The Top 10 Restaurants In Kalamazoo, Michigan

Photo of Oliver Griffin
9 February 2017

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.

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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.

Old Peninsula Brewpub and Restaurant

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

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.

Crow's Nest

Restaurant, American, $$$
Perched in a high rise in downtown Kalamazoo, the Crow’s Nest is one of Kalamazoo’s go to restaurants. Open for almost a decade, the Crow’s Nest serves a fine array of food and drink seven days a week. While the restaurant serves food upstairs, the bakery and café downstairs offer a range of brilliant coffee and pastry goods. A popular spot for breakfast, the Crow’s Nest prepares dishes such as the breakfast BLT, steak and eggs, and a breakfast burrito. Other options include amaretto pecan French toast, a classic ceasar salad, and the K’zoo tofu stir fry, which is veggie friendly.


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.

Sweetwater's Donut Mill

Dessert Shop, Dessert
Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is open 24 hours, seven days a week baking the finest donuts and muffins imaginable. Sweetwater’s Donut Mill was first founded in 1983 in Kalamazoo, while a second store was opened just three years later. Donut choices include classics such as glazed or sprinkled, as well as more inventive varieties such as the snickers, a homage to everyone’s favourite nutty chocolate bar, and the grasshopper, which is a donut stuffed with mint ice cream and chocolate sauce. They also do muffins for a lighter treat.

Food Dance Café

Cafe, Market, Restaurant, American, $$$
Now approaching its 20th year, the Food Dance Café has been using artisanal producers to create a thriving and sustainable food system. Complete with a farmer’s market and art gallery, this bohemian venue is perfect for those diners who long to get back to the culinary basics. The crew at the Food Dance Café admit to being obsessed with using ingredients that pass through farms and not factories, pledging nothing but a natural alternative to the modern day’s invasion of fast food chains. Dishes include wild mushroom polenta, sesame ginger salmon, beer brined pork chops and myriad other beautiful meals.

Bell’s Eccentric Café

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.

The London Grill

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
The London Grill is a British inspired pub – minus the warm beer and the nicotine stained curtains – right in the heart of Kalamazoo. With a signboard depicting one of London’s famous Beef Eaters, the guardians of the Tower of London, guests can rest easy knowing they are in enthusiastic hands. Open six days a week from Tuesday to Sunday, this UK gastro pub serves up some of Britain’s favorite dishes, including a number of delicious curries. While curries include butter chicken and pork vindaloo, other options – such as bubble and squeak or bangers and mash – take a more traditional approach.


Restaurant, American, Italian, $$$
An Italian restaurant like no other, Zazios is where food and entertainment are brought together in a way you’re unlikely to experience. While Zazios boasts an open kitchen that allows all guests to watch as their food is prepared, the chef’s table provides an even more personal touch. Sat here, guests can watch as expert chefs cook and serve a five course meal right in front of them. These menus often follow a theme and, with a past favorite being the them ‘chocolate.’

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