Blackhawk boasts a history as flavorful as its food, starting in 1830 when Colonel Isaac Barnes built a crude cabin that would later develop into a multilevel trading post, then into an event hall, and finally into the current bar and grill. The historic restaurant, which was rebuilt in the 1970s after a devastating fire, continues to draw crowds with heaps of old-fashioned hospitality, as well as a monumental menu of fire-grilled pizzas ($9.95–$13.95), pastas ($6.95–$9.95), burgers ($6.95–$9.95), steaks ($12.95-$17.95), salads ($6.95–$8.95), and more. The Wet Burrito ($8.95) forms the saucy spine of Blackhawk's Latin American menu with mounds of meat smothered in colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and black olives. The pan-fried walleye ($14.95) is a house specialty, pairing perfectly with frosty suds from the bar.
Cheer on popular American sports such as shot put and alligator-wrestling while tippling frosty glasses of draft beer or selections from a menu of outrageous belly-fillers, including the pulled-pork quesadilla ($6.99), a heap of slow-roasted meat smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s and a blend of melted cheeses. Half-pound burgers arrive with hand-cut home fries and torrential toppings, such as the Brunch burger's ($8.99) arsenal of fried egg, crispy bacon, and cheddar cheese, ensconced not in blithe buns but in two separate grilled-cheese sandwiches. The Tailgater ($8.49) solves the dilemma of choosing between a burger and a brat by enclosing both in a single bun. Brick-fired pizzas, strombolis, and subs round out the offerings. Vegetarian-friendly options are also available.
Voted Best Italian Restaurant in 2010 by the readers of the Kalamazoo Gazette, Erbelli's and their elite squad of dough gurus dish out an eclectic array of pizza pies and traditional Italian eats. Famished patrons can customize their own gourmet pizzas with one of eight different crusts, including original hand-tossed, deep-dish, gluten-free, or whole-wheat crust, and a plethora of meat toppings, types of cheese, veggies, and seasonings. Erbelli's in-house specialties include the Disco Q pizza, a homemade Cajun crust covered in blue cheese, spicy wood-grilled smoked chicken, mozzarella, and sharp cheddar, and the Grizzly Bear pizza, jam-packed with six fresh meats including meatballs, genoa salami, and spicy capicola ($15.39+ each). Diners seeking noncircular chow can peruse the menu for Italian favorites such as chicken mushrella calzone—crammed with pizza sauce, fresh mushrooms, and grilled chicken ($7.99+)—and the smoked turkey breast and ham submarine sandwich ($5.99+). Vegetarians or time-traveling brontosauri will relish the assortment of fresh salads and carb-fiending customers will get their noodle fix from the selection of pastas.
Voted Best Student Hangout and one of the best venues for live music and performances by the Kalamazoo Gazette, The Strutt presents crowd-pleasing American fare and nightly musical entertainment for stimulating study breaks or an evening out. The menus feature appetizers that include the black-bean-queso dip ($5.95), and heartier stomach stuffers, such as The Sloppy José, which puts a spicy, south-of-the-border spin on a classic dish ($4.95). Meanwhile, meat eschewers can chew on plentiful vegetarian options, including the roasted-veggie quesadilla ($5.95) or the Blue Apple salad, with apples, raisins, red onion, toasted almonds, and gorgonzola tossed in shallot vinaigrette ($6.95). A full bar, extensive beer list, and nightly drink specials complement any meal or musical act, and the plentiful brunch –– with live jazz on Saturday and bluegrass on Sunday –– and breakfast make this spot a go-to from day to day after.