If you would have told me that Kalamazoo is a great destination for foodies a few weeks ago, I would have seriously doubted you! I’ve heard Kalamazoo is known for their breweries, but I wasn’t so sure about restaurants. But, my recent trip proved me wrong — here are 6 great downtown Kalamazoo restaurants you need to try.
When I was headed to Kalamazoo, I had no idea that the food would be so good! I was beyond impressed with restaurants I tried — who knew that Kalamazoo, Michigan is a foodie destination!?!
Since I was staying downtown at the Kalamazoo House Bed and Breakfast I stuck to downtown restaurants within walking distance. All of these places are located within about a 15 minute walk from the Kalamazoo House.
Written by Katie Seeman – A travel blogger and writer at Zen Life and Travel from Columbus, Ohio
Originally featured at Zen Life and Travel
Rustica Kalamazoo is a small restaurant that packs a big punch. They emphasize fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. They take their inspiration from places in Europe like France, Italy, and Spain, and blend that with a bit of Michigan flair.
If you like mushrooms, you’ve got to try the Mushroom Farrotto — it’s a risotto-like entree that’s full of fresh mushroom flavor.
- My Recommendations: Harvest Salad and Mushroom Farrotto
- Location: 236 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
Principle Kalamazoo offers fresh local ingredients and a great list of craft cocktails.
The Cheddar Biscuits with bacon jam were a delicious appetizer. If you like apple cider, try the Golden Delicious cocktail — a festive mix of Pilar 24 rum, Pilar Blonde rum, apple cider, and cinnamon syrup. It was one of the best cocktails I have had since I was at the Andaz Costa Rica (which basically had the best cocktails ever)!
- My Recommendations: Cheddar Biscuits and Smoked Brisket; Golden Delicious Cocktail
- Location: 230 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
We stopped by Fuze Kalamazoo for their Sunday Funday Brunch and I am so glad we did. This restaurant features fresh ingredients, an open air kitchen, and a hip, upscale vibe.
I had a hard time deciding what to order in part because their menu is pretty unique and I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to try. I settled on the Mexican Street Toast and it was AWESOME! It featured avocado, corn, pepers, aioli, queso fresco, and eggs on sourdough toast. IT.WAS.SO.GOOD — probably one of the best (and most unique) brunch entrees I’ve ever had.
- My Recommendations: Mexican Street Toast, House Made Waffles
- Location: 214 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an activity to help burn off all those glorious calories you’ll be eating, head out for a little nature hike. There are a few parks and nature preserves just a short drive from downtown Kalamazoo. We chose the Asylum Lake Preserve which is a nature preserve owned by Western Michigan University. It’s only a 10 minute drive from downtown Kalamazoo and was a great place to get out of the city for a stroll through the woods.
4. Food Dance
Food Dance is probably the most casual and least hipster of all the downtown Kalamazoo restaurants I’m recommending, however they still promote sustainable and local food. It had an upscale breakfast diner vibe — but it has a bar and serves lots more than just breakfast. I tried the Autumn Spice Latte and it was pure heaven! If I lived in Kalamazoo I would order this every.damn.day.
There’s also a small market attached to the restaurant selling desserts, cheeses, and other local and interesting foods and gifts.
- My Recommendations: Autumn Spice Latte, Do-Si-Do Omelet
- Location: 401 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
5. Water Street Coffee
Water Street Coffee is a small hipster/college kid hangout that serves coffee, sodas, sandwiches, soups, desserts, and more. We may have been the only ones there without a laptop, but we still enjoyed it.
Try their specialty Sleeping Bear Hot Chocolate — it’s got a mix of chocolates blended with cinnamon. Yum!
I visited the downtown location, but you’ll also find Water Street Coffee in Oakland, Borgess, Portage, and Sprinkle.
- My Recommendations: Sleeping Bear Hot Chocolate
- Location: 315 E. Water Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007 (Downtown Kalamazoo)
6. Bell’s Brewery/Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
When I told friends that I was going to Kalamazoo, everyone said that I had to go to Bell’s Brewery. Honestly, I’m not that into beer so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, but I am glad I did. While Bell’s is a brewery, there’s also a full service restaurant called Bell’s Eccentric Cafe that serves food in addition to a huge selection of beers.
While you’re there, take a free tour of the brewery. They are offered multiple times a day on Saturdays and Sundays — reservations are recommended however walk ins are welcome if there is space. Tastings aren’t included in the tour, but the bartenders will let you taste a few before you decide what to choose. Request your beer in a plastic cup and you can take it on the tour with you.
- My Recommendations: Cider (I’m not a beer person!)
- Location: 355 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007 (Downtown Kalamazoo) or 8938 Krum Ave. Comstock, Michigan, 49053