Yankee Rebel Tavern

26 07 2009
  • 3 Astor Street
  • Mackinac Island, MI 49757
  • (906) 847-6249
  • Website
  • Menu
The Yankee Rebel Tavern on Astor Street on Mackinac Island.

The Yankee Rebel Tavern on Astor Street on Mackinac Island.

As soon as we got off the ferry from the mainland, we started looking for food.  Mackinac Island has a number of restaurants downtown and none of them are chains.  That makes choosing some place to eat when you’re only going to eat two meals on the Island a little difficult. 

Before we took the trip, I did my research online like I always do before out-of-town trips and one of the places that stood out to me was a colonial themed tavern.  We went looking for that on Main Street and just happened to look down one of the side streets to see the sign.

The Yankee Rebel Tavern is on Astor Street between Main and Market on Mackinac Island.  As the name implies, there is a little bit of a colonial theme to the place.  We got to the Island about 12:15 and this was stop #1.  Even though it seemed like there were quite a few people on the Island, I was a little surprised when we got in the door and didn’t see anyone. 

The hostess took  us to a booth along the wall and set down plastic place mats in front of us as well as the menus.  On the way to our table, we saw one other party at a booth near us.  That would change very quickly. 

The decor of the bar isn’t that much different from any other bar we’ve eaten in.  It’s a very comfortable family atmosphere.  It is non-smoking which always gains a place a few more points in my book.  There are a row of booths along one wall and the bar is on the other.  The space in between is filled with tables.  It’s not a huge building by any means, but it’s not tiny either. 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 »





Eddie’s Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL

20 06 2009
  • 1875 W. Station Street
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 939-3972
  • Website
  • Menu
Eddies Bar & Grill on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Eddie's Bar & Grill on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Here’s the dilemma when J and I go to my parents house.  We either drive twenty minutes to Kankakee for lunch or we eat whatever Lean Cuisine my parents have the in the freezer.  Growing up in a small town, I never noticed that there wasn’t a restaurant on every corner, but since I’ve moved away, it’s become more noticeable.  I like to eat out and I like to eat at different places.  That’s hard to do in a town that only has one restaurant.

So, J and I made the choice to drive to Kankakee.  We had some other things to do anyway, so the trip wasn’t totally pointless.  We waited around until my mom came home for lunch so we could see her and make plans for the evening.  The next part of the battle was finding a restaurant.  I know the Kankakee metro is littered with hidden gems, but no one I know eats at anything other than chains.  I ended up remembering a place my brother told me he heard from friends was pretty good. 

Eddie’s Bar & Grill is on Station Street in Kankakee near West Court Street.  The only directions I could remember from my brother were “in the old Pizza Hut next to the bowling alley.”  J told me to call him and get an address, but I knew that’ the directions I would get.  No one knows street names….they all go by landmarks.  Read the rest of this entry »





Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

5 04 2009
  • 318 S. Main Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 665-2968
  • Website
  • Menu
Conor ONeills Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

One more day in Ann Arbor.  I was actually supposed to work another day, but the softball game I was supposed to work was moved to Saturday because of the threat of nasty weather.  J and I got a hotel to stay in Ann Arbor Saturday night.  Our plan was to go shopping on Sunday but before we could do that, we needed to find lunch.

We headed downtown to find the Prickly Pear after Amy suggested it to us.  When we got there, we found a menu outside and realized we weren’t really in the mood for Southwestern so we walked down Main Street until we found someplace to get sandwiches.

Conor O’Neill’s is on South Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.  There are a lot of restaurants in the area and a lot of fancy restaurant in the area.  Conor O’Neill’s offers a more price friendly alternative. 

The outside of the building is painted in bright colors and really, it looks like a lot of other Irish pubs.  Inside, they have the typical decor.  There’s a lot of dark woods, old furniture, and Guinness signs.  The walls and ceilings are hand painted with words of wisdom.  We were shown to a table where one side was a padded bench an the other side had chairs that I thought I was going to break when I sat down.  It creaked pretty loud when I sat down, but the furniture really added to the overall look and feel of the bar.

The ambiance includes a lot of TV’s playing soccer games.  If watching soccer isn’t enough, the volume was up loud that it could have been heard over a live band.  It was obnoxiously loud for the one guy who was drinking at 11:30 on a Sunday morning and watching a Manchester United game because he probably doesn’t get the channel in his dorm room.  Read the rest of this entry »





Sidetrack Bar & Grill

5 04 2009
  • 56 E. Cross Street
  • Ypsilanti, MI 48198
  • (734) 483-1035
  • Website
  • Menu
Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town in Ypsilanti

Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town in Ypsilanti

When I see that there’s a place that serves a burger someone has proclaimed to be the best, I’m gonna take an opportunity to try it for myself.  That was the case when I was working in Ann Arbor recently.  J made the trip to Ann Arbor with me and picked me up after my game was over.  Somewhere, I saw that a bar in Ypsilanti made one of the best burgers in the country.  I looked at a map and saw Ypsilanti was near Ann Arbor.  So I dragged J to another bar in search of the perfect hamburger.

Sidetrack Bar & Grill is located on Cross Street in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town.  Guess what.  It sits beside a set of rail road tracks.  As I’ve already alluded to, GQ Magazine proclaimed Sidetrack’s hamburger as one the 20  burgers you must eat before you die.  It was also featured on an episode of the Oprah Winfey Show.  With that much hype, it was something I was looking forward to all day.

We parked behind the building and entered through a back door.  There’s a sign that points you to the front door where a hostess took us back through the dining room we just walked through to a table along the wall.  The decor is that of an old bar.  There’s exposed brick walls, tin ceilings and hardwood floors that have seen better days.  The walls are covered with dead animals.  There was a big moose head right above my head and some giant penguins hanging above the door.  The tables are packed into the space.  When I initially suggested a bar for dinner, I was a little worried that we would have trouble getting a table.  Word is,  Sidetracks is always packed on Friday and Saturday night and this Saturday night, MSU was playing in the Final Four.  Read the rest of this entry »





Christie’s Bistro

31 03 2009
  • 925 S. Creyts Road
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 323-4190
  • Website
  • Menu
Christies Bistro at the Sheraton Lansing on Creyts Road

Christie's Bistro at the Sheraton Lansing on Creyts Road

Today is another one of those days.  It’s J’s one year anniversary at work and, more importantly, it’s her birthday.  She had a few gift cards for a couple stores in the mall that expired today so I suggested we get up and go shopping.  After that, I planned on taking her out for a nice lunch.  

The stores we needed to go to are in both malls, so I could make a choice based on where I wanted to eat lunch.  I ended up choosing the Lansing Mall because there was a nicer restaurant near there that we haven’t been to and a birthday lunch was a perfect excuse to check it out.

Christie’s Bistro is inside the Sheraton Hotel on Creyts Road near I-496.  You enter the hotel at the main entrance.  Once inside, there really aren’t any signs or any indication on where to go.  I actually noticed the hostess station in an area that looked more like a lobby than a restaurant.  She was on the phone taking a reservation when we got there.  Once that was finished, we were shown to a table in the back of the dining room.

The dining room is interesting.  It’s not what you expect when you hear the word “bistro.”  It was nice, but it looked more like a hotel lobby or a conference space than a fancy restaurant.   There was a big fountain in the middle of the space that looked a little out of place.  There are also some private party rooms along one wall.  Read the rest of this entry »





The Ultimate Ballpark Burger

25 03 2009

We all expect ballpark food to be unhealthy, but this is nuts

The West Michigan Whitecaps unveiled their new menu yesterday for the upcoming baseball season. It includes the Fifth Third Burger, which contains beef, lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and fritos on an eight-inch high sesame seed bun.

The burger weighs in at a whopping 4800 calories.  The cost is $20, but if you finish it in one sitting, you get a Fifth Third Burger T-shirt.





Roast

1 03 2009
  • 1128 Washington Boulevard
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 961-2500
  • Website
  • Menu
Michael Symons Roast in downtown Detroit.

Michael Symon's Roast in downtown Detroit.

Finally!  The present I’ve been looking forward to.  When I told J I bought her tickets to a concert in Windsor, she suggested going to Roast for dinner.  Her treat.  I was so excited when I read an article that Iron Chef Michael Symon was opening a Detroit restaurant and when I saw the menu for it, I knew I had to go.

Roast is in downtown Detroit on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in the recently restored Westin Book-Cadillac hotel.  The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the Washington Boulevard side.  There is an entrance from the hotel, but there’s also a set of doors next to the hotel’s main entrance that lead directly into the restaurant.

We surprisingly found parking at a meter about a block away.  Had we not, the choices looked to be very limited.  I think I saw a self park on Michigan Avenue next to the hotel.  There’s also a valet service if that’s more your thing. 

We arrived at about 5:45 for a 6:15 reservation.  We checked in with the matre’d figuring we were going to have to wait, but they actually seated us right away.  Roast has a couple huge dining rooms.  They are street level with huge windows looking out into downtown Detroit.  The space is covered with dark, subdued colors with pops of light.  From the dining room, you can see into the kitchen and you can watch the “Roast Beast of the Day” being slow roasted on a spit.  We didn’t sit in the dining room.  Instead, we were seated in the bar area which actually worked out really well.  Read the rest of this entry »





Hackney’s in Palos Park (IL)

3 01 2009
  • 9550 W. 123rd St.
  • Palos Park, IL 60464
  • (708) 448-8300
  • Website
  • Menu
Hackneys in Palos Park on 123rd and LaGrange in Palos Park, IL

Hackney's in Palos Park on 123rd and LaGrange in Palos Park, IL

Whenever I talk about the “best burger” people always bring up burgers with lots of stuff on them or a great special sauce, but no one ever takes the time to talk about a really good flavorful piece of meat.  I don’t like sauces and condiments on my burgers.  I want a burger that tastes good with a slice of cheese on a bun that wasn’t delivered to the back door three weeks ago.  I’ve found a few places in Lansing with burgers like that, but it’s never at the places that win “best burger.”  Very few places take the time to grind their own meat and put the emphasis on the cow.  Lucky for me, there’s still a place in Chicagoland that does just that.

If the name Hackney’s sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’re a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network.  Guy Fieri visited the original Hackney’s in Glenview.  There are six restaurants overall including a downtown Chicago location.  We chose to visit the Palos Park location which has been open since 1986. 

Hackney’s in Palos Park sits on the corner of LaGrange Road and 123rd Street.  It’s across the street from the forest preserve and there’s not much else around it. The building looks like an old farm house both inside and out.  We showed up on a Saturday night just before 5:00.  There’s a huge parking lot that was fairly empty, so we were pretty confident seating wasn’t going to be a problem. Read the rest of this entry »





Red Cedar Grill

5 05 2008
  • 5114 W. Saginaw HwyRed Cedar Grill
  • Lanisng, MI 48917
  • (517) 323-6300
  • Website
  • Menu

I first noticed Red Cedar Grill my first week in Lansing.  We found Lansing Mall looking for Younkers and Red Cedar Grill has a very prominent store front on the outside of the building.  Regular commenter John recommended Red Cedar, so we decided to make it a point to check it out.  My girlfriend needed to go to Younkers, so we made a pre-work trip with enough time to grab lunch.

There are two entrances to Red Cedar.  There is an entrance inside the mall, but the main entrance is the outside door.  We entered through the mall entrance and there was a sign that told us to go to the hostess station at the front of the store.  That’s a little weird considering you have to walk all the through the dining room to get to the front.  The space is gorgeous.  The dining room is dimly lit.  There are booths on a little platform that run the whole length of the wall plus there are tables between the booths and the bar.  There’s a patio out front and a sun room type space next to that.  The bar is also beautiful.  It’s a long L-shape made out of a dark wood.  The low lighting and dark colors make the place really cozy and relaxing.

Red Cedar GrillUsually at malls, you expect places like TGIFriday’s or Ruby Tuesday.  Red Cedar Grill is definately not one of those places.  The menu is much more upscale.  We stopped in for lunch and even the lunch menu was better than burgers and salads….but they did have both on the menu.

I ordered the BBQ, Bacon and Bleu burger.  Crumbled bleu cheese topped a juicy burger.  Bacon was layered on top of that then BBQ sauce was put on the onion roll.  The burger was nice and juicy.  The BBQ sauce sort of cancelled out the bleu cheese taste, but you could still get just a hint of it….and there was a lot of bleu cheese.  I don’t really like onion rolls, but I knew that when I ordered, so I’m not holding that against the sandwich.  The sandwich was good.  It was served with shoestring fries on the side and there was also some hot rolls and butter brought to the table before.  With all that food, for the first time in a long time, I was defeated.  I couldn’t finish everything on my plate….which is a good thing because I’m a big eater. 

My girlfriend ordered the Smoked Turkey Grill….which I almost ordered myself it looked so good.  Smoked turkey was stacked on rye bread with bacon, tomato, aged cheddar, and dijon mustard.  Her meal also came with a side of cracked pepper kettle chips.  For the first time, I almost wished my meal came with chips instead of fries.  These were really good.  The cracked pepper made the chips a little spicy.  The smoked turkey was delicious.  She didn’t say a whole lot about the sandwich other than it was good.  She did remark more than once that the chips were delicious.

Our bill with pop was $25, so it’s not a cheap meal, but the food is quality and the service was pretty good.  For a while, we were the only ones in the restaurant, but we hit them right as they opened.  The server disappeared come check time, but during the meal, he was always there when we needed another Coke.  The food came out pretty quickly and we probably weren’t there more than a half hour. 

Thanks, John, for the suggestion.  We’ll have to go back and try the dinner menu now.