A & W Restaurant – E. Oakland Ave.

28 07 2009
  • 427 E. Oakland Avenue
  • Lansing, MI 48906
  • (517) 485-3950
  • Website
  • Menu
The A & W Restaurant on East Oakland Avenue in Lansing.

The A & W Restaurant on East Oakland Avenue in Lansing.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I still haven’t figured out the fascination with Sonic Drive-In’s.  J, on the other hand, loves the place.  Mostly because of their Limeade.  While watching TV the other night, we saw a commercial for A & W and they were promoting their new Fruit Flavored Limeades.  The commercial caught her attention and the next chance we got, we headed to A & W.

There are two A & W Restaurant in Lansing.  One is on West Saginaw Highway.  The other is on East Oakland.  We chose the Oakland store because it was the one I knew.  The A & W is at the corner of East Oakland Avenue and North Cedar Street.  Like many businesses in the area right now, their parking lot is only accessible from one street because of the CSO project. 

As we were pulling up to the stoplight at Cedar Street, I had serious doubts that they were open.  It was lunch time, but there was only one car in the parking lot.  It looked desserted.  As I pulled into the parking, there was a car that drove around to the drive thru window so we knew they were open. 

We were wanting to eat in the store because our next stop was grocery shopping.  It wouldn’t make sense to take our meals with it.  The inside of the store is tiny.  Very, very tiny.  There’s an order counter that only has one register and almost no counter space.  There are less than ten tables jammed into the small space…most of which are two tops.  Read the rest of this entry »


Chicken & Fish Express

6 05 2009
  • 601 W. Saginaw Street
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 267-3813
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Chicken and Fish Express on Saginaw Street in Lansing.

Chicken and Fish Express on Saginaw Street in Lansing.

I had to work downtown early.  Well, early for me.  9:00 is still a couple hours before I usually get up, so getting my butt out of bed and downtown isn’t easy.  It was a short day with my job finishing up a little after 1:30.  I had a few Tim Horton’s doughnuts for breakfast,but that was it, so I was starving.  Chicken has been all the rage and a few months ago, someone told me about a chicken place in a Marathon Station.  Since it wasn’t too far from downtown, I decided to check it out.

This wasn’t the first time I had stopped in to the Chicken & Fish Express on Saginaw Street.  A few weeks ago, I decided to stop, but was really confused and ended up leaving.  The store is connected to the Marathon Station, but the businesses aren’t really connected.  Sure, there’s a door to move between the two businesses, but it’s blocked from both sides.  Chicken & Fish Express has a separate entrance on Pine Street side of the building.  When I stopped a couple weeks ago, it didn’t look like the place was open.  The door moved when I pushed it, but there was no one inside and I didn’t see anything behind the counter, so I left. Read the rest of this entry »

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket – Willowbrook, IL

2 05 2009
  • 645 Joliet Road
  • Willowbrook, IL 60527
  • (630) 325-0780
  • Website
  • Menu
Dell Rheas Chicken Basket on old Route 66 in Willowbrook, IL

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket on old Route 66 in Willowbrook, IL

Yup.  We hit another Chicago area Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s place.  J and I are back in Chicago for another weekend trip.  We have tickets to a show in Hammond, IN tonight which isn’t far from her parents house.  Her mom and step-dad had a prior commitment during the day, so J and I were on our own for lunch.  I had been wanting to check out another place we saw on Triple D that was only about 20 minutes from her parents.  After they left for the morning, J and I got going and headed to Willowbrook for lunch.

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket has been on Joliet Road in Willowbrook for almost 70 years.  Of course, in the early days, Joliet Road was Route 66.  A lot has changed since then.  Interstate 55 is in Dell Rhea’s backyard and the old Mother Road is hidden behind an office park. In fact, J is very familiar with this area.  Her high school speech team used to stay at a Holiday Inn down the road and her grandma was in an area nursing home for a few years yet she had never seen our destination.

It’s not really hard to find and there are signs from IL-83 for the out of towners like us.  The building is a classic Route 66 icon.  There’s a big neon sign out front and the decor hasn’t aged in fifty years.  Parking is a little wierd.  The spots out front are spots that are perpendicular with the building, so you take a sharp 90 degree turn off the road into a spot crossing a lane of traffic in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

KFC Grilled Chicken

22 04 2009

Well, I didn’t plan on being home again last night, so I had nothing prepared for dinner.  Stupid rain screwing up my work schedule.  I started going through the cupboards to find food when J e-mailed me and said we should try KFC’s news grilled chicken.  It sounded good to me, so about a half hour before she’d be home for dinner, I headed to the KFC on South Cedar Street to pick up a bucket.

A fairly empty bucket of KFCs new grilled chicken

A fairly empty bucket of KFC's new grilled chicken

When I walked in, I was met by a clerk yelling from behind the counter that they were out of dark meat.  Yes, KFC, a chicken place, was out of chicken.  She just said they were out of original and extra crispy and didn’t say anything about the grilled chicken so I waited in line while a few other customers yelled at this poor girl for not having chicken.   I mean, really, it’s not her fault.  She’s not a manager.  She’s not a cook.  She was the poor girl who got stuck at the front register.  Apparently, KFC is running a special on an all dark meat bucket and they got swamped at dinner time and couldn’t keep up. 

When it was my turn to order, I asked if they had the grilled chicken.  She said she’d check and mistook that I wanted an all dark meat bucket.  She told me there wasn’t enough, but when I said I’d rather have the mixed bucket anyway, there was actually enough so I put in an order for the 8-piece meal which included two sides and biscuits.

I paid and waited for my chicken to come up and again, got the pleasure of seeing a number of @*&holes yell at this girl for something she had no control over.  Yeah, it sucks that you’re dinner plans just got ruined, but don’t be a jerk about it. 

Anyway, I grabbed my chicken then went home to wait for J.  I opened up the bucket and was a little disappointed.  It didn’t look anything like it does in the commercial.  The bucket was mostly empty.  At first, I thought I got shorted, but as I pulled the pieces out, I counted eight.  I didn’t get cheated, but the grilled chicken pieces are much smaller than the fried pieces.

A KFC grilled chicken breast

A KFC grilled chicken breast

While I was waiting for J, I ate the whole box of potato wedges which were much better than I remembered.  I felt bad about not waiting for J, but they were good and I was hungry.

When she finally did get home, we dug into the chicken.  It did have a nice grilled flavor, but it seemed a little greasy or slimy to me.  The size was the biggest disappointment.  I ate a whole breast in two bites.  J really liked it and didn’t seem to notice or mind the faults I found with it.  It’s definitely something we would order again, but it’s not going to replace fried chicken.  The healthier option is nice and I hope it sticks around, but it’d also be nice if they could find an efficient way to grill bigger pieces or, at the very least, charge a little bit less for the grilled chicken.  The two sides (I got potato wedges and mac ‘n cheese), biscuits (which are good, but not as good as Popeye’s) and eight pieces of chicken set me back just over $13.  Not a bad prices for a meal that left us with lunch for tomorrow, but not as good of a deal as the fried chicken.

Pizza Hut/WingStreet – Lansing

19 04 2009
  • 6200 S. Cedar Street
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 393-1565
  • Website
  • Menu
The Pizza Hut/WingStreet in South Lansing.

The Pizza Hut/WingStreet in South Lansing.

When I was growing up just south of Chicago, there was always a fight in my house about where to go for pizza.  I always wanted to go to Pizza Hut because I loved their bread sticks.  My dad and brother always wanted to go to Monical’s (a regional chain which I’ve blogged about before).  I usually lost. 

To this day, I still really like Pizza Hut’s breadsticks.  The pizza is alright, but nothing I really crave.  J and I have been saying for a year we needed to check out the Pizza Hut Italian Bistro on Cedar Street.  The commercials always made the pasta look really good.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed the “Italian Bistro” signs coming down and “WingStreet” signs going up.  I do like me some wings, so we finally got around to trying something other than pizza at Pizza Hut.

The Lansing Pizza Hut is on the south side of town on South Cedar across the street from Meijer.  It sits in the corner of a strip mall that also has an Applebees and Finlay’s.  We decided to hit up Pizza Hut for a Sunday night dinner.  It was about 5:30 when we pulled in to the parking lot.  That’s important to remember.

When you enter the store, you come in t the carry out counter.  There were a few people in front of us picking up pizza and we didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle, so J went right up to the hostess stand and waited.  Fortunately, we were noticed right away and taken to a booth.  Later in the night, we may have had to wait several minutes until someone noticed us. 

The dining room was much nicer than any Pizza Hut either of us remembered.  J can only faintly eating at one a long time ago, but what she remembers is that everything was red except for the lights which were green.  This dining room had a more intimate setting like….wait for it….an Italian bistro.  All kidding aside, the dining room was actually pretty nice and not what I think of when I think of Pizza Hut. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release – KFC Gets Into The Grilled Chicken Business

16 04 2009

I love this idea.  I love fried chicken, but it will be great to have a “healthier” alternative right down the road.  Can’t wait to see what it tastes like.

From a KFC press release….

The Unfried Side of KFC: Launch of New Grilled Menu Item Revolutionizes Brand

KFC Declares Monday, April 27 “UNFry Day” and Offers America Free Taste of Kentucky Grilled Chicken Nationwide

LOUISVILLE, KY – Kentucky Fried Chicken, the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain, announced a second secret recipe has been added to its menu – Kentucky Grilled Chicken (KGC). The announcement made today, at New York City’s famed Friars Club (unofficially dubbed the “UNFriars Club” for the event), marks the launch of this revolutionary new non-fried menu item, which is available in KFC stores nationwide beginning today.

KFC’s Kentucky Grilled Chicken is packed with flavor. It’s marinated and seasoned with a savory blend of six secret herbs and spices and slow-grilled to juicy perfection. The cooking process includes a blend of spices that is proprietary to KFC and utilizes custom-designed, patented ovens, making it KFC’s second secret recipe.

“The introduction of Kentucky Grilled Chicken is a defining moment in our brand’s storied history,” said KFC President Roger Eaton. “KGC is the latest menu innovation that showcases our commitment to meeting our customers’ ever-changing needs while staying true to the standards of high quality and great taste pioneered by Colonel Sanders. This product will transform the industry.” Read the rest of this entry »

Hooters of Lansing

8 04 2009
  • 172 E. Edgewood Blvd.
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 393-7997
  • Website
  • Menu
Hooters of Lansing on E. Edgewood Blvd.

Hooters of Lansing on E. Edgewood Blvd.

I’m going to be honest.  I’ve never been a fan of Hooters.  Even as a horny teenager, I thought their gimmick was ridiculous.  The only Hooters close to where I grew was over an hour away and every time my friends and I were close to it, we’d have to stop.  They would all cover by saying, “but the food is so good.”  I disagreed.  I always thought it was overpriced for what it was.  It was fine, but it seemed like you were paying for something other than the food.  The only redeeming quality to Hooters for me was the hot wings.  At the time, Hooters was about the only place serving up chicken like that.  This was long before Buffalo Wild Wings and long before chicken wings became staples on sports bar menus. 

So, even though there’s a Hooters just around the corner from where we live now, it’s one place we haven’t really been itching to get to.  That is, until I saw a commercial for 10 boneless wings and fries for $5.99 on Wednesday’s.  I figured if nothing else, it was a cheap meal and it would give us an excuse to check out the Lansing store.

Hooters of Lansing is on Edgewood Boulevard in South Lansing.  It’s got the same design as every other store and the same decor and layout as every other Hooters.  They use wood paneling and bright orange colors to accent their waitress uniforms.  J called it an outdoorsy field.  It is a very vibrant atmosphere and one of the original sports bars.  The unique thing that I’ve always liked about Hooters is how they send orders to the kitchen.  Sure, they may use POS systems now, but they still put a piece of paper on a clip and send it along a zip wire to the kitchen.  When something is ready, the kitchen sends it back. 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 »

Brown’s Chicken & Pasta – Oak Lawn, IL

9 03 2009
  • 4740 W. 111th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 424-9280
  • Website
  • Menu
Browns Chicken & Pasta on 111th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

Brown's Chicken & Pasta on 111th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

There’s been a fried chicken debate going on between J and I since we started dating.  I have always preferred Popeye’s Chicken while her family grew on Brown’s.  If you’ve never heard of Brown’s, it’s probably because it’s a Chicago chain.  If you have heard of Brown’s, it’s probably because of the “Brown’s Chicken Massacre” which happened at a Palatine location in 1993. 

We were in Chicago for a surprise birthday party for one of J’s friends.  It was J’s job to distract the birthday girl and get her to the party later in the evening.  J and another friend decided they needed a girl’s night out at Al’s Char-House in Lagrange (review HERE).  Since I was being used as an excuse to be in Chicago that weekend, I couldn’t be seen and therefore couldn’t go to dinner with the girls. 

After dropping J off, I was on my own for dinner.  We just had the Popeye’s/Brown’s discussion earlier this week so I thought I’d give the Chicago chain a chance to see if they really were better than my beloved Popeyes.

Brown’s has several locations in Chicagoland, but the one closest to where I was is on 111th and Cicero right at the Oak Lawn/Alsip city limits.  It’s a really small shop and really hard to get in to.  I missed the entrance and had to go up a block and turn around.  When I turned in to the very small parking lot, I headed straight one of just a handful of spots in front of the building. Read the rest of this entry »

Wing Zone

1 02 2009
  • 340 Morgan Lane
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 332-9464
  • Website
  • Menu
Wing Zone in the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing.

Wing Zone in the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing.

Wings and the Super Bowl go together.  It’s just a fact of life.  For the last five or six years, I have slaved over a deep fryer for hours making wings for my friends on the day of the game.  Every year, I’d come up with a new sauce or way to cook them.  Last year, I skipped the deep fryer all together and went for baked wings.  This year, I just wasn’t in the mood.  I still wanted wings and have been craving them for days.  My two choices were to make a trip to Kroger for wings and oil or let the professionals do all the work.

My favorite wing place, by far has always been Buffalo Wild Wings.  It’s the one chain I don’t mind telling you that I love.  When the company opened their first store in the Peoria area, I spent three or four nights a week there.  I worked second shift and my buddies and I would hit B-Dubs after work for drinks and wings.  Most Tuesday’s, our orders were waiting for us when we got there. Read the rest of this entry »