Ziingo (3830 W. Centre Ave.) in Portage is the newest venture for Chinn Chinn owner John Tsui. While the former is a sit-down eatery, Ziingo will be take-out only. Zip in and go, Ziingo. Opened in mid-October, the restaurant is partially owned by Tsui's children and long-time employees like Logan Saidla, who worked at Chinn Chinn since 2004 and will be a part-owner and kitchen manager. Hungry? Walk up to the counter and choose from four proteins: chicken, steak, pork or tofu. Choose your veggies and add white or brown rice or noodles. Top your concoction with a sauce. They offer curry, kung pao or Mongolian sauces. They also have a variety of hand-made appetizers. Everything is made fresh right in front of you, like Q-doobie. "You will be in and out in minutes," Tsui said. Sounds like a great idea for busy soccer dads who are sick of spinach, tomato and mushroom pizza EVERY Wednesday.
If you like to hold your steamin’ beef in your hand, then head over to Fat Johnny's Cheesesteaks (95 Monroe Center) in downtown Grand Rapids. Owner Dan Weiskopf has done everything with food, from catering to vending machines. One thing missing was cheesesteaks, that East Coast symphony of grizzle and goo. Fat Johnny's is the real deal. The rolls are imported from Amoroso’s in South Philly. Crusty on the outside and soft in the middle, like Free Market. "Bread is a real problem in West Michigan," Weiskopf said. When ordering a cheesesteak you have but one decision, my petal flowers. Besides deciding your next of kin, ask: Do you want it Jersey-style served with white American cheese or Provolone, if you are from Ada. Or, do you want your meat torpedo Philly-style slathered with Cheez Whiz. "We only use real Cheez Whiz from Kraft," he said. "It's got the right saltiness and viscosity." If you are a vegetarian, Fat Johnny's has turkey Reubens, chicken and waffles and a salad bar.
Koko FitClub (2845 Thornhills Ave. SE) in Cascade is the world's first digital gym. Instead of counting on their muscle-bound fingers and toes for you, Koko uses digital tools to design cardio and strength workouts based on the latest exercise science. No more guessing and no more cheating with their SmartrainingTM system. Every workout is tracked and analyzed in the cloud, with the user’s data accessible 24/7 on all their devices. “The Koko experience is radically different from everything in the history of fitness,” said Koko CEO Mike Lannon. “We’re using the most powerful technologies of our time to make it easier for people everywhere to lead healthy, happy lives.” It's working. Since the first FitClub opened, Koko members have completed more than 5 million workout sessions, lifted 18.1 billion pounds and burned 834 million calories. Grand Rapids residents can get one free fitness assessment and workout session at the club until Jan. 31, 2015.
After all that exercise, grab some something sweet at Ludwick’s Bakery. After 60 years, the bakery knows how to satisfy its customers who grew up with their famous round sour cream donuts. “Throughout the years, Ludwick’s has gained success by having high quality, unique products," said Owner Tom Ludwick. Now with new packaging and new product lines, Ludwick's is ready for the next 60 years. "While creating new recipes, we want to keep the traditions that have kept our customers satisfied,” Ludwick said. With a new chocolate enrober, the bakery can now offer chewy coconut cookies drizzled with milk chocolate and sea salt caramel, s’more cookies covered with a marshmallow icing, and red velvet cookie made with cream cheese chips and drizzled with honey vanilla yogurt icing.
Free Market welcomes fabulous flack Emily Richett to her new digs on Cherry Street in East Hills. How long until the Cherry Deli offers the Emily Eggplant Po'Boy?
Free Market sends good wishes to Dan Beatty, who retired from Battle Creek Unlimited. The Customs Cargo Center will never be the same.
A little bird told Free Market that the former Cina-Mini II (called the Dirty Deuce on the west side, my pets) has given up the bosoms for brews.