I've lived in Kalamazoo (on and off) now for nearly a decade - WOW. That' a long time. Over the years I've definitely solidified my favorite places and would love to share them with you! What are you favorites in Kalamazoo?

 

Coffee: Black Owl 

I absolutely love this place! It's so cozy and a perfect place to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while you do some work. They only have a selection of baked goods during the week, but serve breakfast on the weekends to accompany your drink. They make all their coffee to order via the pour-over method, so I don't recommend coming here if you're in a rush. 

What I order: Moonlight Maple Walnut, black.

 

Brunch: Food Dance Café

I could easily recommend this place for any meal of the day, but I have to highlight their brunch. They source all of their ingredients locally and sustainably whenever possible, which is why everything tastes so fresh. You really can't go wrong with anything! And they have a cute little retail shop to browse while you wait for a table.

What I order: Sweet - Local yogurt with granola, fruit, and the muffin of the day + coffee, of course. Savory - Chicken Dance sandwich... mind blowingly good!

 

Lunch: Just Good Food Deli

This place is kind of off the beaten path and it's not a place that will come to your mind, but that's probably why I like it so much. It's kind of in a weird location - in the basement of a building downtown, and it has sort of a cafeteria vibe, but the food is just delish! I love that all their ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible and half of their menu is vegetarian for when I'm looking for a lighter bite. They also have the deli section for carry-out.

What I order: Susie Q off the vegetarian menu.

 

Dinner: Rustica

This place is perfect for a date night. It's really cozy with a delicious menu and extensive wine list. The menu changes with the season and what's available, which I love! The only pitfall is that they don't take reservations for parties less than 5, but you can call same day to try and get priority seating (they do the best they can to accommodate).

What I order (current menu): Heirloom Tomato Salad and House-Made Ricotta Gnocchi

 

Bakery: The Victorian Bakery

O.M.G. the carrot cake. It's hands-down the best I've ever had and I make sure to tell anyone and everyone that will listen. I really have no clue what Maria does to create this magical slice of heaven, but she credits it to the organic carrots. Whatever it is, it's working. I will literally go out of my way just to get a slice, and when they're closed and I need a quick fix, I'll pop over to Sawall Health Foods since they stock it daily. Sawall's also carried Lush Nuts while you're there ;)

What I order: Carrot Cake, clearly. But you can't go wrong with anything.

 

Beer: Bell's Brewery

Bell's is the most well-know brewery in Kalamazoo, and with good reason. Their beer is GOOD. Really good. They recently expanded their dining room selection and the food is equally as delicious, perfect for a lunch meeting or late night bite. The patio and beer garden is perfect during the summer, and they also have a stage for performances. Bell's Brewery is a must when visiting, you won't regret it!

What I order: Summer - Oberon or Oatsmobile, Winter - Winter White // Food - Black Bean Burger with Mixed Greens (Oberon Vinaigrette is amazing) or Pulled Pork with Mixed Greens

 

Cocktails: Principle

Principle is still relatively  knew to the Kalamazoo restaurant scene, but it's certainly made an impact. Not only are the food and craft cocktails delicious, but the vibe is plain and simply put, cool. It gives off a bigger city vibe and their downstairs section is the perfect place to meet with friends for an after dinner cocktail. It's very small and seating is limited, but it's worth the wait. 

What I order: Drinks - Mitt N' Manhattan or New York Sour // Food: Baked Cheese, Grilled Broccoli, Crispy Chicken Thigh, Beer & Pretzels (perfect sweet and salty dessert)

 

*Bonus* - Donuts Shop: Sweetwater's Donut Mill

You'll frequently find Sweetwater's on any "Best of: donuts" lists from all over the country and once you taste them you'll see why. I tend to go for the filled varieties as I think they're more unique (also a yeast donut, which I tend to prefer over a cake-y donut), but they're all killer. Donut miss the opportunity to taste these. See what I did there? 

What I get: I ALWAYS get the Strawberry Cheesecake, but any filled donut for my second round will do.

 

Hope you enjoyed my suggestions! Let me know if you visit any of these and what you thought. 

-Bisera