My favorite Mount Pleasant eats
I mentioned earlier this week that I’d be saving all my foodstagrams for a single post, and here it is. I love food. This really isn’t a secret. Aside from meat and super spicy things, I’ll eat practically anything, and I will almost always pick a unique local joint over a typical chain restaurant.
One of the worst things about saying goodbye to Mount Pleasant is saying goodbye to its food. After eight years in this city, I’ve come to love several restaurants and eateries in this little town, all for many different reasons. As soon as I found out I’d be leaving, I embarked on my #mpfarewellfoodtour to eat and drink at each of my favorite establishments one last time. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed my excessive amount of #foodporn ‘grams. If you’re a Mount Pleasant resident or ever stop by town, these are 12 of the many places I could recommend, in no particular order.
Max and Emily’s Eatery. This is my favorite sandwich shop in the whole wide world. You can customize your own sandwich or choose from the more than 60 available selections. My favorites are the grilled cheese (cheddar, swiss, cream cheese and tomato grilled on sourdough), the B.O.B (Breakfast on a Bagel) and the Goodie Two Shoes, a combo of lettuce, tomato, black olives, cheddar, avocado and salsa grilled in a basil tomato tortilla. Plus, Max and Emily’s hosts a summer concert series each year, where the downtown area is closed off for local artists to perform entirely for free. Max and Emily’s is a great place to meet a friend for lunch, or bring your parents if they’re in town for the weekend.
O’Kelly’s Sports Bar and Grille. The food isn’t Michelin-star cuisine by any means, but this is one of those places you go just for the atmosphere. O’Kelly’s is best for watching “the game.” Literally. Any game. There are like a million televisions here, so “the game” will definitely be on one if not 30 of them. About a year and a half ago, O’Kel’s implemented its Central Michigan University Chippewa Legends burger menu with almost 50 options. My favorite? A (veggie) Adidas: a patty topped with mozzarella sticks and ranch dressing. Best accompanied by a dollar draft or nine.
Doozie’s Ice Cream Place. Come summer, this little roadside ice cream stand has a line that reaches out to the road. It’s cash only and is super cheap, making it a crowd favorite. Despite the line, the always-friendly Mr. Doozie will make time to strike up a conversation with every single guest that approaches the service window. I have a huge sweet tooth, so I don’t think I’ve ever had something from here I didn’t like. My favorites are soft serve dipped in sprinkles, Thin Mint arctic swirls and salted caramel skinny dip.
Shin’s Korean Restaurant. I’ve never been to South Korea, but I’ve been told by those who have that the food here is very authentic. Shin’s is a little hole-in-the-wall-ish, hidden behind a gas station in a small strip mall off of campus. But, what it lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for with great food. My favorite is Doul-Sout-Bi-Bim-Bob, a hot stone bowl filled with egg yolk-topped rice, marinated bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, lettuce, mushrooms and radish.
The Bird Bar and Grill. This is my favorite bar on the entire planet, mostly for the atmosphere. It’s super chill and laid back, with carved-up tables and Halloween decorations that remain up year round. Drinks are served in mason jars and the clientele is the best mix of college students, professors and townies. The food is also pretty good. I love the moon bread – stuffed cheese bread – and the (veggie) Bird burger – a patty topped with typical fixings and slaw. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the Bird since the day of my 21st birthday and I am going to miss it terribly.
The Cabin. I have had such a love/ hate relationship with this place. I worked here for three years during undergrad, so I’ve tried basically everything on the menu. You can’t beat the large two-topping for $5.99 dine-in only special days (my favorite is spinach and feta), but I also love the cheese bread. The Cabin Stix are a local favorite as well. I love the large $5 mug drinks. The Thunderbird is my favorite, but the Island Park long islands are also great (and strong). The ‘Bin is pretty well known for its karaoke nights and free 21st birthday drinks.
Stanley’s Famous Restaurant. Mount Pleasant is a brunch-less tundra. There isn’t a single place in town to get a decent post-night out breakfast with a large bloody on the side. Stan’s is the closest you’ll get. It’s the very definition of a hole-in-the-wall and is cash only, but the food is cheap, plentiful and homestyle (ie: greasy and good). Service is very slow and you’ll always get a line out the door on weekend mornings, but you can’t beat it. Servers are friendly and it’s always fun to arrive at 10 a.m. and watch the crowd slowly transition from post-church crowds to hungover college masses. My favorite is a combination of french toast (all the bread is thick-cut and homemade) with scrambled eggs and hash browns. And, fun fact, if you buy and wear a Stan’s shirt, you get 10 percent off your order.
Dog Central. This is the best downtown drunk food establishment. It’s also the only downtown drunk food establishment, but don’t let that discredit it at all. Come 3 a.m., there’s always a line out the door for this hip upscale hot dog eatery. The atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in a big city, and the menu gets pretty creative. You can get anything from a typical Chicago dog to a “Goober” dog, topped with crushed Fritos and peanut butter. My favorite is the (veggie) Sonoran, topped with shredded cheese, salsa, guac, mayo, ketchup and mustard – hold the bacon. The seasoned steak fries are also excellent.
Creme de la Creme. This is a cute little upscale cupcake shop downtown. The store runs promos and sales on Facebook all the time, and the flavors of the cupcakes change constantly. My favorites are Oreo creme and birthday cake. The shop also does custom cake designs, and while I’ve never had any need to order a custom cake, I love looking at them while I stop in to get my sugar fix.
Mountain Town Station and Brewery. This is, in my opinion, the best “first date” restaurant in town. I love the Mountain Town Salad (side note: the picture isn’t as pretty because I had this to go at 10 p.m. while packing) and the spinach artichoke dip. I’ve ben told the burgers, sushi and steaks are all good options. This restaurant is affiliated with Mountain Town Brewing Company, located across the street from my workplace. Two different buildings owned by the same mayor of Mount Pleasant. My favorite brew is the Train Wreck Ale, and I loved trivia nights at the tap room.
Kaya Coffee House. A little on the hipster side, Kaya is a cozy just-off campus coffee shop great for either studying or meeting up to play board games with friends. Kaya hosts open mic night performances and has a pretty good food menu as well. My favorite drink is the Einstein’s Breath, a unique mint tea latte with cheesecake syrup.
Killer Hibachi. This one’s pretty new, but has quickly become a favorite. It’s a Japanese fusion restaurant. Is it authentic? Probably not one bit. But it’s completely delicious. My favorite is the shrimp hibachi, which comes with steamed or fried rice and seasoned vegetables. Killer Hibachi started as a food truck but quickly expanded and opened up its own restaurant. The atmosphere isn’t totally awesome because the restaurant just opened, but the food makes up for it.
These are just 12 of my many favorites. There are so many more mid-Michigan places I love, including Cops & Doughnuts, Robaire’s Bakery, Pisanello’s Pizza, Hunan House and The Brass, but there was no possible way for me to list everything.
I’m going to miss so many of these establishments now that I can’t frequent them anymore. Is there a place on this list you’d love to try? Have you ever been to any of them? Do you have a favorite college restaurant that you’ll miss? Let me know in the comments!