Category Archives: Dining

Chicago Dining

Chicago offers dining options from Italian tapas to half a dozen ways to prepare goat. Here are some favorite blogs with great suggestions for your Chicago dining experience.

Jeff Eats Chicago
Yeah, he does. Then he offers up his opinions on his blog, complete with descriptions of the atmosphere and, of course, the food. He even has his own rating system, 0-5 pearls. Reviews are broken down by neighborhood, type of food and pearl rating.

Rapp Eats
This blogger reviews and rates restaurants in his hometown of Chicago as well as locations farther afield. While he doesn’t seem to be as active lately, there’s a solid archive of reviews on this site.

Passport Delicious
This blogger writes with a fun voice as she eats her way through Chicago’s restaurants and delivers her verdict on each. Check out her Chicago recommendations on Passport Delicious.

Restaurant Week, Grand Haven, MI

During Restaurant Week Grand Haven’s eateries are offering select lunch and dinner options at great prices to encourage diners to get out there and try something new or just enjoy some old favorites. More than 20 restaurants are taking part in Restaurant Week, offering up $8 lunch and $15 dinner meals. See the list of restaurants and menu options here:

Grand Haven Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week 2017 takes place February 17 –  25.

Mario Batali’s Favorite Traverse City Haunts

Photo by Bill Rockwood

Each year famed chef Mario Batali spends the greater part of the summer at his vacation home near Traverse City, fishing, cooking and hunting down the best eats the area has to offer.

He shared some of his favorite spots to shop and dine in Michigan on his blog: Michigan Summer

See his recommendations for everything from an old-school butcher to the best hard apple cider to a great seafood place on the Bon Appetit Blog: How Mario Batali Escapes New York Summers

Here are a few original Mario Batali Traverse City inspired recipes:
Celebrity chef Mario Batali dishes up three Michigan-inspired summer recipes

In this article Mario Batali names his favorite nine restaurants, including 2 Traverse City, Michigan establishments
Mario Batali’s 9 favorite restaurants around the world

Mario Batali sat down with the folks at to share his favorite things to do in the Traverse City area.



Coffee Shops in Holland, MI

While on vacation my husband and I frequently lpause from our sightseeing to spend a few hours in a coffee shop, enjoying a rich, hot cup of java, munching on decadent sweets and reading or taking advantage of free wi-fi. Holland has several great coffee shops – here are a few favorite


JP’s is on Eighth Street, downtown Holland’s main drag. You’ll see students from nearby Hope College feverishly typing away at their keyboards as well as business people banging out a deal and grey-haired old ladies speaking Dutch. JP’s has two rooms of seating, as well as communal study tables in the back with plenty of outlets for those who need to plug in their laptops. JP’s offers a full menu of coffee drinks, sweets and soup and sandwiches if you’re looking for a light bite to eat.

JP’s Coffee & Espresso Bar
57 East 8th St.
Holland, MI 49423

A block away from JP’s, perched on the edge of Hope’s campus is Lemonjello’s. This coffehouse has a decidedly bohemian ambience, and it’s where you’ll find the vegan zucchini bread, free trade coffee and 100% recyclable policy. Lemonjello’s is a favorite with students, though there are lots of patrons who have left their college years behind as well.

Lemonjello’s Coffee
61 E. Ninth Street
Holland, MI 49423

Shopping District

Love, love, love Panera’s sandwiches, soup, salads, and coffee – and they have free refills to boot!

Panera Bread
3067 West Shore Drive
Holland, MI 49424
(616) 738-2400

Of course.

3259 West Shore Drive
(616) 994-6387
Way Cup
I tried Way Cup Cafe once, down by the Macatawa Bay lakeshore. It seemed like a neighborhood hangout, but its location makes me think there’d be more tourists during the summer. They also serve breakfast.

Way Cup Cafe
501 W 17th St # A
Holland, MI 49423-3400
(616) 796-0589

Chain Restaurants, Muskegon

If you’re vacationing in Muskegon and craving a familiar meal for dinner, you can head to one of the national chain restaurants in the area. The area around The Lakes Mall is home to several. Craving some Italian food? Try The Olive Garden or Johnny Carino’s. Seafood lovers can dig into some shrimp at The Red Lobster. Family style dining enthusiasts can try Bob Evans or Perkins – where kids eat free – or grab a gourmet burger at Red Robin. For tasty steak there’s Brann’s Steakhouse, Logan’s Roadhouse or Texas Roadhouse, and for the sports, beer & chicken wings crowd there’s Buffalo Wild Wings.

View Larger Map!

Zoup!, Holland

Zoup! in Holland, MI

Soup lovers must check out the Zoup! restaurant while in Holland. The restaurant serves sandwiches and salads, but as the name suggests, the emphasis is on soup.

The decor is warm and inviting, with a sort of Panera restaurant style. We walked in and staked our claim on a cushy booth, then headed up to the counter. The woman at the register asked if we’d been in before, and when we said we hadn’t, she explained that Zoup! has over a hundred soup recipes, which they rotate every day. Only their chicken pot pie soup and lobster bisque are served every day. The woman suggested we try a few samples before making our selection. I tried the chicken and roasted garlic soup, corn and red pepper chowder and the lobster bisque.  All excellent, but I settled on the creamy bisque with chunks of lobster and a hint of sherry, as did my soup-loving daughter. I was given a choice of French, sourdough or multi-grain bread on the side and went with sourdough.

Zoup! is located off US-31, by Best Buy and Target.

Contact Info:
3435 West Shore Drive
Holland, MI
Phone: 616-738-9687

Zoup! Fresh Soup Company on Urbanspoon

Sands Restaurant, Silver Lake

For family style dining right by the Silver Lake sand dunes, check out the Sands restaurant.  The Sands serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to hungry dunes explorers. The decor could use a bit of updating, but you’re there for the good food. Food like Michigan blueberry waffles, chicken fajita salad, corned-beef reuben sandwiches, quesadillas, pasta, steak, pizza, bacon cheeseburgers and lake perch, to name a few.  There’s also a kids menu.

Most breakfast choices and sandwiches are less than $8, and most dinner entrees come in under $16.

Contact info:
Sands Restaurant
8448 W. Hazel Road
Mears, MI 49436
(231) 873-5257

Flickr photo by BurgerAustin