Dinner in Kalamazoo
A friend and I are passing through Kalamazoo on Saturday night. Looking for good bar food and trying to avoid Friday's and the ilk. She loves martinis (but not a foodie) while I like beer and good food :)
There's a few threads already on here that cover the topic if you put "kalamazoo" into the search bar, but I'm always glad to yammer about my town. Martini's has great fresh food in the Italian vein (the best pizzas around, great sandwiches, and plenty of salads and a few entrees, pastas, etc. as well) and a full bar, but can be really crazy on Friday and Saturday nights. It's worth a shot, though! A lot of times you can hang at the outside tables until an indoor table is available.
Food Dance is delicious for dinner, but a bit pricey. Dinners are going to be in the $15 and up range.
Olde Peninsula downtown is pretty much straight bar food, but decently done. They brew their own beer and it's damned good! Don't know much about their martinis, I'm always too schnockered on the IPA to notice what my liquor-based friends have to say about the joint.
There's The Union downtown on the walking mall. I haven't been there for a while because I had a disappointing visit or two, but that was based on trying to go out for a fancy dinner. I think they do sandwiches and salads better, which is probably more what you're in the market for anyway, if you're looking for bar food! They often have live jazz combos from Western Michigan University, but I'm not sure what the timeframe or schedule for that is like.
I've heard good things about Fandango, the tapas bar on the walking mall, but I've never tried it. It's right downtown, too.
A lot of younger folks (I'm a 43-yea-old fogey) seem to love the piano bar (Monaco Bay) and the bull-riding place (can't think of the name) and Burdick's, which is in the Radisson building. Like I say, definitely more of the frat party crowd, which is great if your the right age and such.
The only place that's a little off the beaten track from the main drags downtown is Martini's. Just head south on Westnedge from downtown, and keep you eyes peeled on the right for a pinkish building with some sunflowers painted on it on the corner just down from Chenery Auditorium (a big old brick school) and a row of shops that include a bagel joint.
Anyway, yes....for the foodie in you, I'd rank Food Dance and Martini's at the top of the list. there's several other really great food choices in town, but a lot of them are more carry-out ethnic joints without a liquor license--not the best option for somebody just passing through.
Good luck! Have fun!
I recommend Erbelli's http://www.erbellis.com
Their pizza is amazing, I love their pasta and they have really good subs. The Stadium drive location has a nice pub atmosphere with a very nice looking bar. They have a variety of martinis and they have really good beer on tap and offer nightly drink specials.
Erbelli's Gourmet Pizzeria Italian Bistro & Pub
6214 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
I would echo the nice comments about Erbelli's in Kalamazoo. I was there in late-December 2009, enjoyed the Caprese salad with tomatoes, bufffalo mozzarella, a load of fresh basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. The pizza was good, and the beer list was excellent.
One other place to bear in mind is the Corner Bar (1030 E. Vine Street, 262-385-2028). The Corner Bar is just that, nothing fancy, but they have an outstanding selection of Michigan mirobrews, many of those on tap, and very, very good hamburgers. I'm partial to the Greek burger with feta.