2022 Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Top-Voted Food in SWMI

Tell someone you’re from Kalamazoo, and they may ask about Gibson guitars, Pfizer, Western Michigan or a Bob Seger song.

While we are known for all of those things and more, Kalamazoo is also known for being a foodie town.

And when we aren’t eating our delicious meals, we like talking about them: with Facebook groups like Kalamazoo Menu and The Kalamazoo Foodie, we regularly share photos and recommendations of our latest dining experiences.

To celebrate our extensive cuisine in Kalamazoo, we asked readers to vote for their favorites and boy, did you show up: with over 6,600 votes cast in 17 categories, it’s clear that we have some strong opinions on who makes the best food.

We’ve listed the top five restaurants in each category: check to see if your picks made the list and make plans to try some new places ASAP.

Southwest Michigan is brimming with culinary masterpieces; we are confident that ALL of the spots listed below are worth a visit (and a social media share).

Top-Voted Kalamazoo Restaurants

Bakery

Best Bakery

Boonzaaijer Bakery

Best of KZOO

From scratch baking is no small feat. In order to have their shelves stocked when they open their doors with bread, pastries and cakes, bakers often start their days while the rest of us are still sleeping.

And for Southwest Michigan customers, local bakers do not make our purchase decisions easy: with their cases piled high with mouth-watering treats, it’s hard not to bring home one (or two) of everything.

In our best restaurants of Kalamazoo voting, bakeries were one of our tightest races: proof that all of these are mega talented and delicious.

Top 5 Bakeries

#2 · The Victorian Bakery

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Bakery


512 North Park St Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Sarkozy Bakery

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Bakery


350 E Michigan Ave, Ste 100 Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#4 · Rykse & Co.

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Bakery


7141 West Q Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49009

#5 · Bert’s Bakery

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Bakery


4419 South Westnedge Kalamazoo, MI 49007


309 River St Kalamazoo, MI 49048

Breakfast

Best Breakfast

Crow’s Nest Restaurant

Best of KZOO

Breakfast is big in Kalamazoo. With cereal giant Kellogg in nearby Battle Creek, local residents recognize the value of the most important meal of the day.

When locals are ready to level up their corn flakes, SWMI restaurants serve up some pretty decadent choices: crepes, waffle flights, stuffed French toast and omelets are just a few of their offerings. Read on for the best breakfast restaurants in Kalamazoo:

Top 5 Breakfast Restaurants

#2 · Breakfast at Tiffiny’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Breakfast


3271 W Centre St Portage, MI 49024


5222 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009

#3 · Roxie’s Breakfast and Lunch

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Breakfast


4010 Gull Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49048


343 W Prairie St Vicksburg, MI 49047

#4 · Antique Kitchen Restaurant

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Breakfast


6215 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

#5 · Studio Grill

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Breakfast


312 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Boba Tea

Best of KZOO

While relatively new in the United States, bubble tea or “Boba” tea dates back to the 1980s in Taiwan. In its most common form, this cold tea is served with ice and chewy tapioca balls but can include other flavors or toppings.

Boba’s popularity has been steadily growing in SWMI. See the top five favorite spots for this fun beverage:

Top 5 Boba Tea Spots

#1 · Chocolatea

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Boba Tea


7642 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002


Featuring 15+ flavors of Boba tea, Chocolatea pairs them with black tapioca pearls, poppers, rainbow jellies, or crystals.

Beyond Boba, their shop sells over 200 loose leaf tea blends, macarons, cocoa bombs, coffee, sandwiches and a massive display case full of delectable desserts and chocolates.

Grab your drink to go or enjoy your beverage and treats inside. During warm weather, take a seat outside on their cozy deck, overlooking Portage Creek.


Where to Find Chocolatea

Chocolatea is located in Portage on South Westnedge, north of Centre. Look for the giant green teacup next door to Jac’s.


WEBSITE

#2 · Cravings Deli (Pacific Rims Foods)

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Boba Tea


229 West Kilgore Rd Portage, MI 49002

#3 · MI Boba

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Boba Tea


1750 S Drake Rd Suite B Kalamazoo, MI 49006

#4 · Rollup Ice Cream & Tea

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Boba Tea


8340 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002


5907 Gull Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49048

#5 · Kung Fu Tea Kalamazoo

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Boba Tea


5043 West Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Brewery

Best Brewery

One Well Brewing

Best of KZOO

Stated simply, a brewery makes beer. And while Southwest Michigan’s breweries make some fantastic, hoppy beverages, they offer much more.

These top five Kalamazoo area breweries provide full dining experiences with yummy food, mug clubs, game nights, family friendly spaces and fun, outdoor spaces for patio season.

Top 5 Breweries

#2 · Bell’s Eccentric Cafe

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Brewery


355 E Kalamazoo Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Latitude 42 Brewing Company

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Brewery


6101 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


7842 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

#4 · Gull Lake Distilling Company

✩ Best Restaurants in Galesburg: Brewery


92 East Michigan Ave Galesburg, MI 49053

#5 · Presidential Brewing Company

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Brewery


8302 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

Burger

Best of KZOO

Known for its popularity among fast food restaurants, the burger takes a major upgrade in Kalamazoo restaurants with high quality beef cooked to perfection and often locally sourced buns and vegetables.

Order your next burger from one of the five locations below:

Top 5 Burger Spots

#1 · Nonla Burger

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Burger


2103 S Burdick St Kalamazoo, MI 49001


1700 South Drake Rd Ste A Kalamazoo, MI 49006


The NB Double is the most popular burger here- featuring double meat and double cheese. Nonla Burger fans know to order it “The Nonla Way” which includes grilled onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and cucumbers.

Not a beef eater? Beyond veggie burgers are also available and can be made vegan as well.

Add a side of Nonla spread for dipping your hand cut fries and try the shake of the day (flavors rotate daily).


Where to Find Nonla Burger

Nonla Burger has 2 restaurants in Kalamazoo and a Mattawan location:

• Burdick: 2103 S Burdick Street (just south of Alcott)

• Drake: 1700 South Drake Road (near Costco)

• Mattawan: 24050 Front Avenue (across the street from Mattawan Park)


WEBSITE

#2 · Studio Grill

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Burger


312 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Latitude 42 Brewing Company

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Burger


6101 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


7842 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

#4 · Niskers Char-Grill & Slap Shot Hockey Bar

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Burger


5051 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009

#5 · Lake Burger

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Burger


4404 West Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49006

#5 · Main Street Pub

✩ Best Restaurants in : Burger


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI

Cheesecake

Best Cheesecake

Four Roses Cafe

Best of KZOO

As decadent desserts go, cheesecake is one of the best. The creamy, cream cheese-based treat can be served plain with a graham cracker curst, or made even more indulgent with fruit, ganache or peanut butter.

Whether you’re a traditional New York style fan or looking for something more extravagant, Kalamazoo bakers have you covered.

Try these five spots for the best in town:

Top 5 Cheesecake Spots

#2 · Specialty Cheesecake and Dessert Company

✩ Best Restaurants in : Cheesecake

#3 · Huey D’s Goodies

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Cheesecake


315 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#4 · The Victorian Bakery

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Cheesecake


512 North Park St Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#5 · Bert’s Bakery

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Cheesecake


4419 South Westnedge Kalamazoo, MI 49007


309 River St Kalamazoo, MI 49048

Chicken Sandwich

Best Chicken Sandwich

Nonla Burger

Best of KZOO

While a fried chicken sandwich sounds like a pretty easy entree, don’t underestimate the skill to craft one.

These restaurants in Kalamazoo have nailed the perfect blend of a crispy exterior paired with a tender and juicy center:

Top 5 Chicken Sandwiches

#2 · Rollup Ice Cream & Tea

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Chicken Sandwich


8340 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002


5907 Gull Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49048

#3 · Turbo Chicken

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Chicken Sandwich


5234 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

#4 · Chicken House

✩ Best Restaurants in Richland: Chicken Sandwich


12443 E. D Ave Richland, MI 49083

#5 · Old Burdick’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Chicken Sandwich


100 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Coffee Shop

Best Coffee Shop

Great Grounds Coffee Cafe

Best of KZOO

Coffee shops provide more than just a caffeinated start to your day: some diners cherish an extended stay with a good book and a cup of joe.

For others, coffee shops may simply be a convenient stop for a favorite beverage on the way to work.

Whether you sit down or drive through, these coffee shops were voted the best in Southwest Michigan:

Top 5 Coffee Spots

#2 · Water Street Coffee

✩ Best Restaurants in : Coffee Shop


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI

#3 · Matchhead Coffee

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Coffee Shop


209 S Kalamazoo Mall Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#4 · Biggby Coffee

✩ Best Restaurants in : Coffee Shop


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI

#5 · Chocolatea

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Coffee Shop


7642 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

Date Night Restaurant

Best Date Night Restaurant

Four Roses Cafe

Best of KZOO

Although date nights are not a common occurrence for local parents, they are a cherished one. When moms and dads have the opportunity to go out for dinner, they often request somewhere special with unique food and outstanding service.

All of the top voted date night restaurants fit the bill; make reservations at one of these spots for your next date night in Kalamazoo.

Top 5 Date Night Restaurants

#1 · Four Roses Cafe

✩ Best Restaurants in Plainwell: Date Night Restaurant


663 10th St Plainwell, MI 49080


Owned and operated by Tom and Jan Rose, Four Roses is a casual, fine dining cafe with a focus on fresh, flavorful dishes and outstanding service.

Entrees are made fresh daily and locally sourced. Some favorites include the whitefish Grenoble, maple mustard baby back ribs and Bell’s braised beef (braised in Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout).

Four Roses offers 12 rotating taps that are all Michigan craft beers, in addition to seasonal, local beers and ciders in bottles. They also serve a number of Michigan wines.

Make a Date Night or Date Lunch here: they are open from 11AM – 3PM and 5 – 9PM on weekdays (Tuesday – Friday). Saturday evenings, they serve dinner from 4 – 9PM.


Where to Find Four Roses Cafe

Find Four Roses at 663 N 10th St in Plainwell, just north of the Plainwell Municipal Airport.


WEBSITE

#2 · Bird Dog

✩ Best Restaurants in Mattawan: Date Night Restaurant


57649 Murray St Mattawan, MI 49071

#3 · Cove Lakeside Bistro

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Date Night Restaurant


9110 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

#4 · Brick and Brine

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Date Night Restaurant


100 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#5 · The Grazing Table

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Date Night Restaurant


402 S Burdick St Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop

Best Ice Cream Shop

Plainwell Ice Cream Co.

Best of KZOO

While very popular in the warmer months, ice cream can be enjoyed year-round in Kalamazoo. Whether scooped or soft serve, yogurt, custard or ice cream, there are plenty of frosty options in Southwest Michigan.

Our readers picked these five shops as their favorite spots to enjoy frozen treats:

Top 5 Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream Shops

#2 · Schultz’s Treat Street

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop


3023 Oakland Dr Kalamazoo, MI 49008

#3 · Rollup Ice Cream & Tea

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop


8340 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002


5907 Gull Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49048

#4 · Bella Creamery

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop


10098 Shaver Rd Portage, MI 49024

#5 · Ritter’s Frozen Custard

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop


217 Romence Rd Portage, MI 49024

Best Kids Menu

Main Street Pub

Best of KZOO

Let’s face it: many restaurants do not offer great options for feeding kids. When you find one that has multiple choices that your child actually enjoys, it feels a bit like winning the restaurant lottery.

Next time you head out to eat with the family, consider these suggestions from our readers (and maybe stop for some scratch off tickets on the way home).

Top 5 Kids Menus

#2 · Latitude 42 Brewing Company

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Kids Menu


6101 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


7842 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

#3 · One Well Brewing

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Kids Menu


4213 Portage St Kalamazoo, MI 49001

#4 · Monelli’s Italian Grill and Sports Bar

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Kids Menu


7141 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

#5 · Jac’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Kids Menu


3112 S 9th St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


7638 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

Nachos

Best Nachos

Shakespeares’s Pub

Best of KZOO

Once considered a snack or side dish, nachos have found their time to shine in recent years, elevating its status to main course.

These restaurants in Kalamazoo are the best of the best when it comes to full plates of entree-sized nachos:

New Restaurant

Best New Restaurant

Skinny Kenny’s BBQ

Best of KZOO

Opening a new restaurant is BIG leap of faith. And yet, local owners have stepped up to the plate (in a pandemic nonetheless), to open their doors in Kalamazoo.

Our readers cast their votes for their favorite new spots in town; to qualify as “new” for our ballot, a restaurant either opened in 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.

Here are the top five new restaurants to share their amazing food and atmosphere with SWMI diners:

Pizza

Best of KZOO

If you ask ten people for the best pizza toppings, you’ll likely receive ten different answers. Add in crusts (thin, hand-tossed, deep dish, gluten free, New York Style, and Detroit style, to name a few), and your pizza options grow exponentially.

While it’s unlikely you will find anyone to agree upon the best toppings and crust combination, you will find many who love the same pizza restaurants. These spots were voted the best restaurants in Kalamazoo for pizza:

Top 5 Pizza Places

#1 · Erbelli’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Pizza


8342 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49024


6214 Stadium Dr Kalamazoo, MI 49009


Opened in 1995 in Portage, Erbelli’s success led them to add a second location on Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo. Both restaurants serve as pizzerias, Italian bistros, and full-service pubs all rolled into one unique dining experience.

Over 25 gourmet pizzas are offered at Erbelli’s in multiple crusts: original hand tossed, pan style, Chicago style and gluten free. Diners also have the option to build their own pizza masterpieces.

Pizza dough is made fresh every morning at 8AM, using yeast from an Italian bakery and is stretched by hand.

In addition to their award-winning pizza, Erbelli’s makes calzones, sandwiches, pasta, salads, and desserts baked in house.


Where to Find Erbelli’s

The Portage Erbelli’s location is located at 8342 Portage Road, just north of Zylman. They are next door to Rollup Ice Cream & Tea and just south of Presidential Brewing Company.

The Kalamazoo restaurant is east of 9th Street at 6214 Stadium Drive. Find them near the Speedway station.


WEBSITE

#2 · Bimbo’s Pizza

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Pizza


338 E Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Bilbo’s Pizza

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Pizza


3307 Stadium Dr Kalamazoo, MI 49008

#4 · Martini’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Pizza


832 S Westnedge Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49008

#5 · Jac’s

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Pizza


3112 S 9th St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


7638 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

#5 · Shakespeare’s Pub

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Pizza


241 E Kalamazoo Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Sandwich Shop

Best Sandwich Shop

Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders

Best of KZOO

There’s a difference between restaurants that simply serve sandwiches and true sandwich shops. All of these spots bake their own bread and offer high quality meats and fresh toppings, often with sauces made from scratch.

The next time you need a Reuben, BLT or traditional ham and cheese, try these top five spots for a sandwich crafted by the experts:

Top 5 Sandwich Shops

#1 · Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Sandwich Shop


10100 Shaver Rd Portage, MI 49024


Locally owned and operated for over thirty years, Mancino’s grinders’ offerings are extensive. With over 30 choices, these sandwiches are served hot on freshly baked white or wheat bread.

You can top off your meal with an ice cream treat from Bella Creamery: milkshakes, malts and sundaes are all available for dine in or carryout.

In addition to their grinders, Mancino’s sells pizza, salads, nachos, pasta and offers a kids menu. Pizza is also available on gluten free crust.


Where to Find Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders

Mancino’s is on Shaver, just south of Beethoven Avenue. Find them next door to their sister shop, Bella Creamery.


WEBSITE

#2 · Artisan Sandwich Co

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Sandwich Shop


348 S Kalamazoo Mall Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Wally’s Subs

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Sandwich Shop


6477 Stadium Dr Kalamazoo, MI 49009

#4 · Jersey Giant Subs

✩ Best Restaurants in : Sandwich Shop


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI

#5 · Kazoopy’s Pizza and Grinders

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Sandwich Shop


8126 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49009


1908 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49006

Sushi

Best of KZOO

With its origins in Japan, sushi has become an increasingly popular dish in the United States. While the ingredients vary, traditional sushi includes vinegared rice and raw fish wrapped in seaweed.

For local sushi fans, these restaurants offer the best in Kalamazoo:

Top 5 Sushi Restaurants

#1 · Maru

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Sushi


427 E Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007


Japanese fusion restaurant Maru offers a big selection of signature rolls in addition to hibachi, nigiri and sashimi.

Some local favorites are the Madagascar and Crouching Tiger Rolls; pair them with the edamame or firecracker shrimp appetizers.

Maru is only open for dinner from 4 – 9PM and hosts Happy Hour from 4 – 5PM. You can book reservations online at this popular spot to reserve a table.


Where to Find Maru

Maru is located at 427 E Michigan Ave, near HopCat and Water Street Coffee.


WEBSITE

#2 · Kumo Hibachi & Sushi

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Sushi


6396 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

#3 · Sakura 2

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Sushi


6749 S Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002

#4 · Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Sushi


4604 W Main St Kalamazoo, MI 49006

#5 · Ziki Japanese Sushi & Steakhouse

✩ Best Restaurants in Portage: Sushi


279 W Centre Ave Portage, MI 49024

Taco

Best of KZOO

It doesn’t have to be Tuesday to enjoy a taco in Kalamazoo. Whether crunchy or soft, chicken, beef or vegetarian, authentic or American style, there are tacos for all tastebuds in Southwest Michigan.

Readers voted these spots as the best restaurants in Kalamazoo to grab a taco:

Top 5 Taco Restaurants

#1 · Taco Bob’s

✩ Best Restaurants in : Taco


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI


Taco Bob’s has been in the Kalamazoo area for over 30 years, expanding from their original location downtown to 5 additional spots in SWMI.

They promise to offer great, healthy, fast food. Meals include vegetarian and vegan friendly pinto beans and Spanish rice.

The Taco Bob Foundation was started in 2021 to honor the legacy of their founder and help those that face a difficult path. They are a proud partner of the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation.


Where to Find Taco Bob’s

Taco Bob’s is easy to find, with 6 convenient locations in SWMI:

• Downtown: 248 S Kalamazoo Mall (near Principle)

• Mattawan: 23890 City Center Circle (near Happy Days Cafe)

• Portage Street: 4121 Portage St (near One Well)

• Portage: 126 Centre Ave (near PCHS)

• Crosstown Westnedge: 1502 S Westnedge (near Happy’s Pizza)

• Vicksburg: 108 W Washington (corner of Washington & Main Street)


WEBSITE

#2 · La Familia Cafe

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Taco


224 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

#3 · Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant

✩ Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo: Taco


3420 Gull Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49048

#4 · Los Amigos

✩ Best Restaurants in : Taco


Multiple SWMI Locations , MI

#5 · Pure Mex Tacos & Tequila

✩ Best Restaurants in Richland: Taco


8880 N 32nd St Richland, MI 49083



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