McDonald’s – W. Saginaw & Vermillion

23 11 2009
  • 7240 W. Saginaw Highway
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 323-2228
  • Website
  • Menu

My quest for cheap meals went on with one of the most obvious choices when it comes to dining on the cheap. 

My first day of work in East Lansing ended around 8:30.  I was exhausted and headed straight for my hotel.  As I was driving across town on I-496, I was trying to picture what I could grab quickly and eat in my  hotel room.  I was drawing blank, but I knew there were a couple options right there near the Red Roof Inn.

Like most cities, Lansing is littered with McDonald’s.  I chose the location on West Saginaw Highway and Vermillion Road in Delta Township for one reason.  It was close to where I was going. 

Being 9:00 at night on a Thursday meant I should be able to get in and get out in a hurry.  I’m not a drive thru fan.  In fact, I despise them.  Unless I absolutely have to, I never use them.  If J forces me to, she leans across the seat and yells into the speaker.  I guess I don’t speak clearly or something because I never have good luck.  I’d rather just take the extra few minutes and walk inside.  No one has ever died from getting out of their car for a hamburger. Read the rest of this entry »





Pixie

9 10 2009
  • 302 N. Mission Street
  • Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
  • (989) 772-7494
  • Website
  • Menu
Pixie on North Mission in Mt. Pleasant.

Pixie on North Mission in Mt. Pleasant.

Back before we had any idea we were moving to Kalamazoo, I took a job in Mt. Pleasant for this weekend.  From Lansing, it’s not so bad, but it gets to be a long way from Kalamazoo.  Fortunately, my employer got me a hotel for Friday night, so I was able to travel during the afternoon.

When I got into town, I checked in then went looking for food.  I tried a BBQ place recommended in the hotel book, but they were closed.  I then went to a restaurant downtown I saw a billboard for on the way in.  Luckily they had a menu outside and it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. 

By now, I was hungry and a little annoyed.  I just wanted to eat. 

As I was driving to my first two locations, I drove by an old drive in on Mission Street.  I knew I was close so I went looking for it again. 

Pixie is on North Mission and East Chippewa Street in Mt. Pleasant.  I would say it’s a retro 50’s style diner, but they actually got their start in 1948 when Norman LaBelle decided to open a restaurant.  The Pixie has been in business ever since. 

At one time, the Pixie was a drive in with carhops and a complete menu.  Today, they’re a cross between fast food and casual dining.  Read the rest of this entry »





Sonic Drive-In – Portage, MI

8 10 2009
  • 349 Romence Road
  • Portage, MI 49024
  • (269) 324-7777
  • Website
  • Menu
The Sonic Drive-In in Portage, MI

The Sonic Drive-In in Portage, MI

J and I have been in Kalamazoo all of a few hours and where do you think our first stop to eat was? We’re kind of moving in trips. My brother has helped me everytime I’ve had to move (and it’s been quite a few times) and he can’t get up here until Oct. 17. It’s not a huge deal because our apartment has a ridiculous break penalty (if there’s any legislators reading this, after you solve the budget, you should look into this…besides the two months rent, they’re charging us $20 A DAY for 60 days because we didn’t give them 60 days notice…re-f^%king-diculous..and not spelled out in the lease, so it comes out to 4 months rent) so we’ve got the Lansing apartment until the end of October.

We made the first of two trips with our cars loaded down. After unloading and doing some organizing, we realized it was after 3:00 and we hadn’t had a thing to eat all day.

It was no surprise to me where J wanted to go. I’m surprised I even asked. 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 »





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 »





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 »





Pottery House Cafe & Grill – Pigeon Forge, TN

1 10 2009
  • 3341 Old Mill Street
  • Pigeon Forge, TN 37868
  • (865) 453-6002
  • Website
  • Menu
Pottery House Cafe & Grill in the Old Mill District of Pigeon Forge, TN

Pottery House Cafe & Grill in the Old Mill District of Pigeon Forge, TN

Day two in the Smoky Mountains began with lunch. We started to drive towards The Parkway which is where all the attractions are in Gatlinburg when J said she sort of wanted breakfast. Had I continued the way I was going, we would have ran into about a dozen different pancake houses, but as we were driving on Dollywood Lane, I saw a sign for The Old Mill Restaurat. 

We headed back for the Old Mill, but when we got there, while it looked cool, the menu was too “old lady-ish” according to J. I could have found something to eat, but it didn’t do much for me either. 

Instead of getting in the car, we started walking around the Old Mill District which has a number of cute little shops. Across the street, I saw a cafe and we found a menu that was more our style. 

The Pottery House Cafe and Grill sits on Old Mill Street in Pigeon Forge’s Old Mill District. The whole area is cute and sort of rustic and The Pottery House fits that style. The restaurant is off the road a little bit, but they put menus out near the sidewalk. We liked what we saw so we walked up. Read the rest of this entry »





Kuma’s Corner – Chicago, IL

24 09 2009
  • 2900 W. Belmont Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60618
  • (773) 604-8769
  • Website
  • Menu
Kumas Corner on W. Belmont on Chicagos northside.

Kuma's Corner on W. Belmont on Chicago's northside.

 We finally made plans to make the trip the north side of Chicago.  We had to pick up the first of three out-of-town bridesmaids who flew in early to stay with another friend who lived in Bucktown.  We offered just to pick her up at her friend’s place because it was only a ten minute drive to West Belmont and I’d finally get to chow down on Illinois’ best burger.

Kuma’s Corner is on the corner of West Belmont Avenue and North Francisco Avenue in Chicago’s Avondale Neighborhood.  It’s an old corner building that doesn’t look like it should house such a popular restaurant.  The door was open and there were people spilling out when we drove by.  Like most of these neighborhood places, there is no specific parking.  You’re own your own to find something along the street.  Read the rest of this entry »





MBC

17 09 2009
  • 402 S. Washington Square
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 977-1349
  • Website
  • Menu
MBC on Washington Square in downtown Lansing.

MBC on Washington Square in downtown Lansing.

The wait is over.  The Michigan Brewing Company put the “Coming Soon” sign on their building in downtown Lansing over a year ago.  I would drive  by every now and then to see if there was any progress.  I would periodically send e-mails to the marketing department in Webberville to see if they would give me anything, but never could get a solid answer.  All of a sudden, a few weeks ago, I saw a Tweet from Lansing PSD that MBC was opening.

The plan all along was to run some errands this morning then head downtown for lunch.  Of course, City Pulse beat me to the punch with an article in this week’s edition. 

MBC is near the corner of Washington Square and Kalamazoo Street.  The parking available is in front of the building in angled street parking.  There are a few spaces directly in front of the building, but more than likely, you’ll have to park and walk.  Not a big deal as there is plenty of parking spaces along Washington Square.

The building is dominated by windows that let in a lot of natural light.  When you first walk in, there’s a little lounge area off to the left with comfy red chairs and some bar stools.  Right in front of you is a hostess station that divides the remaining space into two distinct areas.  On the left is the bar area.  They have a beautiful bar along the far left wall as well as a couple pub tables.  The chairs at these pub tables are made of wood and have a ring around the bottom that looks like it was once part of a wooden barrel.  The rest of the bar area is filled in with regular tables that run along a half wall that separates the bar from the dining room.  The whole space has a somewhat industrial feel to it with high ceilings and low ambient lighting.  A majority of the light comes from the natural light that floods in through the large windows that make up the facade. Read the rest of this entry »





National Coney Station

15 09 2009
  • 565 E. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-2100
  • Website
  • Menu
National Coney Station on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

National Coney Station on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

As readers of this blog know, the thing I love most about food is regional cuisine.  Sure, I may not like everything that makes a region popular, but I love the idea that no matter where you grew up, there’s going to be some brand, food, or preparation technique that will always make you think of home. 

In Michigan, that food is the Coney Dog.  I’m not a hot dog eater, so it’s not something that I’ve been able to adapt to.  I’ve tried it once and wasn’t a huge fan only because I don’t like the dog.  The chili is delicious and I could eat that without the hot dogs.

There are always imitators when it comes to a region’s marquee cuisine.  Yeah, you can get a coney dog here in Lansing, but up until last week, you couldn’t get it from one of the big names in Detroit coney’s.

National Coney Station opened up on Grand River Avenue in the building that was most recently Moe’s Firehouse.  Before that, it was a Spartan Gyro.  National Coney did a lot of work to the building to clean it up.  I never got a chance to eat at Moe’s before it closed, but for some reason, the place always scared me a little bit. 

National Coney Station is not quite the same as the National Coney Island restaurants you’re familiar with in Detroit.  They’re owned by the same company, but they’re designed to be more of a quickservice restaurant.  The menu is much, much smaller having only nine choices plus some a la cart items.  Read the rest of this entry »