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.
According to BattleCreekEnquirer.com, Taste of India owner Harjinder "Kevin" Singh founded the 80-seat restaurant with his longtime friend Chef Hyder after trying for nearly 17 years to find an outlet for his Indian recipes. He emigrated from the Punjab region of India in 1995 and has always shared a passion for cooking his native country's cuisine. In the kitchen, he and Hyder whip up tender lamb skewers and tandoori ginger chicken, as well fresh baked naan bread and a dynamic menu of meat and veggie curries that mirror the colorful dining room's burgundy booths, cinnamon-hued walls, and carpet woven from julienned cauliflower.
The baristas at Uncommon Coffee Roasters have been keeping the people of Saugatuck caffeinated since 1994. Founded by a pair of Chicagoans, the coffee shop began roasting its own coffee in 2000 and now sells it wholesale to more than 200 businesses throughout the Midwest. At the espresso bar, baristas whip up small batches of high-quality coffee, using beans from small farms and infusing the drinks with housemade syrups. Caf? employees have even traveled internationally to places such as Honduras to meet the coffee farmers personally.
Each morning, bakers use fresh ingredients from the onsite garden and local farms; they also bring in pie from Crane's Pie Pantry and danishes from Golden Brown Bakery. In the summer months, guests can enjoy beverages outside on the garden patio; occasionally, live bands play outside. Uncommon Coffee Roasters also hosts demonstrations that involve hands-on brewing lessons, during which participants use single-cup brew methods to make a variety of coffee and learn to juggle coffee mugs.
Big Island Smoothies refreshes weary swallow sectors with fresh smoothies and energizing frozen coffees. Big Island’s smoothies come courtesy of the taste bud-treating physicians at Dr. Smoothie, whose mouthwatering mixes eschew artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to create an all-natural beverage that doesn’t double as a Botox injection ($4.39 for regular, $4.69 for large). Vitamin-enhanced blends such as strawberry banana, mango orange, and caramel mocha cool off steaming estuaries, while a 24-ounce Red Bull smoothie braces sippers for late-night study sessions in university boiler rooms ($5.77). The crystallized brew beans in a frozen coffee exhale a cool breeze of spirit-jolting caffeine ($4.39 for regular, $4.69 for large), and quenched patrons can quell tumultuous tummies with fresh-baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies ($1.89 for three).
After spending his childhood absorbing the finer points of pie forging from his father, Darren "DC" Cornell ventured forth on his own to build a reputation preparing pizzas with homemade sauces, never-frozen pepperoni, and fresh, top-shelf ingredients. The pizza baron and his crew melt a signature four-cheese blend over hand-tossed, thin-crust, and Chicago-style pies, christening each discus with patriotic names that celebrate institutions of the United States and laws that allow setting off fireworks indoors. Toppings such as real italian sausage, smoked meats, imported capicola ham, and fresh veggies join with a mélange of sauces and creamy cheeses to grace savory pies and calzones. Hearty sub sandwiches, light wraps, crispy salads, and classic Italian favorites leave diners as satisfied as a snowman swimming in the Arctic.
The folks at Cheshire Nails strive to elevate nailcare from a mere series of treatments to a full-blown experience. Therefore, they offer VIP and hot-stone spa packages that turn simple manicures and pedicures into lavish journeys, comforting feet and hands with citrus-honey sugar wraps, marine masks, and massages that feature the soft kiss of butter creams. But the emphasis on embellishments in no way detracts from the salon's bread and butter. The technicians groom nails with precision and zeal, filing and shaping nails before layering on OPI and Shellac polishes, which can turn even the most accusatory finger wag into a gesture that emotes pure class.