Sonic Drive-In – Birch Run

23 08 2009
  • 8650 Main Street
  • Birch Run, MI 48415
  • (989) 624-4700
  • Website
  • Menu
Sonic Drive In on Main Street in Birch Run.

Sonic Drive In on Main Street in Birch Run.

A few weeks ago, I put up a press release about Sonic opening a store in Birch Run.  I knew it was just a matter of time before we would find an excuse to make the trip east.

The Sonic in Birch Run is the chain’s fifth Michigan store.  It’s located on Main Street in front of the Prime Outlets.  You can see it as soon as you get off the Interstate.  The store has an exit and entrance from Main Street which was actually closed off when we first went by because of a lot of traffic, but most people will actually enter off Beyer Road in the back. 

When we took a trip to Flint just a few weeks after the Sonic opening there, we actually had to wait in a line to get a stall.  I assumed the same thing would happen in Birch Run.

We finally made our way to Sonic a little before six o’clock.  The main entrance is accessible from Beyer Road.  Since we were coming from the Outlet Mall, we were already close.  We pulled in to the drive way and I noticed a stall right away.  Instead of having two rows of stalls on one side of the building, they have one row on either side of the building.  Read the rest of this entry »





Hardees – Rantoul, IL

20 08 2009
  • 326 S. Century Boulevard
  • Rantoul, IL 61866
  • (217) 892-2606
  • Website
  • Menu
Hardees on Century Boulevard in Rantoul, IL

Hardee's on Century Boulevard in Rantoul, IL

Back in February, I put up a quick blog post about a Hardees at a rest stop in Indiana.  I didn’t really review anything because I didn’t eat.  It was more of a post to wax nostalgia and complain about the 20 inches of snow I just drove through.  Still, someone berated me for writing a post on my blog that they didn’t think should be there.  My blog.  I’ll post what I want. 

I was back in Illinois this week for work and I ended up in Rantoul, IL.  There’s not much in Rantoul anymore.  It’s a town of about 13,000 just north of Champaign.  It used to be home to Chanute Air Force Base, but when the government shut the base down, the town hit tough times.  The major employer was gone and everyone associated with the base left town. 

Since you already know that I work in TV, I’ll tell you I was in town for the University of Illinois’ Camp Rantoul.  U of I is one of two schools in the Big Ten that do a preseason camp.  They live in a hotel next to the practice facility and they’re given a strict schedule of when to eat, when to sleep, and when to practice.  It’s a great thing for the city because the practices are open to the public and people do show up to watch.  You’d think it was an NFL camp. 

Because of impending weather, I didn’t get a lunch break.  We were trying to get our show in before the storm hit and the school moved their practice up by two hours.  Once the show was over, I was starving.  I was tired though and I really just wanted to get home.  This was the first time I had been to Rantoul since the AFB closed, so I had no idea what was actually in the area.  I drove through downtown to see what was there, but I eventually ended up back on a stretch of road with plenty of fast food choices.  Read the rest of this entry »





Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken – Kalamazoo South

18 08 2009
  • 4441 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 345-2151
  • Website
  • Menu
Lees Famous Recipe Chicken on Westnedge in Kalamazoo.

Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken on Westnedge in Kalamazoo.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had to drive to my parents house.  It’s been a nice break that’s about the change.  This trip is the first of many between work and wedding related events. 

I waited until J went to work, but I didn’t eat much before I left the house.  I was on my way to my brother’s for dinner, but that was still four or five hours away by the time I hit Kalamazoo.  I was hungry, so I knew I needed to get off and get something.

I don’t know much about Kalamazoo, but I do know Westnedge is a pretty good bet if you’re looking for something quick.  I wasn’t going to go to far down, but I drove a little ways off the Interstate to see what was around.  Just as I was getting ready to turn around, I found a chicken place.

Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken has three locations in Kalamazoo.  The one I found is on the corner of Westnedge and Kilgore Road.  When I pulled into the lot, I had no idea this was a chain, but when I got inside and saw the signage, it was pretty obvious this place wasn’t your Mom & Pop chicken place. Read the rest of this entry »





Gumby’s Pizza and Wings

16 08 2009
  • 311 W. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-8400
  • Website
  • Menu
Gumbys Pizza & Wings on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Gumby's Pizza & Wings on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Long hot days.  I haven’t had too many of them the summer, but I have had a lot in the last week or so.  It seems at work picks up for me, our pleasant summer has taken a vacation.  Saturday was no different.  A ten hour day at Michigan State left me hot, tired, and hungry.   I decided to act like a college kid and I put in an order for pizza.

I don’t know why I thought of Gumby’s Pizza and Wings as I was trying to look up phone numbers using the web browser on my outdated Motorola Razr.  I’ve heard of Gumby’s but I’ve never had a pizza from one.  The chain is pretty exclusive to college campuses with 25 locations throughout the US.  There is one other location in Michigan at WMU in Kalamazoo. 

The Gumby’s Pizza and Wings in East Lansing is in a tiny mixed use building just to the west of downtown on Grand River Avenue.  It’s right across the street from Crunchy’s which is the reason I first noticed this location.  The shop is mostly take out, but there are a couple tables and a quasi-lunch counter if you need a place to eat.  They also have a couple video games and a Pepsi machine in the lobby.  Read the rest of this entry »





Cottage Inn Pizza – Washington Square

10 08 2009
  • 303 S. Washington Square
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 267-9000
  • Website
  • Menu
Cottage Inn Pizza on Washington Square in downtown Lansing.

Cottage Inn Pizza on Washington Square in downtown Lansing.

Long baseball games make me hungry.  I was at the Saturday night beating the Lugnuts took at the hands of the Dayton Dragons and by the time the game finally ended, I was craving pizza.  J was at home and hadn’t eat yet either.  She texted me to see what I was going to do and I told her to call for pizza.

Cottage Inn has several locations in Lansing and the surrounding area.  We usually order from the one in Holt because it’s closest to our place, but it was my turn to buy dinner.  Had J ordered from Holt, she would have had to buy, so I told her to call the downtown location and I’d just pick it up on my way home.

The Washington Square location sits near the corner of Washington Square and Washtenaw Street.  It’s a small building, but they actually have a little bit of seating in the front of the store.  They serve pizza by the slice and actually had some in the rotating glass case at 10:30 at night.  I’ve always wondered about that when I drive by after baseball games.  I guess it was Saturday night and they probably do a decent business from the bars with the slices. 

J ordered the pizza at 10:25.  When I got there at 10:45, the pizza wasn’t ready.  We had ordered a large thin crust that was half cheese and half all meat.  We also got an order of Cinnamon Stix. The Cinnamon Stix were on the rack ready to go, but the clerk told me they hadn’t put the pizza in yet, so I had to sit there for the ten minutes or so while the pizza cooked.  It was made, it just hadn’t been put in.  Read the rest of this entry »





Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill

10 08 2009
  • 2401 Lake Lansing Road
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 316-9973
  • Website
  • Menu
Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing.

Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing.

My curiosity finally won out.  Is it possible for a large chain restaurant to make good BBQ?  I’ve tried in the past.  I’ve eaten at a Corky’s franchise hoping for the best, but leaving feeling disappointed.  In my experience, the best BBQ joints are always locally owned, they smoke on site, and they serve Memphis style BBQ. 

Saturday was a pretty crappy day.  J and I both overslept due to the rain.  Our bedroom looked dark all morning and neither of us were motivated enough to actually look at a clock to see what time it was.  When we did finally roll out of bed, we started our Saturday ritual of debating eateries and activities to fill our afternoon before I had to go to work.  I had the BBQ craving and J had a GAP Rewards card, so Eastwood Towne Center seemed like the best option.

Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill is just off of Lake Lansing Road in front of the Eastwood Towne Centre near the other chain restaurants that dominate the area.  It was a miserable rainy day when we pulled into the parking lot and fortunately, we found a parking spot near the door.  The main entrance does not face Lake Lansing Road like you’d expect it to.  It actually faces the access road for the mall.  Read the rest of this entry »





Wild Wing Cafe

1 08 2009
  • 2085 W. Grand River Avenue
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 349-2321
  • Website
  • Menu
Wild Wing Cafe on Grand River Avenue in Okemos.

Wild Wing Cafe on Grand River Avenue in Okemos.

When I rolled out of bed this morning…er, afternoon, J started asking about lunch.  She was hungry.  I was hungry, so we started getting ready to leave the house.  Last night, I gave her the option of Mexican or wings.  Today, I wasn’t really in the mood for Mexican so I made the call to head to Okemos to try out the new chain in town. 

Wild Wing Cafe is on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Okemos Road in the building that used to be Bennigan’s.  The chain is an east coast franchise based in South Carolina.  The Okemos location is both the farthest north and west. 

I never went into the Bennigan’s, so I have no idea if anything has changed inside.  The dining room is anchored by a large bar in the middle that is covered with LCD TV’s.  In fact, that’s pretty much the whole design theme.  LCD TV’s everywhere.  Everywhere!  The place really has a sports bar theme.  The TV’s are accented with MSU pictures that have been blown up and hung on the walls. 

There are tables and booths that fill in the space around the bar.  We were shown to a table near the stage that hosts local bands on weekends.  A waitress came over and took drink orders while we looked over the rather large menu.  I knew I wanted wings, but there were a lot of options.  J isn’t in to the traditional wing as much as I am, so she needed a little more time to work her way through the choices.  Read the rest of this entry »