Kalamazoo: Eclectic, cutting edge foodie scene

2014-05-12T07:30:00Z 2014-05-21T17:44:08Z Kalamazoo: Eclectic, cutting edge foodie sceneKathleen Dorsey nwitimes.com
May 12, 2014 7:30 am  • 

Kalamazoo is sometimes overlooked among the best and brightest of Michigan’s cities.

Big mistake.

Not only is Kalamazoo’s downtown recently rejuvenated and revitalized, but Kalamazoo’s food and drink scene is one of the best in the Midwest. With many local craft breweries, some world-famous, and surrounded by beautiful farmland, Kalamazoo knows how to bring farm-fresh goodness to everything they produce.

The restaurants of Kalamazoo are committed to keeping food fresh and simple, while bringing out innovative flavors and dining experiences.

The chef and staff at Food Dance, located in downtown Kalamazoo, are dedicated to providing real, farm-sourced foods together in a menu of eclectic American cuisine. Their menu provides information about the origins of the foods they serve, while their market allows customers to buy some of those same ingredients for their own kitchens.

Rustica, situated on the all-pedestrian Kalamazoo Mall, offers European cuisine made from local, sustainable ingredients. Also on this mall is Central City Tap House, that serves up fresh frites in white truffle oil with parmesan and herbs and pub-friendly burgers with a touch of luxury. Next door, its sister restaurant Epic Bistro puts a fancier spin on a traditional menu.

Water Street Coffee Joint offers artisan-roasted coffees made from fair trade and certified organic coffee beans. Their many varieties of coffee can satisfy any palate, while their hand-blended and dried teas provide a soothing counterpart.

Kalamazoo’s many farmers markets can bring the freshest of produce conveniently to downtown Kalamazoo. The People’s Food Co-op, on the east side of downtown, offers ethically farmed produce and grocery goods year round, while the Can-Do Kitchen, run by the Fair Food Matters organization, offers a licensed commercial kitchen for small-time chefs to make their specialty goods.

Why stay in the city, when you can get back to basics and harvest some farm-fresh foods for yourself? Local farms offer tours and u-pick gardens ready to offer up the freshest of produce, dairy products and more.

But arguably, Kalamazoo’s most famous export is their cutting edge beers and breweries. The world-famous Bell’s Brewery has been around since 1985, but in recent years has experienced a popularity explosion. The brewery creates more than 20 beers for large-scale distribution, while many smaller batches are available only at their Eccentric Café.

A tour of their brewery, just a few minutes outside of town, is well worth the drive, with many educational features you never knew you wanted to know.

The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange allows guests to sample beers in a very unique way. According to their website, “Offering 28 rotating draught beers from around the world, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange bases pricing of these draught beers on real-time sales, like the stock market, resulting in an ever-evolving happy hour.”

Situated conveniently downtown, within walking distance to many of Kalamazoo’s finest restaurants and breweries, is the Radisson Plaza Hotel, which boasts one of the city’s most interesting restaurants. Zazio’s, on the first floor, offers regional Italian cuisine in a luxury atmosphere. Diners can also opt for the live cooking demonstration from chef John Korycki. Korycki creates a special menu and interacts with his audience during this unique dining experience.

The hotel also offers well-appointed, relaxing rooms, a fitness center and full-service spa.

Kalamazoo offers foodie tours and brewery tours so guests don’t miss any of these unique destinations. Another option is to attend the Taste and Brew of Kalamazoo on July 24-26, 2014. Kalamazoo’s premier restaurants, breweries and wineries will be on hand to showcase the best of their menus.



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