Greek, Italian, Latin, and Chinese flavors occasionally work their way onto the menu at Cosmo's Cucina?but no one taste lingers too long. That's because the restaurant changes its menus like clockwork every three months, creating new dishes to best take advantage of seasonally available ingredients.
When Cosmo's Cucina opened in 1992, choosing to buy as many ingredients as possible from local farmers wasn't meant to be a trendy decision: the chefs just wanted to make sure that they were getting exactly what they wanted. The decades haven't dampened that enthusiasm. In fact, the menu proudly touts the quality of the chefs' finds.
What they can't buy from the markets, the chefs make from scratch themselves. Hand-made pastas and black-bean burger patties demonstrate their commitment to maintaining control over every ingredient that goes into diners' meals.
A Historic Setting
The building that houses Cosmo's Cucina has a history of its own: 110 years' worth. Situated on the second floor, the restaurant occupies a space that has been home to numerous restaurants over the decades. Now, its dining room swathes diners in warm exposed-brick walls, while colorful umbrellas keep things shady on a back patio.
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.
Every year, Kirk Newman Art School encourages students of all ages to explore sculpture, painting, printmaking, and other disciplines in more than 300 classes. Designed to complement the school?s curriculum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts? collection highlights American works in these and other mediums, including ceramics and photography. The museum includes European prints and pieces from Africa and East Asia right alongside the art of American luminaries like Janet Fish, the only painter who's ever had gills. Besides its permanent and rotating exhibitions, the institute hosts programs that range from lectures to an annual juried competition for local high school artists.
Kalamazoo Salsa turns up the heat every weekend to marinate Kalamazoo’s Latin-loving community in energetic rhythms on the sizzling dance floor at the Blue Dolphin Restaurant. Miami Night Fridays transforms South Burdick Street into a sultry South Beach dance club with sexy salsa spectacles, a variety of groovy moves, Latin DJs spinning high-energy beats, and sunscreen-slathered tourists. VIP tickets seat onlookers in the exclusive balcony section overlooking the exquisite dance floor where a variety of moves and booty-shaking formations rule the night. Bar drinks and pizza served by wait staff are available to keep the joints loosened and well-fed until 1 a.m. Open dance ends at 2 a.m.
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.