A fixture on the coast of downtown Grand Haven, the Pronto Pups stand has undergone few, if any, changes since it sold its first pup 68 years ago. And second generation owner Carl Nelson is just fine with that. “We only serve one thing, so when you walk up to the window we don’t ask you what you want, we ask you how many you want,” Nelson said. “There’ll never be anything more or anything less. The system we have right now is a well-oiled machine.”
Traverse City may be known for its cherries and wine, but the Northwest Michigan town has been slowly making a name for itself because of its thriving craft beer scene. The city of around 15,000 people has no fewer than 10 microbreweries or brewpubs — and that’s not even counting many more beer producers that continue to pop up in nearby towns like Acme, Lake Ann and Suttons Bay. (Lest you fudgies forget: Short’s Brewing Co. is actually based 40 miles away in Bellaire.)
With all of the junk food served at festivals, you might need a detox. One option is juicing. For some, the words juice cleanse conjures up an image of self-inflicted suffering, sacrifice, and near-starvation. And then there’s the price tag (not cheap), and the connotation (Gwyneth-y), and the crimp it puts in your social life (goodbye bars, hello board games). I get it, but I’ve done the juice cleanse more than once and experienced positive results.
Sitting next to a crackling hickory fire outside Saugatuck’s new fried chicken-and-barbecue joint The Southerner, chef Matthew Millar reflected on this moment in his career, which finds him going back to his roots. “I’m a blue-collar guy,” Millar said. “I never wanted to be an artist. I always wanted to be somebody who just did something well.”
We scoured West Michigan in search of sweet treats. Here's where to go for donuts, pastries, cupcakes, tarts and more to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make sure to drool-proof your keyboards before reading.
Once the beer began flowing in Hudsonville, people started to take notice. While it had the dubious distinction of being Michigan’s last dry city, a title it held until 2007, the Ottawa County town now boasts two growing microbreweries that come highly regarded by the region’s craft beer cognoscenti.
Good beer comes to those who wait. The Looman family had been plotting for years to find a way to bring their homebrew concoctions to a wider audience, and they got serious in 2014. Nick and Krista Looman quit their jobs and relocated to Newaygo County to start Newaygo Brewing Company.
The Grand Rapids foodie scene perked up with the announcement of the impending expansion of the Social Kitchen & Bar, a Birmingham, Mich. fixture. The new addition arrives at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, later this year — hopefully in September.
When San Chez opened its doors 23 years ago the Heartside District was not exactly a thriving hub for grub. “In 1992 the Heartside District was very rundown, there were empty buildings,” said San Chez owner Cindy Schneider. “There were not many people moving around downtown. It’s definitely much better now.”
To the uninitiated, raw fish, rice and seaweed may not seem like the most appetizing building blocks for dinner. But when placed in the hands of an accomplished sushi chef, something magical happens. The ingredients mix into an alchemic blend of gustatory bliss. While there’s certainly no shortage of quality sushi in West Michigan, the following restaurants are must-tries for newcomers and sushi snobs alike.
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