Cheli’s Chili Bar & Restaurant – Dearborn

27 04 2009
  • 21918 Michigan Avenue
  • Dearborn, MI 49124
  • (313) 274-9700
  • Website
  • Menu
Chelis Chili Bar & Restaurant in Dearborn.

Cheli's Chili Bar & Restaurant in Dearborn.

Since moving here, I’ve been wanting to eat at Cheli’s Chili in downtown Detroit.  I’ve always been a huge Chris Chelios fan and a #7 Blackhawks jersey still hangs in my closet.  When I started looking at restaurants in Detroit, Cheli’s Chili on the corner of Michigan and Oakwood came up.  I knew my parents would like a sports bar.

J had a great idea when it came to entertaining my parents.  Our original plan was to go gambling in Windsor, but my parents forgot their birth certificates so we couldn’t do that.  I offered Detroit, but neither were really interested.  They usually stop in New Buffalo when they come see me, but mom wants to say she gambled in Canada before the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative goes in to effect in June.  Since they forgot their documents, we needed a plan B. I had no ideas, but J suggested The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.  First, we needed lunch.

We made it to Dearborn just before noon.  The building is on the corner, but the entrance is actually in the back.  There’s a parking lot there with a few spaces, a public lot right next to it and street parking all along Oakwood.  We parked the car and walked towards the door to find another couple standing there waiting.  The restaurant didn’t open until noon.  No big deal because it was 11:55.  We ended up walking across the street to Westborn Market (review HERE) to kill time. 

When we made it back, we walked in and saw a sign that the deck was open so we headed up there.  Like the downtown location, the Dearborn location has a party deck on the roof.  There’s an elevator right next to a staircase.  If it’s not a nice day or you don’t like sun, there’s also a huge dining room in the bar.  We didn’t really go in to far.  We found a display case with autographed memorabilia and Chelios jersey’s, but that’s as far as we made it. Read the rest of this entry »





Nuthouse Sports Grill – Revisited

19 03 2009
The Nuthouse Sports Grill on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing.

The Nuthouse Sports Grill on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing.

Over the last few weeks, you’ve heard me talking about “one year.”  Today is actually an anniversary.  It was one year ago today that J and I were in town for the first time together.  She had flown in for an interview back in February, but it wasn’t until March 17 that she was actually offered a job.  She and I were in Chicago because we had just gotten back from Bristol, TN and decided to take a few more vacation days.  While we were at her parents, she got the phone call offering her the job.  Since we were two hours closer, we thought we’d best take a trip to our new home to find an apartment.

After signing a lease, we needed to find lunch before that long drive back to Peoria.  We had been on the road all weekend.   We actually slept in a different state every night for five straight nights.  Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan.  It was kind of a whirlwind weekend topped off by my brother announcing he and his wife were having my parents first grandchild followed by me announcing I was moving with my girlfriend to Michigan.  We ran the gamut of emotions.  Before I started dating J, I never expected to leave Peoria.  I was happy enough with my job.  I didn’t love it, but it paid the bills and I don’t like moving.  J had an opportunity come up here that we couldn’t pass up.  I didn’t want to be five hours away and my career was going nowhere where I was at, so it was time for a change. 

We drove downtown that first day looking for something to eat.  The first thing that jumped out was a sports bar across the street from Oldsmobile Park.  We both like sports bars so after a few more minutes of exploring, we headed back to the Nuthouse. 

Since I’m going to be working a lot over the next month, I wanted to do something special for J.  I told her I was taking her out for dinner, but I didn’t tell her where until I parked the car.  I think she was surprised as I was that I actually remembered the date. Read the rest of this entry »





Knockouts Sports & Grill Bar- Matteson, IL

9 03 2009
  • 4800 211th Street
  • Matteson, IL 60443
  • (708 ) 283-9903
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Knockouts Sports & Grill Bar on Lincoln Highway in Matteson, IL

Knockouts Sports & Grill Bar on Lincoln Highway in Matteson, IL

Since we just made a quick trip to Chicago for a birthday party, we really didn’t have time to drive to my parents for any length of time.  I had something I needed to give my brother and my mom had some things for me, so we decided to meet in Matteson, IL for lunch.  Our first choice was Nino’s Pizza, but it was closed.  Then we tried Baker’s Square, but it had gone out of business.  On the way in to town, I noticed a sports bar on Lincoln Highway.  I called my dad and told him to meet us there.  You can never go wrong with a sports bar.

Knockouts is on the corner of 211th (Lincoln Highway) and South Cicero in Matteson just down the street from the Lincoln Mall.  It sits in front of a strip mall, so you actually enter the parking lot down the street and come in behind the building. 

Knockouts is a typical sports bar.  We walked in to find a pretty empty dining room.  There’s a big island bar in the middle.  There’s a couple different dining spaces with different types of tables and chairs.  When you first walk in, there’s a raised area with nice wood chairs and tables.  Along one wall near the bar is a series of pub tables.  Since there was five us, I headed towards a table in the larger area.  There was one table for six near the back, but it was right next to the jukebox…and that jukebox was LOUD.  I walked away from it and pushed two tables together.  The MSU game was a couple TV’s and the NASCAR race was just starting so we had plenty of entertainment. Read the rest of this entry »





Dispatch Sports Pub & Grill

21 02 2009
  • 3004 W. Main Street
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 484-7940
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The Dispatch Sports Pub & Grill on Main Street in Lansing.

The Dispatch Sports Pub & Grill on Main Street in Lansing.

Saturday nights are usually relaxed nights for us.  After being lazy all afternoon and watching the NASCAR truck race, we decided to go out for dinner again.  We still  haven’t been to the grocery store since getting back to Michigan so there’s not a lot of food in the house yet and since shopping hungry is a bad idea, we just found a bar.  Quite a while ago, someone suggested the Dispatch Sports Pub & Grill.

The Dispatch Sports Pub & Grill is on Main Street near I-496.  It’s kind of out there by itself.  There’s not a whole lot in the area yet the parking lot was packed even though it was a crappy, snowy night.  We trekked through the snow only to be confused again.  There were two doors.  Neither were marked.  Neither gave any indication that it was the entrance. One of them was a little fancier than the other so that’s the one I chose.  I peeked in through the window and it looked right so we went in.  Good thing I chose that one.  The other one would have led to the kitchen.

The inside is a typical sports pub.  There are at least three pretty good size dining areas.  The bar is the first thing you run into.  From there, there are two dining areas off to the side.  I took a second to look around and didn’t really see anything other than tables for large groups.  Then I noticed some booths at the far end of the bar.  The decor is all beer company freebies.  It’s a comfortable, familiar setting.

The Dispatch near I-496 on Main Street in Lansing

The Dispatch near I-496 on Main Street in Lansing

Read the rest of this entry »





Deja Brew Bar & Grill- Oak Lawn, IL

12 02 2009
  • 5219 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 423-0484
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Deja Brew on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn, IL

Deja Brew on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn, IL

After taking care of some things this morning, my girlfriend, her family, and I headed out for lunch.  Our first stop was Palermos 95th (review HERE), but they were even packed for lunch, so we went to J’s parents favorite bar in downtown Oak Lawn.

Deja Brew Bar & Grill is located on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn.  It fronts the busy highway, but the parking and main entrance is actually in the back which is accessible by an alley.  When you walk in that back door, you come into an enclosed courtyard.  From there, there’s another set of doors to actually enter the establishment. 

Inside is a typical sports bar.  There are LCD’s hanging from the ceiling.  There’s a large, odd shaped bar that takes a good chunk of the space.  The shape of the bar is a little hard to describe.  Around the bar are a few pub tables.  Along the opposite wall is a step up with more tables.  We took a table near the windows and waited for a watiress.

The waitress actually came over pretty quickly to get our drink orders, but then took a really long time to come back with them.  She spilled a little bit of J’s mom’s beer and went to get something to clean it up with before taking lunch orders.  It took a good ten minutes for her to come back with a bar towel.  Once we got the spilled beer taken care of, we put in lunch orders.  Another half hour later and we finally got our food.  During the time, J and her uncle both ran out of Diet Coke but there was no refilling until the food came out. Read the rest of this entry »





Frank’s Press Box – Delta Township

23 11 2008
  • 7216 W. Saginaw Hwy.
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 886-1330
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Franks Press Box on Saginaw Highway in Lansing.

Frank's Press Box on Saginaw Highway in Lansing.

Time for the weekly shopping trip.  We got a little lazy today and slept in pretty late then had a hard time getting going, but we needed to run to Walmart and Horrocks to pick up just a few things before we head home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Both of us were starving when we left so we decided to eat first. 

Every time we go out that way, we go by Frank’s Press Box on Saginaw Highway.  It always looks deserted, but we always go during the day during the week.  When we pulled into the parking lot today (on a Sunday), the parking lot was the opposite of deserted.  In fact, it was packed.  The inside of the restaurant was no different.  Most of the tables were full and all eyes were pointed at the TV’s.  We figured out later the Lions game was blacked out and the only way to see it was to have the NFL package which Frank’s obviously did. 

The restaurant/sports bar is divided into three rooms.  Near the front is a game room with a number of pool tables.  The bar area also has a large dining room designated as the smoking section then there’s another section separated by a tiny wall and a fireplace designated non-smoking by green paint on a mirror near the back of the space.  The wall did nothing.  My coat smells like cigar smoke which was painfully noticeable during the meal.  Each section has a number of TV’s.  From our table, I could see seven LCD TV’s and each of them had a different football game on, but the audio from the Lions game was pumped in via speakers. Read the rest of this entry »





Crunchy’s Burgers and Pizza – Revisited

17 11 2008
Crunchys in East Lansing.  Picture taken in the spring of 2008

Crunchy's in East Lansing. Picture taken in the spring of 2008

I first reviewed Crunchy’s back in the spring not long after moving to Mid-Michigan.  That was the beginning of my quest for the best burger in Lansing.  I wasn’t overly impressed, but really liked the bar.  There were a few other things on the menu we were wanting to try and figured we’d get back there some day.  Fast forward six months.  I was working at Munn Ice Arena and J and I decided to meet up for dinner after the hockey game.  There’s not a whole lot of options after 10:00 other than pizza so J suggested we meet at Crunchy’s.

Saturday night is probably not the best night to go to a college bar if you’re not in college, but we knew that heading in.  J called ahead to see when the kitchen closed.  I was expecting to get done with work around 11 and the kitchen closed at 11:30, so we knew it was going to be close.  Turns out, I got done before 11 so we made it in plenty of time.  We were carded at the door and a waitress pointed out a table just inside the dining room that we could take.  Read the rest of this entry »





Tripper’s Sports Bar & Grill

30 10 2008
  • 350 Frandor Ave.
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 336-0717
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Trippers Sports Bar and Grill in the Frandor Shopping Center

Tripper's Sports Bar and Grill in the Frandor Shopping Center

I’m a little surprised I had never heard of Tripper’s before this past weekend.  On Saturday, we were at Frandor to check out the Linens ‘n Things going out of business sale and I noticed a sports bar on the other side of Frandor.  This afternoon, J and I realized we haven’t eaten out since Saturday, so we decided to go for lunch.  I had a hard time getting out of bed and by the time J pushed me out, it was afternoon.  I was a little worried we’d be pushing it to get her back in time to get ready for work, but it turned out not to be an issue.

Tripper’s is located in the Frandor Shopping Center right next to Olga’s kitchen.  For a Thursday afternoon, Frandor was packed.  I was surprised at just how many people there were.  The traffic was bad and it was hard to find a parking spot.  I finally found one somewhat near where we were going.  We walked back to Tripper’s.  When we entered the building, we were met with a long hallway back to the bar.  The host met us about halfway and asked if we wanted smoking or non-smoking.  We, of course, didn’t want to sit in a smokey bar.  The host took us the rest of the way down this long hallway, past the pool room and poker room to the non-smoking dining room.  Once you get to the back of the bar, there are two rooms.  One is the actual bar area which is set up and lit like a normal bar.  To the right of the hallway is the non-smoking dining room which is more like a typical restaurant with regular tables and more lighting. 

A waitress came over for drinks.  We ordered our Cokes and I actually got a regular Coke this time.  That hasn’t happened in a while even though I keep ordering it.  When it came time for lunch orders, I spotted my sandwich right away.  Even though Tripper’s has a really big menu that would satisfy any palette, I barely looked it because I found a Black and Bleu burger on the menu.  My burger came with bleu cheese piled on top.  There was no missing it and I got a good chunk of cheese in every bite.  The sandwich also came with lettuce and tomato which I pulled off.  The bleu cheese is the only flavor I want on this particular burger.  A mound of steak fries were served on the side.  Not usually a fan because steak fries get really potato-y tasting.  However, Tripper’s seasoned these fries really well with what I believe was just salt and pepper, but it added a really great taste to the fries. 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 »





Malarky’s

20 09 2008
  • 3210 Deposit Dr NE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49546
  • (616) 808-2956
  • Website
  • Menu
Malarkys at I-96 and Beltline in Grand Rapids

Malarky's at I-96 and Beltline in Grand Rapids

After an amazing day in Traverse City, we headed back to Grand Rapids for the night.  We couldn’t find a hotel under $100 up north,so we came back as far as Grand Rapids and found a Red Roof Inn for not even half that much.  After getting settled, we both got a little hungry, so we hoped in the car and started heading towards downtown.  First, we wanted to check out Fresh Market, but it was too late and they were closed.  That would have to wait until the next morning.  For some reason, our GPS took us the long way back to the Interstate and we ended up on Beltline Road.  Just before we got to I-96, we hit this bar that looked like a chain, but wasn’t a chain we had ever heard of.  I-96 West was closed at that interchange, so we had to drive around and come back.  On the way back, we just decided to give Malarkey’s a try.  Really, all we wanted was a drink and an appetizer, so why keep driving when there was a place right here.

Once we got inside, Malarky’s again looked like a chain.  The hostess station was right inside the door in it’s own little room.  Through a doorway to the right was the bar.  To the left was the dining room.  We made our way into the bar and found a pub table along the wall, so we sat down.  A waitress noticed us and came over for a drink order.  I got a 14 oz. Bud Light and J got a frozen daquiri.  the waitress came back with a 24 oz. Bud Light instead.  It was only $.50 more so I just took it and didn’t say anything.  She tried to walk away, but we stopped her to put in an order of nachos. Read the rest of this entry »