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10 Hidden Gem Restaurants in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Posted on September 18th, 2019

We’re willing to bet that there’s at least one spot on this list that you’ve never heard of, or at the very least, never been before. If you’re not local, even better! You’ll get a taste of the amazing different flavors offered here in Kalamazoo County.


Share your foodie pics with us by using #discoverkzoo, and be sure to let us know if there are any other hidden gems we ought to know about!




Quekas believes there’s nothing more comforting than a home-cooked meal. They believe that people of all cultures deserve real, homemade Mexican food, which is why they pride themselves on bringing authentic Mexican food from their kitchen to your plate.





Cookie’s Five Star Grill


Cookie’s is the number one place to go in Kalamazoo if you’re craving authentic hot and fresh comfort food! While they’re well-known for their burgers, some of their other unique menu offerings – like the Maple Pecan Chicken-n-Waffles, the Fried Catfish or the famous family recipe Power Punch – are unlike anything else that you’ll find in Kalamazoo.





The Burger Bros


Burger Bros offers customizable burgers and sandwiches and prides themselves on being delicious, fast and affordable. We recommend trying their Hot Chix Sandwich with giardiniera and jalapeno cheese sauce!





Rasa Ria



Rasa Ria is a snug, simply appointed cafe doling out traditional Indonesian & Malaysian noodles, curries & satays. If it’s your first time visiting, we’ve been told that the Beef Rendang is an absolute must-order! 




Kitchen House


Locally focused and Italian inspired, Kitchen House is serving up rustic American food that celebrates Michigan and the culture of breaking bread. According to Yelp reviews, the manicotti and the flourless mocha cake should be at the top of your list for your first visit!





Cafe ’36


Cafe 36 is a modern American seasonal restaurant focusing on all natural, sustainable and organic foods, in a refined warm setting. This hidden gem is located above Sawall Health Foods, the oldest family-owned natural foods store in the US!





Shawarma King


Shawarma King is a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant that is beloved by so many in Kalamazoo and beyond! Their fresh food, delicious flavor, generous portions and top-notch hospitality are what keep people coming back. Something we hear often from out-of-town visitors is that they specifically pencil in a visit to Shawarma King into their itinerary when they’re traveling to or through Kalamazoo! We suggest trying the Shawafal Sandwich – which includes hummus, tahini sauce, tabbouli, falafel, chicken and beef shawarma, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles!





Station 702


Station 702 is an exciting fast casual restaurant serving traditional American Cuisine with a focus on fresh omelets. Breakfast is served all day with lunch starting at 11.  This moderately priced, 30-seat restaurant whips up delicious dishes as quickly as any fast food place, making it ideal for commuters on the go, anyone in need of a speedy lunch spot, or students looking for an alternative to traditional coffee shops.  At Station 702, it’s Food Fast, not Fast Food!





Dandelion Cafe & Bakery


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Dandelion Cafe & Bakery is a farm-to-table breakfast and brunch spot located near the shores of Gull Lake, just up the road from the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. They’re known for their omelletes, but make sure to save room for dessert! Their baked goods are unbelievably delicious. Seriously. We dream about the strawberry bumpy cake!





Charles & Darl’s Smokehouse and Grill


Charles & Darl’s Smokehouse offers mouthwatering BBQ meals that you can enjoy while overlooking the first hole of Gull Lake View East golf course. Their state of the art, industrial size smoker has positioned them to be one of the best BBQ restaurants in Kalamazoo.