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 »





Courtside Cafe

28 08 2009
  • 101 N. Washington Street
  • Owosso, MI 48867
  • (989) 720-8161
  • Website
  • Menu
The Courtside Cafe on Washington Street in Owosso.

The Courtside Cafe on Washington Street in Owosso.

J and I made a trip to Owosso to conduct a little business.  It took a little longer than we expected and J had to be back in Lansing to get work.  It was pushing noon by the time we were done and we wanted to grab lunch before heading home. 

I did a little research and found a sandwich shop in downtown Owosso. Since we were heading back that way, I put the address in the GPS to get us back to where we needed to be.  My hope was we could get in and get out pretty quickly because we were really pushing the time limit now. 

The Courtside Cafe is in downtown Owosso on the corner of Main and Washington Streets.  It’s a small corner building on a very busy intersection.  We actually couldn’t even find parking near the building.  We ended up having to park a block down and around the corner. 

The Courtside Cafe is not what I expected.  It’s actually a sit down restaurant with servers. I was just expecting a place to grab a sandwich from a counter.  There was a lunch counter and that’s where J and I headed.  We grabbed a server and asked if we could put in a carry-out order.  She said she’d be right back which gave us time to look over the menu. 

The food at the Courtside Cafe is what you expect from this kind of place.  There are a number of sandwiches listed by number on the menu.  There are some salads, soups, quesidila’s, and even some baked goods from Zingerman’s.  No deep fryer which means no fries.  Read the rest of this entry »





Honeybaked Ham Cafe – Lansing

9 07 2009
  • 5601 W. Saginaw Highway
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 327-5008
  • Website
  • Menu
The Honeybaked Ham Company and Cafe on W. Saginaw Highway in Lansing.

The Honeybaked Ham Company and Cafe on W. Saginaw Highway in Lansing.

Merry Christmas!  Yes, I know it’s July, but J and I finally cashed in her Christmas present from work.  We were out in Delta Township with a number of errands to run.  Before we left the house, I suggested we finally use the $50 gift certificate from Honeybaked Ham for lunch.  I think we both almost forgot about it and since it’s good until next Christmas, we just kept putting it off.  My family is coming to town this weekend, so picking up some extra lunch meat sounded like a good idea.

The Honeybaked Ham Company and Cafe is in one of the many little strip malls across the street from the Lansing Mall on West Saginaw Highway.  I have had the boxed lunches from Honeybaked Ham before, but I’ve never been in a store.  J said her mom used to stop and pick up a whole ham, but she hadn’t eaten lunch there either. 

The store is pretty small with an order counter, a couple tables, and some displays of gourmet pantry items.  The menu board is above the coolers behind the counter.  Since we had a gift certificate, we had to spend the whole thing.  The plan was to get lunch for both of us today and get some sliced meat to take home for the weekend.  Read the rest of this entry »





Baja Grille

5 07 2009
  • 402 S. Jefferson Street
  • Mason, MI 48854
  • (517) 244-1181
  • Website
  • Menu
Baja Grille on South Jefferson Street in Mason.

Baja Grille on South Jefferson Street in Mason.

We’re finding out that the thing to do on the Fourth of July in Michigan is to “go up north.”  Well, we have no place to really go up north and I had to work all weekend anyway, so J and I did what we always do on Saturdays.  We slept in late then got up and started planning on lunch.

Our original plan was to see about driving over the Birch Run.  We got up too late to do that without rushing to get me home in time for work.  Our second idea was a cafe in Jackson that Corky told me about.  We called and they weren’t open.  I had a copy of City Pulse sitting on the coffee table, so I picked it up and started looking through the “Food Finder.”  As I’m going down the list, I come across a place called in Mason that I’ve never heard of.  I did a Google search, found a website and loved the menu.  We were off to Mason. 

The Baja Grille is on Jefferson street on the courthouse square.  There were quite a few people downtown due to the Fourth of July holiday.  We got there after the parade, but the car show was still going on.  I could see there was a lot of foot traffic, so when I found a parking spot a half a block away in front of the library, I pulled in.  Read the rest of this entry »





Mama Bear’s – A Conscious Cafe

30 04 2009
  • 1224 Turner Street
  • Lansing, MI 48906
  • (517) 485-6262
  • Website
  • Menu
Mama Bears - A Conscious Cafe in Old Town

Mama Bear's - A Conscious Cafe in Old Town

It’s the end of the month again which means J and I head to Delta Township to get her hair cut.  While she’s doing that, I drive around town, run errands, and of course, scout out new places to eat.  In City Pulse’s Top of the Town Awards, I noticed a cafe in Old Town that racked up a few awards.  I couldn’t find much other than a Myspace page on the place, but it sounded good to me.

Mama Bear’s Cafe is on Turner Street in Old Town half a block off of Grand River Avenue.  I drove by the building four times trying to find it.  It’s a big grey building with a black awning.  There is a logo on the awning, but it’s hard to see from the street.  I did finally find it and after I picked J up, headed back to Old Town for lunch.

We parked on the street a few doors down from the cafe and walked back.  The cafe is pretty small, but very cute.  The order counter is near the front.  The dining room are heavy wood tables which are scattered throughout the space.  Next to the counter on either side is a pastry case with all sorts of goodies including some that are vegan. 

We stopped in closer to 1:30 which would have been after the lunch rush.  The lady working told us they had a pretty busy lunch and they were out of a few things.  There was no turkey left and they didn’t have everything to make the creole wrap which I think is the menu item J was looking at.  Read the rest of this entry »





GrandRiver Coffee Cafe

12 04 2009
  • 515 W. Grand River Aveninue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (866) 356-5301
  • Website
  • Menu
GrandRiver Coffee Cafe in East Lansing.

GrandRiver Coffee Cafe in East Lansing.

I hate it when I have to work on four hours sleep.  Hell, I was lucky if I got that Friday night.  I worked in Ann Arbor and got home around 12:30 AM.  Saturday morning, I had to be at MSU at 6:00 AM.  By the time I had a quick meal and showered, it was closer to 1:30.  That leaves just about four hours until I had to get up and get going.  It was rough.  Really rough, but at least everyone I worked with was in the same boat.  We were all a little cranky Saturday morning.  By the time lunch (actually breakfast) came around, I was really needing a Pepsi.  I knew I didn’t want to go sit down somewhere and have a huge breakfast since that would just add to my sluggishness.

I’m not much of a coffeehouse person, but I thought I would be able to get something light.  I was just going to go to  Biggby but on my way, I remembered a local coffeehouse just down the street.  I drove by the Biggby and found my destination.

GrandRiver Coffee Cafe is on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing a few blocks from downtown.  It’s a rather large building for a local coffee house.  There were a few cars in the parking lot when I pulled in and when I made it inside, it looked like most of those people were taking advantage of the free wi-fi.  Read the rest of this entry »





Mia Za’s Cafe – Ann Arbor

5 04 2009
  • 615 E. University Avenue
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 555-1211
  • Website
  • Menu
Mia Zas Cafe near the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Mia Za's Cafe near the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Once again, I spent my Saturday working.  Not complaining at all.  I love it when I get a chance to work.  However, it takes weekends away from J and I .  When I work, my days are 10 hours and that doesn’t include travel, so I spend all day work and when I get home, I’m exhausted and don’t want to do much.  Instead of sitting home by herself, J decided to come to Ann Arbor with me.  We got a hotel room and she was going to do some shopping while I worked.

At lunch time, J came back to the Wilpon baseball softball complex to pick me up.  I only had an hour so I wanted to stay somewhat close to campus.  Last week while working in Champaign, IL, I stumbled upon a little cafe that served up really good food really quickly.  One of their two other locations happened to be in Ann Arbor and I knew it was something J would like, so that’s where we went.

It was a really busy Saturday in Ann Arbor.  There were people everywhere and traffic was slow going.  We finally made it to Mia Za’s which is on University Street in Ann Arbor near the campus of the University of Michigan.  There is street parking on either side of University so we started looking for a spot.  I saw one going the other direction so I did a U-turn and made it back before someone else picked it up.

There is quite a bit of construction going on in the area including a massive construction project at the building next to Mia Za’s.  The sidewalk is closed and the temporary sidewalk structures almost cover up the awning and front of the building.  I almost missed it when we drove by.  Read the rest of this entry »





Mia Za’s Cafe – Champaign, IL

28 03 2009
  • 629 E. Green Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • (217) 352-2697
  • Website
  • Menu
Mia Zas Cafe on Green Street in Champaign, IL

Mia Za's Cafe on Green Street in Champaign, IL

Another Saturday.  Another Saturday working.  Actually, that’s been rare the last year and very welcome.  I was back in Champaign for game two of a three game set between the University of Illinois and Michigan State University’s baseball teams.  Once again, lunch time rolled around and I went in search of good food.

Yesterday, I ran into some trouble finding businesses open on Green Street, but I did notice a cafe open near the end of the stretch of businesses.  I was craving an Italian beef and knew this place wouldn’t have it, but today, I just wanted a sandwich, so I headed back.

Mia Za’s Cafe is on Green Street near the corner of Green and Sixth.  The cafe is one of three locations in Big Ten communities.  The other two stores are in Madison, WI (University of Wisconsin) and Ann Arbor.  If the name sounds sort of familiar, but not really, they used to go under the name Za’s Italian Cafe.  The Ann Arbor store is located at 615 E. University. Read the rest of this entry »





Soup to Nutz Bistro & Custom Catering

18 03 2009
  • 123 Kalamazoo Street
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 485-0955
  • Website
  • Menu
Soup to Nutz Bistro & Catering on Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

Soup to Nutz Bistro & Custom Catering on Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

I guess you could say the third time really is the charm.  J and I have tried to eat at Soup to Nutz a couple times in the past only to run into problems.  The first time was on a Saturday after waiting in line for tickets to see Obama speak.  We didn’t realize they weren’t open on Saturday.  The second was during the week.  We wanted to go for breakfast, but we got there at 9:30 and they don’t open until 10:30.  When we got back, we found they don’t do brunch during the week.  At that point, we gave up.  The only day they do brunch is Sunday and we spend most Sunday’s on the couch watching NASCAR. 

After we went to Golden Harvest this past Sunday, a commentor suggested we try Soup to Nutz.  That got me looking at their website again.  I looked at brunch first, but then I got curious about lunch.  J and I are really lunch people and their menu looked perfect.  J got up early to get her taxes done and when she got home, she suggested heading downtown for lunch.

Soup to Nutz Bistro is located on Kalamazoo Street near Washington Square.  There are actually two entrances which can be a little confusing.  The sign is actually above the catering side of the business.  If you go in there, you’re basically walking in to the kitchen.  The other door is the one that enters the dining room.  There’s no sign marking it as an entrance, but you can see tables and others dining as well as a special board in the window.  Read the rest of this entry »





Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe

21 09 2008
  • 1601 W. Lake Lansing Road
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 337-4680
  • Website
  • Menu
Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe is East Lansing

Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe is East Lansing

After two long days touring Northern and Western Michigan, we got home and just wanted to relax.  We unloaded the car then laid down on the couch and watched Michigan State beat Notre Dame while I blogged about our trip and J took a nap.  Not long after the game got over, J woke up and we started talking about dinner.  Neither one of us felt like cooking, but we neither of us really had a taste for anything either.  We talked about a few places, but one of us wasn’t interested in any of them.  Finally, I said, “What about Hall of Fame Cafe on Lake Lansing?”  We thought that may not be a good move since the game just got over, but we hopped in my truck to go give it a shot.

Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe is part of a small chain of cafes located in college towns.  The other cafes are in Columbus, OH (Buckeye HOF Cafe), Huntington, WV (Marshall HOF Cafe), and Louisville, KY (Cardinal HOF Cafe).  The East Lansing location sits just off US 127 in East Lansing near the Eastwood Towne Centre.  There looked to be quite a few parking spaces left so we pulled in to see if we could get a table.  There were a few people waiting, but they must have been parts of groups.  We were met by a hostess and shown to a booth in the dining room right away. Read the rest of this entry »