When visiting various cities, you may notice restaurants tend to fill on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (after church), but in Battle Creek, Michigan, it seems like the eateries here are packed 24-7. This is especially true when passing by Red Lobster, Denny’s, Chili’s and Old Country Buffet. Although viewed as a small destination, there are plenty of major dining options represented throughout the city. Coming from New York, I had a chance to sample some of the following Midwest-based restaurants:
Finley’s: Only in Michigan will you find this lunch and dinner joint, which is known for their ribs and entertaining drink menu. This is also one of the only places I know that will give you a free, full-dinner meal for your birthday. Just come in with your ID (after 4 pm) and you can choose from the Chicken Tender Dinner, Michigan Cherry Salad, Grilled Chicken Alfredo and Broccoli Pasta, Scrod Dinner or Steak Dinner. Side Note: To me, the chicken pasta is the best deal because you can choose two sides and it comes with a piece of garlic bread. The meal is quite fulfilling. On the other hand, the Michigan Cherry Salad is a great disappointment. It’s more like a side salad than a dinner meal. Kids will enjoy the Chicken Tender Dinner.
Location: 140 Columbia Ave E
Bob Evans: There are close to 600 Bob Evans Restaurants located within 19 states (usually in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic Southeast sections of the U.S.) At this breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, you will encounter a menu filled with Stuffed 3-Egg Omelets, Meat Loaf & Gravy, Slow Roasted Chicken Pot Pie, as well as Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad. Side Note: Unlimited refills on hot chocolate, tea, coffee, lemonade, strawberry lemonade, strawberry iced-tea and soda. The hot chocolate is NOT watered down.
Location: 5421 Beckley Rd.
Hungry Howie Pizza: Offers inexpensive pizzas with your choice of flavored crusts (Original, Buttered-Cheese, Garlic Herb, Ranch, Butter, Cajun, Onion, Sesame). Get 3 medium pizzas for $9.99 or 1 medium for $3.99. Side Note: Hungry Howie Pizza is quite popular here, but I personally liked the taste of the pizza better after reheating it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes.
Location: 189 E. Columbia Ave.
Steak-n-Shake: It is here where I first learned that a steakburger existed. This restaurant, which can be found in the Mid-West and the South, is dubbed “Famous for Steakburgers.” Usual favorites, such as grilled chicken breast, turkey club and chicken fingers, can be found on the menu, as well as Steak-n-Shake specialties like French fries with cheddar cheese sauce. For those 24-hour ice cream cravings, this is the place to go for great hand-dipped milkshakes, malts and their “sippable” sundaes. Side Note: The Turtle Caramel Nut sippable sundae is delicious!
Location: 5990 Beckley Rd.
Miller’s Time Out: This eatery is great for families, sports fans, as well as meandering teens. Televisions dot this restaurant, which offer various sporting events throughout the year. You won’t have any problems asking the staff to turn to your favorite game. A couple of pool tables, as well as a dartboard occupy the time of those who wish to stretch their legs. The bar offers drink and appetizer specials, while the main menu is decently priced. Some items to sample: chicken fries, onion rings, fried pickles, as well as numerous chicken, burger and fish entrees.
Location: 13260 Helmer Road S
Weezer’s Grill: The outside will definitely fool you. When walking into this restaurant, you will notice that it caters to both patrons looking for a nice Happy Hour and diners looking for a quiet space. A sports bar atmosphere is situated in one area of the eatery. Stepping across the threshold of a sectioned off part of the restaurant, you will find a non-smoking Italian street scene. The walls display an originally painted mural of the Italian outdoors, decorated with a real clothesline of apparel hanging overhead. They take this theme rather seriously. The menu offers a wide-range of options, including turkey clubs, croissant sandwiches, burgers, prime rib dinners and pasta meals. Throughout the week, you can enjoy wings for 25 cents. On Sundays, they are 15 cents. Side Note: From 3-7pm, well drinks are $1, which are served in decently sized glasses. The Rum & Cokes are near addicting.
Location: 55 S 20th St
Cici’s Pizza: When this joint first opened, they offered a pizza buffet for $3.99 (drink not included). It is now offered for $4.39 (drink not included). The pizza selection is dizzying and served fresh. The inner workings of the creation process are in clear view behind the serving area. Some of the pizza options to choose from include: Taco (lettuce, tomato, beef and cheese); Chicken Alfredo; Cheese; Spinach and Garlic; Pepperoni; Veggie; Macaroni & Cheese Pizza; Hawaiian (bacon and pineapple); Apple Cinnamon Dessert Pizza. With the price of the buffet, you will also be able to fill up on unlimited pizza, cheese bread, rolls, pasta, drinks and salad bar. Additional details pertaining to CiCi’s: a couple of televisions playing CNN, as well as a decent arcade located in a sectioned-off area for the kids.
Location: 5420 Beckley Rd.
Ryan’s: This all-you-can-eat buffet is known for its lunch and dinner options, but has recently included breakfast buffet selections on Saturday and Sunday. Various nights offer all-you-can-eat seafood, catfish or steak specials, as well as unique Mother’s Day, Easter and other holiday meals. The chicken and seafood (especially the popcorn shrimp) are really good, accompanied by sides like tasty mac-n-cheese, crispy potatoes, salad bar, etc. Dessert includes a variety of cakes, pies and cookies, as well as soft serve ice cream with an array of toppings, such as gummy bears, chocolate chips, marshmallows and nuts. Great place to chow down!
Location: 799 Capital Ave SW
Clara’s on the River: Whereas Ryan’s offers a great place for families to dine, Clara’s setting offers a Sunday Brunch Buffet fit for those looking for a romantic rendezvous. Situated close to a park and waterfront properties, this former train depot is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. During the rest of the week, the extensive menu offers Tex-Mex, ribs, chicken, seafood, filet mignon, Cajun sirloin, as well as Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Chops. The selection, as well as prices is rather substantial.
Location: 44 Mccamly St N