked up a lot of work this fall and winter.  I’ll, at the very least, cross post, but more than likely, have unique posts only on this blog. 

It’s been fun.  It’s been hard at times and not having a full time job in over a year and a half was challenging.  Luckily, I’m in a business where I can find work here or there and make a pretty good day out of it.  We’ve seen a lot of this state and been able to sample just about everything Mid-Michigan has to offer in the culinary world. 

Thank you to the over 200 people who, for some reason, care about what I have to say and have followed me on Twitter.  Thanks for the handful of people who comment frequently and get engaged in conversation.  Thank you to eveyrone who has stopped by looking for something to eat in Mid-Michigan.   

Don’t delete me off Twitter yet and if you’re ever looking for something in the Southwest part of the state, don’t forget to look me up….





KT’s Bar & Grill – Sevierville, TN

2 10 2009
  • 1641 Parkway
  • Sevierville, TN 37862
  • (865) 428-1991
  • Website
  • Menu
KTs Bar & Grill on The Parkway in Sevierville, TN

KT's Bar & Grill on The Parkway in Sevierville, TN

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a local place in a tourist town. J and I went on a quest to find something that wasn’t going to be cheesey or touristy, but we didn’t have an Internet connection in our cabin, so it was real hard to research. I can’t tell you the last time we went without Internet for 48 hours, but we made do.

The plan was to head back in to Sevierville because we noticed a county courthouse on the way in. There’s got to be a pub or something near the courthouse, right? I mean, where do employees go for dinner and a beer?

Well, it’s not in downtown Sevierville, that’s for sure. There was nothing. One place but it looked fancy and didn’t have a menu outside so we passed. Instead, J got her GPS out of her purse to see what sounded local.

When she turned it on, our location was back in Sevierrville near our cabin. She found a place with the word “grill” in it, so that’s where we went.  Read the rest of this entry »





Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Gatlinburg, TN

2 10 2009
  • 88 River Road
  • Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • (865) 430-8808
  • Website
Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

I wasn’t going to write about any of the attractions we went to, but this was too good to not say something about. 

Usually, I’m not a fan of aquariums. When I was little, I was forced to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago more times than I would have liked. In fact, one was too many. I hated it. It was so boring. So, when one of our friends recommended Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies we were skeptical but willing to give it a shot. 

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is just off The Parkway in Gatlinburg. It’s one of the first things you run into if you’re coming from Pigeon Forge (which is a beautiful drive, btw). In true Ripley’s fashion, the building itself is something to look at. It doesn’t have the stuffy feeling of a museum and it’s not an old building with Gothic architecture. It’s a modern design with a lot of glass. 

The ticket window is actually outside before you get to the main doors. The cost for adults was $20, but like I told J, that was cheaper than the freakin ferry ride to Mackinac Island, so in the grand scheme of things, it probably wasn’t that bad. The ticket lady tried to get us to buy tickets to other Ripley attractions in town which would have saved money if we were going to more than one, but we weren’t. 

After getting tickets, we headed inside where another person ripped our tickets and sent us on our way.  Read the rest of this entry »