Purses surround customers at The Purse Rack, with bags from designers such as Dooney & Bourke and Coach adding splashes of color to the crisp white walls. Ranging in size from fashionable wristlets to suitcases big enough to stash a compulsive purse collection, the bags also pair well with a pair of the shop’s designer sunglasses or a piece of their custom-made jewelry.
As part of the tight-knit family of Lou & Harry's outposts, the Okemos eatery offers a quick-serve alternative to their other sports bar and grill locations. Here, patrons will find the classic Greek recipes Lou & Harry's has become known for, including shishkabobs and open-face gyro plates. The grill sizzles with plenty of other entrees as well, including shaved ribeye with onions and an olive double burger topped with a house-made dressing that's also sold in to-go bottles. On nice days, customers can take their freshly grilled feasts and fountain sodas out to the sunny patio, which is hemmed in by wrought-iron fencing and hungry cars that keep inching closer and closer to your table.
Evencio Sanchez grew up on a coffee farm in Colombia and opened Mexicali Restaurant in 1983, fulfilling his lifelong dream of owning a business. To prepare the restaurant's traditional Colombian and Mexican fare, Sanchez's cooks follow family recipes that have been passed down through generations and certified as delicious by a committee of petulant children. Appetizers, such as creamy guacamole, are served with house-made tortilla chips. Mexicali's chefs draw from fresh ingredients and can add a fiery zest to most entrees with jalapeño and poblano peppers.
Tres Lobos Restaurant politely shushes unruly stomachs with a vast, eclectic menu of fresh, spicy Mexican eats, then douses potential tongue-fires with cerveza and margaritas from the full bar. Kick off a vicarious road trip to Tijuana with the nachos fajitas ($9.95) or ranch-flanked buffalo wings ($9.95) before delving into dinner combos such as El Presidente ($10.25), which strains plates with a taco, beef tamal, and a chili relleno. Tres Lobos' famous wet steak and shrimp burrito ($10.50) bundles together a cornucopia of meats, cheese, veggies, beans, ranchero sauce, and rice so that it can be easily fired down open mouths with a T-shirt cannon. Enchiladas vegetarians ($9.25) sates more herbivorous leanings while saving them the long wait-time of growing tomatoes tableside.
Warm, red and white tortilla chips spill forth from a basket. Slow-cooked black beans are simmered with poblano peppers and blended with spice. Aged colby cheese melts together with tender shredded pork inside a hand-rolled enchilada. Traditional ingredients, house-made with care, fill the inventive dishes at El Barrio Mexican Grill. House-made salsas, sauces, and cheese blends accompany most of the grill’s hearty fare, with deep-fried Tijuana corn dogs diving into dishes of creamy melted queso blanco and avocado-ranch dressing winding around wedges of grilled avocado inside soft flour tortillas. The specialty shredded-pork carnitas fly to tables in salt-rimmed skillets that hearken back to the full bar’s margaritas, adding to the festive, cantina-like atmosphere and spurring discussions about which ocean tastes the saltiest.
At Little Mexico Cafe, corn and flour tortillas enfold steak, chicken, and vegetables to create traditional Mexican fajitas, enchiladas, and chimichangas. Homemade sauces slather cheese-laden creations spiced up with jalapeños and racy limericks, and chefs also charter a course toward sautéed, grilled, or stuffed jumbo shrimp. The two-story restaurant showcases bright Aztec-themed murals by artist Roli Mancera, and banners of papel picado flutter overhead in the sunny, yellow upstairs dining room. After a devastating fire in 2008 that burned the original Little Mexico Cafe to the ground, resilient restaurateurs Enrique and Consuelo Ayala rebuilt the eatery for a 2010 reopening, where the community revelry was covered by The Grand Rapids Press.
Recognized for four years running in the Kalamazoo Gazette’s Readers’ Choice awards, Mi Ranchito stands as one of the area's oldest Mexican restaurants and carries on a rich culinary tradition with a menu of generations-old recipes. Native Guadalajarans Jose and Lucia Franco incorporate ingredients imported form Mexico into starters such as the signature nachitos—four taco shell halves daubed with refried beans, melted cheese, and jalapenos that combine cheesy and crunchy better than a knock-knock joke spelled out in granola ($4.25). Freshly prepared entrees include the barbecue sauce-infused pork platter, “Mi Ranchito" ($12.95), and the flauta seaprema, made from crispy bites of butter-sauteed seafood topped with cheddar cheese sauce ($9.95).