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Home to the Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo is equally 150 miles from both Chicago and Detroit, making it a great location to visit if driving between these two great American cities. Known for being a major hub of fine craft beer, Kalamazoo is also the original home of the famed Gibson guitars. We check out the best places to dine in this Michigan gem.
Head chef Chris Kidd, a graduate of the culinary institute of America, and his team at Rustica specialize in serving house cured meats, home made cheese and more than 180 different bottles of wine, sourced from all over Europe. The interior works harmoniously with the food to create a truly convivial atmosphere that guests will not forget. Main meals include braised lamb shank with house bacon and confit potato, as well as pan roasted Michigan chicken and smashed seasonal potatoes.
Sitting in an historic old building near the water’s edge, the Olde Peninsula Brewpub and Restaurant is somewhat of an institution in Kalamazoo. A purveyor of fine craft ales, the Brewpub welcomes guests to a relaxed atmosphere that is suitable for any time of day. In fact, the beers on tap are changed on a regular basis, altering with the whims of the pub owners. Alongside burgers, salads and pizzas, the Brewpub also offers a great selection of bigger dishes. These include fresh caught perch, deep fried and served with chips, as well as the classic pot roast, served with fresh vegetables and cheesy mash potato.
The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange is a colossal building, covering two floors. The Beer Exchange offers 28 rotating draught beers, sold in the manner of a stock exchange, so prices are dictated entirely by popularity. Throughout the day, beer crashes take place and prices drop to their all time low. The Beer Exchange offers a range of great pub dishes, all of which are created in the open kitchen, where guests can watch their food being prepared. Dishes include home style meatloaf, chicken pot pie, served with a sweet potato crust, and roast mushroom crepes, complete with spinach and a caprese salad.
Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, 211 E Water St, Kalamazoo, MI, USA, +1 269 532 1188
In Arabic, Zooroona literally translates as ‘come visit us’. As the name suggests, it is highly recommended that you give this fantastic Middle Eastern restaurant a try. Founded by the Mandwee brothers after they immigrated to Michigan in the 1980s, the restaurant is now the go to place for cuisine of the Middle East. Starters include dishes such as falafel, baba ghannouj, and dolmeh, which is grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables. Mains are a hearty affair, with spiced beef and figs, Lebanese lamb medley with hummus, and spinach and cheese pie all available throughout the day.
Zooroona, 1710 W Main St, Kalamazoo Twp, MI, USA, +1 269 382 4444
Offering a heady mix of craft beer, great food and live music, Bell’s Eccentric Café is the place to be if you fancy something at the livelier end of the spectrum. Located right next to Bell’s General Store in downtown Kalamazoo, this bar and restaurant guarantees 20 plus draught beers at any given time. Live bands play at the cafe most nights, while yoga takes place there during the day. Dishes are simple, but also hearty and delicious. Pulled pork, jambalaya, and Cajun chicken wraps are great choices for main meals, while starters include tacos and buffalo style chicken.
Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, 355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI, USA, +1 269 382 2332