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(Food) Stops from Chicago to Detroit

(Food) Stops from Chicago to Detroit
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  • (Food) Stops from Chicago to Detroit

    Post #1 - January 27th, 2008, 12:13 pm
    Post #1 - January 27th, 2008, 12:13 pm Post #1 - January 27th, 2008, 12:13 pm
    I've tried my best to do some web research and catch up on some old threads, but I think it's time to put this back out here in 2008 and formally gather some opinions.

    We regularly make the trip to Detroit for family and we're wondering what are notable stops along the way. We usually take the Skyway then I-94.

    Fast food of note is acceptable and stop-worthy table service affairs welcome. Other food related or simply interesting stops can be included too.

    Here's are familiars:
    - Culver's is our usual easy choice since back when they were not as common in Michigan and are still in the Chicago 'burbs
    - Jackson's Fruit Stand in Sawyer. It's been a while since we've stopped, but for sure next time
    - Grandpa's Cider Mill - a new stop near Coloma (exit 39). Stopped in before Christmas. Would expect it to feel different in fruit season.

    If there's a better place to dig up this kind of info, let me know. Thx.
    Last edited by elvinc on July 3rd, 2010, 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - January 27th, 2008, 1:29 pm
    Post #2 - January 27th, 2008, 1:29 pm Post #2 - January 27th, 2008, 1:29 pm
    Benton Harbor, MI
    La Perla, a Mexican market with a taquieria inside, is excellent. I. The tacos and burritos are fantastic and well worth the stop. Inexpensive too.

    La Perla
    1231 Pipestone Rd
    Benton Harbor, MI 49022
    (269) 934-8813

    Ann Arbor, MI
    http://www.zingermans.com is worth a stop too.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #3 - January 27th, 2008, 2:05 pm
    Post #3 - January 27th, 2008, 2:05 pm Post #3 - January 27th, 2008, 2:05 pm
    Breakfast (or lunch) @ Waffle House of America
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - February 2nd, 2008, 10:06 am
    Post #4 - February 2nd, 2008, 10:06 am Post #4 - February 2nd, 2008, 10:06 am
    Bruce and Steve,

    Thanks for the tips. La Perla wouldn't be on the radar at all. No guidebooks really focus on Benton Harbor and I don't believe I've seen a billboard pointing the way either.

    Been to Zingerman's (my wife went to UofM) and it's a great stop. We've popped into their Bakehouse as well, but their full offerings would be found at the deli. Though a full service affair, a friend of mine said good things about the RoadHouse. We don't get out to Zingerman's quite as often since it is usually close to our arrival for dinnertime in the western suburbs of Detroit. It can however be a wait during peak times...maybe we'll figure to order ahead.

    As for the Waffle House of America...the billboards and the restaurant have been there since I've driven the stretch of 94. It's a historical stop that will have to be made.

    -elvin-
  • Post #5 - February 2nd, 2008, 11:39 am
    Post #5 - February 2nd, 2008, 11:39 am Post #5 - February 2nd, 2008, 11:39 am
    We stop there often on our way up. The bakery is wonderful. I would be interested in the opions of more eloquent posters.

    http://www.bitofswiss.com
    Last edited by funkyfrank on February 3rd, 2008, 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #6 - February 2nd, 2008, 7:18 pm
    Post #6 - February 2nd, 2008, 7:18 pm Post #6 - February 2nd, 2008, 7:18 pm
    It is more than a brief diversion, but we took a delicious detour to Stop 50 Wood Fired PIzza on our last trip to Motown.
  • Post #7 - February 4th, 2008, 12:50 pm
    Post #7 - February 4th, 2008, 12:50 pm Post #7 - February 4th, 2008, 12:50 pm
    My favorite stop is at exit 162 in Michigan. Backwoods Beef Jerky. A small family run operation with up to 15 different varieties of jerky. There are also some cheeses and sausages and the owners are happy to let you sample just about anything. I was also offered fresh venison jerky made especially for me, albeit I needed to supply a freshly killed deer, which I was unable to do so.

    Worth the stop, even just for the smells.

    http://backwoods.ws/
    Butter
  • Post #8 - February 5th, 2008, 4:25 pm
    Post #8 - February 5th, 2008, 4:25 pm Post #8 - February 5th, 2008, 4:25 pm
    We love Skips restaurant on
    Red Arrow Highway and Lakeshore Road,
    between New Buffalo and Union Pier
    269-469-3330
    They have the best prime rib
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #9 - February 5th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    Post #9 - February 5th, 2008, 5:30 pm Post #9 - February 5th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    Stop 50 Wood Fired Pizza is about 10 minutes off the highway, and it's definitely worth the short detour. Great pizza, and a terrific sandwhich (can't remember what they call it) that's essentially a double slice of pizza folded on itself. Real friendly owner who's devoted to the art of pizza. We go to Ann Arbor a few times a year (pick up and drop off the frat boy), and it's become a regular stop. Check their Winter hours, as they may not be open every day.

    Jonah
  • Post #10 - February 6th, 2008, 3:06 am
    Post #10 - February 6th, 2008, 3:06 am Post #10 - February 6th, 2008, 3:06 am
    Wow, love the topic. I frequently make the trip from Chicago to Detroit for Lions games. ( I have season tickets for the Detroit Lions) This topic will help me a bunch too. :lol:
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #11 - February 6th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Post #11 - February 6th, 2008, 9:46 am Post #11 - February 6th, 2008, 9:46 am
    You don't want to pass up Drier's (Three Oaks, MI) on your way back for its smoked meats and cold cuts, where liverwurst is "liverbest."

    http://www.driers.com/
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #12 - February 8th, 2008, 2:44 pm
    Post #12 - February 8th, 2008, 2:44 pm Post #12 - February 8th, 2008, 2:44 pm
    I can't personally vouch for Redamak's, the hamburger that made New Buffalo, Michigan famous, but I've always found their billboard on I-94 to be strangely compelling. Has anyone been?

    I can, however, personally vouch for Zingerman's as one of the world's greatest establishments of any kind. If you don't want to wait, the Roadhouse takes reservations and the deli takes phone orders.
  • Post #13 - February 8th, 2008, 5:00 pm
    Post #13 - February 8th, 2008, 5:00 pm Post #13 - February 8th, 2008, 5:00 pm
    redamaks has a good butter burger; they go pound for pound and you can tell; the meat melts in your mouth...
    the fries are just okay and they use american cheese on the burgers.
    worth a stop if you're feelin' butterburgery.
    http://www.journeymancafe.com/jm_home.htm Journeyman may be a bit out of the way but I think it is worth the trip.

    the website isn't too pretty, but i had this big red (their montage i believe)at blackbird not too long ago and i couldn't believe it was from michigan, i've been meaning to stop by and pick some up just to prove that michigan can produce a nice red to my snobby friends...http://www.cherrycreekwine.com/
  • Post #14 - February 10th, 2008, 3:47 pm
    Post #14 - February 10th, 2008, 3:47 pm Post #14 - February 10th, 2008, 3:47 pm
    We had seen the Redamak's billboards forever...and did stop in once. Maybe it was just too early yet on the road to Detroit, but it wasn't a memorable burger (I don't think it was bad either) experience. But that was a single visit and maybe I wasn't as focused on comparing the experience to a chain like Culver's. (which offers frozen custard, shorter stop?, and multiple locations along the way). But maybe I want to remember that the fries were better, fresh cut? Other experienced visitors are making me think twice of a revisit.

    I do wonder however. It's a big place, so I know it's driven by summer tourism and thus its seasonal closings. I guess they make enough in the summer to just close rather than run over the winter.

    Glad of the interest in this thread. I think our next visit will be in March and will provide updates from our visit. I'll have to see whether keeping a blog will be useful at all vs. this living LTH thread.

    -elvin-
  • Post #15 - February 12th, 2008, 1:36 pm
    Post #15 - February 12th, 2008, 1:36 pm Post #15 - February 12th, 2008, 1:36 pm
    Well March 1st is St. Redamak's day in New bBuffalo. I guess it is a Saturday this year so the kids won't have to skip school this year. Its not spring but it means it may just possibly be near.
    There is sometimes controversy over Redamaks on this and other boards.It is what it is.the meat is fesh ground about what?5 oz.s to the patty.It is fried in a pan with some steam added at the end.No lettuce no tomatoes,no olives or gourmet accoutrements(sp?).The fries are commercial food service crinkle cuts i imagine.
    i particularly like the friday perch.if you like it great if you don't there are plenty of other places for burgers in the area.
  • Post #16 - February 15th, 2008, 8:34 am
    Post #16 - February 15th, 2008, 8:34 am Post #16 - February 15th, 2008, 8:34 am
    Yes, the fries are standard commercial food service crinkle.
    The burgers are good, very simple and straight forward.
    I don't think they advertise as butter burgers but I heard from a long time New Buffalo resident they're going pound for pound butter to meat and it is freshly ground. If you're up there in the day they've got a lunch special that is super cheap.
  • Post #17 - February 24th, 2008, 4:09 pm
    Post #17 - February 24th, 2008, 4:09 pm Post #17 - February 24th, 2008, 4:09 pm
    We love Miller Bakery Cafe, Cafe 444 and the Bakers House in Miller Beach. They are located right off the Indiana toll road from I-65 or Ripley St. The Miller Bakery and Cafe 444 have been written about but the new arrival is the Bakers House. It is a small, cute yellow old house with excellent sandwiches, quiche, scones and other pastries. Counter service with seating in the small living room, library or outside. Also have amazing breakfast sandwiches and coffee.
    If the weather is good follow Lake st. north to Lake Michigan and watch the sun set over the city of Chicago.

    Also if you find yourself taking 80/94--Bishop Ford--Dan Ryan exit Indianapolis Blvd north to 173rd st. for Schoop's Hamburgers of Hammond.
  • Post #18 - February 28th, 2008, 8:31 am
    Post #18 - February 28th, 2008, 8:31 am Post #18 - February 28th, 2008, 8:31 am
    Several recommendations that are just a short distance off of I-94:
    (1) Friendly Tavern & Grill - Exit 39 about 10 minutes north in downtown little Coloma is one of the best restaurants in southwest Michigan. Open everyday for lunch and dinner. Anything from great hamburgers, mexican dishes, yellow lake perch and other full course meals. Try their french onion soup. Ray, the owner, really has made it a "friendly" place.
    (2) Panel Room - About 1/2 mile north of Exit 46. Great place the locals and farmers go to for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alot of great daily specials.
    (3) Bilbo's - Exit 76 about a mile south on Westnedge. They serve their popular local style pizza and other great foods both for lunch and dinner. Very popular with the college kids at their Western Michigan University location. Also, there are many very good restaurants right around this area on Westnedge, which is a popular shopping area in Portage (Kalamazoo).
    (4) Cornwell's Turkeyville USA - on the east side of Battlecreek, only a short 10 or 15 minute drive from I-94. Take I-69 north off of I-94, get off at first exit ((Exit 42) and go west and follow signs. Interesting place that specializes in all kinds of turkey dishes. Google for their website.
    (5) Schuler's - downtown Marshall, Mich. about a 10 minute drive from either Exit 110 or 112. All kinds of great food for brunch, lunch and dinner. I've had prime rib at places all over the country, but none have ever been as good as that served at Schuler's. A very famous classic restaurant. Website at http://www.schulersrestaurant.com/
    Parenthetically, I would take both Wafflehouses of America (at Exits 41 and 52) off of the recommended list. They are both way past their prime. Nothing like the good ones that exist down south.
  • Post #19 - February 28th, 2008, 10:21 am
    Post #19 - February 28th, 2008, 10:21 am Post #19 - February 28th, 2008, 10:21 am
    BTB, thanks for the info. I said to Dickson yesterday at Steve's about this thread, "who wants to stop on the way from Chicago to Detroit." You do mention one of the places that has called to me on our treks, that is Schulers, can you say more?

    I will have to say that we tried Cornwell's Turkeyville once and found it a real shadow of its purported glory.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #20 - February 28th, 2008, 12:00 pm
    Post #20 - February 28th, 2008, 12:00 pm Post #20 - February 28th, 2008, 12:00 pm
    Schuler's is a very old restaurant institution in southern Michigan. They used to be called Win Schuler's, which was the name of one of the founder's sons who was most responsible for building the business, but they now just go by Schuler's. They also used to have several other restaurant locations, but like many family restaurant empires, the fast food phenomenon has required them to cut back to their first and original restaurant location there in Marshall.

    They do have one other location in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, however, located across the street from a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. In the summer, it is a nice place to sip a martini overlooking the lake on their outside patio. And that restaurant -- Schu's Grill and Bar -- is also about a 15 minute drive off of I-94 (usually from Exit 27, Niles Rd, altho you can get there from other Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Exits if you know your way around).

    They are also the makers of the famous Win Schuler's Bar-Scheeze and Bar Chips that you probably can find at most large grocery stores, as far away as down here in Florida. Their bar cheese is great for snacking on with crackers while sipping on your favorite beverage or drink.

    While the St. Joseph restaurant is excellent, it is not as good as the Marshall location in my estimation. I don't necessarily know what it is about the Marshall restaurant (besides a much larger menu which can be viewed online), but for me the prime rib there is supreme. Their prime rib roasts have been specially sourced for more than a half a century and their ultra slow cooked methodology makes for a most tasty and tender piece of beef that one could ever wish for. When I am back in the area this coming summer, I think I've just talked myself into making a special trip back to this special restaurant.
  • Post #21 - February 28th, 2008, 5:24 pm
    Post #21 - February 28th, 2008, 5:24 pm Post #21 - February 28th, 2008, 5:24 pm
    BTB wrote:Parenthetically, I would take both Wafflehouses of America (at Exits 41 and 52) off of the recommended list. They are both way past their prime.


    While that is certainly true of the one at Exit 41, the one at Exit 52 is actually very good. I never miss it. (See my post above).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - February 29th, 2008, 7:48 am
    Post #22 - February 29th, 2008, 7:48 am Post #22 - February 29th, 2008, 7:48 am
    Steve, I took some guests to the Lawrence Wafflehouse of America on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the summer last year. After being seated we ordered beverages and while looking at the menu and deciding what to order, we noticed a lot of people at the other tables looking unhappy with their meals and grumbling to one another about it. Curious about their discontent, we asked several people about the food. One woman responded emphatically that it was not very good. A man at another table boomed out loudly " . . . the worst meal ever" and advised "get out now and get something better down the road." People at other tables were nodding in agreement. We got up from our table, paid the cashier for our beverages, and went to another restaurant.

    I had been to that Wafflehouse before, but not for a couple of years. Back then it was all right, not great, but decent. Things change. Who knows. Maybe they fired their cook and things are better again.
  • Post #23 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 am
    Post #23 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 am Post #23 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 am
    BTB wrote:Steve, I took some guests to the Lawrence Wafflehouse of America on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the summer last year. After being seated we ordered beverages and while looking at the menu and deciding what to order, we noticed a lot of people at the other tables looking unhappy with their meals and grumbling to one another about it. Curious about their discontent, we asked several people about the food. One woman responded emphatically that it was not very good. A man at another table boomed out loudly " . . . the worst meal ever" and advised "get out now and get something better down the road." People at other tables were nodding in agreement. We got up from our table, paid the cashier for our beverages, and went to another restaurant.

    I had been to that Wafflehouse before, but not for a couple of years. Back then it was all right, not great, but decent. Things change. Who knows. Maybe they fired their cook and things are better again.


    It could have been a bad day. I was there as recently as the day after Christmas and my breakfast was as good as ever.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #24 - February 29th, 2008, 8:59 am
    Post #24 - February 29th, 2008, 8:59 am Post #24 - February 29th, 2008, 8:59 am
    Steve, I was aware of your earlier report. I'm around that area a lot since I have a summer home on a lake nearby. We've noticed whenever we pass that restaurant that there seems to be less and less cars in their lot. But who knows as that can vary from time to time. As between breakfast, lunch and dinner, I'd say the breakfasts would be the best choice for which to stop by there. However, the locals in the area (farmers, county mounties, etc.) would say that the Panel Room a short ways down the road at Exit 46 is better for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. The award winning washrooms at the Wafflehouse, however, are a little better than those at the Panel Room.
  • Post #25 - March 11th, 2008, 9:25 am
    Post #25 - March 11th, 2008, 9:25 am Post #25 - March 11th, 2008, 9:25 am
    I'm off to Ann Arbor this weekend, are there any other gems there not mentioned? I plan on hitting Zingermans. Any unique spots in Ann Arbor worth checking out?
  • Post #26 - March 11th, 2008, 8:30 pm
    Post #26 - March 11th, 2008, 8:30 pm Post #26 - March 11th, 2008, 8:30 pm
    BTB wrote:Schuler's is a very old restaurant institution in southern Michigan. They used to be called Win Schuler's, which was the name of one of the founder's sons who was most responsible for building the business, but they now just go by Schuler's. They also used to have several other restaurant locations, but like many family restaurant empires, the fast food phenomenon has required them to cut back to their first and original restaurant location there in Marshall.

    They do have one other location in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, however, located across the street from a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. In the summer, it is a nice place to sip a martini overlooking the lake on their outside patio. And that restaurant -- Schu's Grill and Bar -- is also about a 15 minute drive off of I-94 (usually from Exit 27, Niles Rd, altho you can get there from other Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Exits if you know your way around).

    They are also the makers of the famous Win Schuler's Bar-Scheeze and Bar Chips that you probably can find at most large grocery stores, as far away as down here in Florida. Their bar cheese is great for snacking on with crackers while sipping on your favorite beverage or drink.

    While the St. Joseph restaurant is excellent, it is not as good as the Marshall location in my estimation. I don't necessarily know what it is about the Marshall restaurant (besides a much larger menu which can be viewed online), but for me the prime rib there is supreme. Their prime rib roasts have been specially sourced for more than a half a century and their ultra slow cooked methodology makes for a most tasty and tender piece of beef that one could ever wish for. When I am back in the area this coming summer, I think I've just talked myself into making a special trip back to this special restaurant.


    I can vouch for Schuler's (Marshall location). Excellent food, amazing (the only word for it) decor. And Marshall itself is a gorgeous time capsule; it has to be a Top 10 candidate for Mainstreet, USA.
    JiLS
  • Post #27 - March 12th, 2008, 10:22 am
    Post #27 - March 12th, 2008, 10:22 am Post #27 - March 12th, 2008, 10:22 am
    jmc wrote:I'm off to Ann Arbor this weekend, are there any other gems there not mentioned? I plan on hitting Zingermans. Any unique spots in Ann Arbor worth checking out?


    If you like Korean food, there's a terrific low-key spot on South U. called Kang's Coffee Break. To this day, they serve one of my favorite versions of BiBimBop.

    http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=16180977
  • Post #28 - March 12th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    Post #28 - March 12th, 2008, 1:01 pm Post #28 - March 12th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    I know we're not lacking for Italian delis in Chicago, but if I'm within 50 miles of Detroit, I can't avoid going to Bommarito's. Lots of great baked stuff and a decent wine selection but the kicker is their Italian subs.

    I don't know if it's a psychological thing or what but I am of the opinion that their standard Italian sub is the best one I've ever eaten. I make detours on trips to Canada just to eat here.

    Bommarito's
    21830 Greater Mack Avenue
    Saint Clair Shores, MI 48080
    Phone: (586) 772-6731
  • Post #29 - March 12th, 2008, 2:18 pm
    Post #29 - March 12th, 2008, 2:18 pm Post #29 - March 12th, 2008, 2:18 pm
    jmc wrote:I'm off to Ann Arbor this weekend, are there any other gems there not mentioned? I plan on hitting Zingermans. Any unique spots in Ann Arbor worth checking out?


    I'd say this. Don't just go to Zingermans. Do the tour d'Zingerman. For one thing, you get a T shirt for showing your little butt at all four places; for another thing, it's well worth the time. At the bakery they'll be happy to give you a tour. The cheese shop may be the best of the bunch, with one thing better than the other--I would be damn broke if I lived in Ann Arbor, and the Roadhouse mixes some mean drinks. It's a lot of fun.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #30 - March 12th, 2008, 2:30 pm
    Post #30 - March 12th, 2008, 2:30 pm Post #30 - March 12th, 2008, 2:30 pm
    Thanks everyone! Loving the info, keep it coming! I'll report back!

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