Panera Bread – Okemos

26 10 2009
  • 4738 Central Park Drive
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 349-4425
  • Website
  • Menu

You’ll hear me say this a lot.  I’m not a breakfast person.  I don’t normally get out of bed earlier enough to eat breakfast.  It’s one of the nice things about being a freelancer.  I don’t work everyday.  That’s also one of the bad things about it. 

Anyway, in East Lansing.  This time, very early in the morning.  Work started at 6 AM on Sunday.  Fortunately, I still had keys to my Lansing apartment, so I was not making the drive at four in the morning.  That will happen a few times this fall/winter. 

Our lunch break came around nine o’clock.  Typically, I just go to McDonald’s for breakfast.  I like the bacon, egg, and sausage biscuit.  Add that to the fact that it’s cheap and quick.  When J could meet me, we’d actually go to a good, sit down place, but now that J’s in Kalamazoo, I’m on my own and there’s not a lot of quick breakfast choices.  There just aren’t many places that do a good breakfast sandwich. 

So, I’m heading down Grand River towards my usual McDonald’s stop when I hear a commercial for Panera Bread’s breakfast.  It sounds really good plus it will be something a little different.  Since I’m already on Grand River I keep going to the Panera in Okemos.

The Okemos Panera Bread is on Central Park Drive in a small strip mall on the corner with Grand River Avenue.  On a Sunday morning, it was the only place open, yet there were a lot of cars in the parking lot.  Seems like I wasn’t the only one that had this idea. 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 »





Chick-fil-A – South Bend, IN

7 10 2009
  • 4555 S. Michigan Avenue
  • South Bend, IN 46614
  • (574) 968-0351
  • Website
  • Menu
Chick-fil-A on Michigan Street in South Bend, IN

Chick-fil-A on Michigan Avenue in South Bend, IN

Getting closer.  The final day of our honeymoon started awfully early in the morning.  We got up and got going because we wanted to go apartment hunting in Kalamazoo.  Since it was still a four hour drive from Indianapolis to Kalamazoo, we got on the road early. 

 

Around South Bend, we started getting hungry.  All week we had been saying we needed to top at a Chick-fil-A for lunch.   We hadn’t up until this point and South Bend was probably going to be our last chance.  J took out the GPS to see if there was one close and there just so happened to be one right near our next turn

Let me backtrack a little bit with the whole Chick-fil-A thing.  For whatever reason, a couple guys I used to work with loved the place.  There was one location in Bloomington, IL on the campus of Illinois State University in one of the resident hall dining rooms.  We had a recent college grad working with us who lived in Bloomington and periodically, she would treat the guys to Chick-fil-A.  I never got it.  It’s like Sonic to me.  It looked, smelled, and tasted like fast food. Read the rest of this entry »





Skyline Chili – W. 86th St., Indianapolis

7 10 2009
  • 3524 W. W. 86th Street
  • Indianapolis, IN 46268
  • (317) 872-2266
  • Website
  • Menu
Skyline Chili on W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Skyline Chili on W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Our trip was winding down and we needed one more hotel before making our way back to Mid-Michigan.  We initially planned on driving the whole way back to Lansing because I was supposed to work on Friday.  That got cancelled so we decided to break the nine-hour trip into two parts with a stop over in Indianapolis.

 

I really didn’t want to spend a lot on a hotel, so I did Priceline.  I said I wanted a hotel for $30 and someone took the offer.  It wasn’t a four star in downtown, but all we really needed was a place to sleep. 

As we were driving to our hotel, we passed a Skyline Chili.  Neither of us had ever eaten at one and the only reason I had ever heard of it is because of the Big ‘n Rich song Coming To Your City which has the lyric…

Well we blew through Cincinatti
And we all got really happy
Grabbed a bowl of that Skyline Chili along the way

Since our trip was essentially a country music/BBQ experience, it makes sense that we headed back for some chili.

Skyline Chili has six locations in the Greater Indianapolis area.  The one we chose was the location on West 86th Street on the northwest side of town.  It’s in a little strip mall just off Michigan Road with a number of other fast food and chain restaurants.  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 »





Romano’s Macaroni Grill – Louisville, KY

1 10 2009
  • 401 S. Hurstbourne Parkway
  • Louisville, KY 40222
  • (502) 423-9220
  • Website
  • Menu
Romanos Macaroni Grill on Hurstbourne Parkway in Louisville, KY

Romano's Macaroni Grill on Hurstbourne Parkway in Louisville, KY

I’m just as surprised as you are to see a chain restaurant review on my honeymoon….but we had a really good reason.

We got to Louisville fairly late. After checking into the hotel, it was after 8:00 on a Sunday, so we knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of time to do any sort of exploring. We were also pretty far from downtown out on the east side of town.

On top of that, my mom had given us a gift card to Chili’s before we left. The company that owns Chili’s also Romano’s and neither of us had eaten at a Romano’s. To make things even better, we passed one on the way to the hotel.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is on the east side of Louisville on Hurstbourne Parkway. It’s in an area with a lot of other chain restaurants and small shops.

We pulled up closer to 8:30 just hoping they were still serving. Neither J nor I knew what to expect because we had no idea what kind of restaurant we were walking in to. Read the rest of this entry »





Dairy Queen – Clifton, IL

14 09 2009
  • 1 Bradie Drive
  • Clifton, IL 60927
  • (815) 694-3202
  • Website
  • Menu
The Dairy Queen in (and only fast food option anywhere near) Clifton, IL

The Dairy Queen in (and only fast food option anywhere near) Clifton, IL

For those of you that didn’t grow up in a small town, you will have no idea what I’m talking about.  Imagine growing up in a town without a McDonald’s, a Walmart, or a Blockbuster.  In fact, imagine that the closest location of any of those three was a half hour away.  That’s how things were when I was growing up.  We only had two options when it came to eating out.  There was the local family run restaurant and a Dairy Queen.

Things haven’t really changed much in the town where I grew up (and my parents still live).  Well, actually they have.  The Dairy Queen is gone.  It moved five miles north.  That actually happened when I was in high school, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I had my driver’s license by then so I could still get the Blizzard’s that I craved.  

While I moved away from home, my brother stayed pretty close.  He moved to that town five miles to the north which is still in the same school district and for all intents and purposes, is still considered part of the same community.  We didn’t really go by towns where I’m from.  We go by school districts.  Yes, my high school was sixteen miles from my house in the middle of a cornfield.  Literally.  It’s in a corn field.  Read the rest of this entry »