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Grayling, Marquette, West Branch, MI road trip

Thanks, all, for your responses. I'm making notes of all these! :-) It sounds like we are all set for Marquette. We leave next week and I am looking forward to it.

Anyone have any other suggestions for Grayling, or some ideas for West Branch?

Thanks!

Aug 08, 2014
jroach in Great Lakes

Grayling, Marquette, West Branch, MI road trip

We are planning a family road trip, heading to the UP from our home near Akron, OH in less than 2 weeks. We will be traveling with our 6 yr old son and almost-2yr old daughter, but both are on the 'adventurous' side when it comes to food. I'd say the only stipulations would be no Asian (the kids are hit or miss on this one), and that we would like a casual atmosphere that is family friendly (but no specific kids-only menu is necessary). Also, non-chain or locally owned/operated chain only, please.

Looking for lunch and dinner options in Grayling and West Branch. Breakfast is already covered because we will be staying at B&B's. It will be 2 nights in Grayling and 1 night in West Branch.

As for Marquette, my husband and I have been there once (before kids, during winter), but would appreciate any suggestions, again especially for lunch and dinner. During our last visit, I remember really liking a pizza place called Aubree's. Gourmet pizza before the idea became as mainstream as it is now, and the ingredients were great. Is Aubree's still around and still good?

There was also another restaurant we liked, but I cannot remember the name. I believe it was located on the way out of town heading south(?), and was along the water (?). Menu was burgers, local fish, misc entrees -- what I would call a family friendly sort of place. We will have 3 nights in Marquette. Any suggestions would be most welcome, either dine-in or take-out, as we will be staying at a cottage.

Also, if there is anywhere of note that is worth a stop-off for a snack during our drive (if timing works out), that would be great to hear about... a bakery, coffee shop, ice cream place, etc.

Thank you! :-)

P.S. I also wanted to add that if you know of any neat farmer's markets in the Marquette area that happen to be on a Sat, Sun, or Mon, I would love to hear about them as well. Our cottage has a full kitchen, so we can do some cooking during our stay.

Aug 01, 2014
jroach in Great Lakes

Hershey, PA family-friendly eats

Checking in now that we are back from our trip. We had one night in the Hershey area, so one dinner (on a Sunday, which limited our options) and one lunch were covered. For dinner, we ordered Sorrento's pizza as take-out to eat in the hotel. It was ok, nothing special, IMO. The sauce was very tomato-ey and dare I say, kind of bland for my taste. We got onions and mushrooms as our toppings. Too bad they used canned mushrooms instead of fresh, but c'est la vie. Coming in late on a Sunday evening, we didn't have a lot of options.

The next morning (quickie breakfast at the hotel), we visited Hershey Gardens and ate lunch at their little outdoor Garden Gate Cafe, just outside the entrance. It was surprisingly awesome! Apparently, every year, the Gardens contracts with a different local vendor to run their cafe. This year, it was handled by DJ's Smoke Shack. Wonderful smoked bbq pork sandwich! Mac n cheese that is the real deal -- baked and flavorful, no kraft crapola. Homemade creamy coleslaw. My son got a hotdog that was actually grilled (and pretty good, as far as hotdogs go). DJ has a grill set up outside the little building. I loved my rotisserie chicken wrap w/ a lovely homemade slightly spicy chili sauce as dressing. What a nice find!

Jul 01, 2014
jroach in Pennsylvania

Warminster, PA local & family-friendly for dinner?

Thanks for the replies! Checking in after our trip. We had 3 dinners in the Warminster area and enjoyed all of them.

The first evening, we went to Iron Abbey. Food was quite good and the casual atmosphere worked well for us. It was a tad loud, as we were sitting right near the speakers, but I can deal with that for one meal. My 20 month old daughter and I split the shepherd's pie which we both really enjoyed. My 5 yr old son settled on chicken tenders w/ fries off the kids' menu which he was happy with. At least the chicken was good quality, real chicken (I tried some). My husband got the chorizo crab mac n cheese which was very tasty. Portions were quite large, even on the kids' menu.

Dinner 2 was at our old standby favorite, Taormina's in Ivyland. LOVE that place. I had veggie calzone, my kids split the baked penne off the kids' menu (HUGE portion), and hubby had spaghetti puttanesca. We all really enjoyed our meals there, and the cannoli we ordered 'to go'.

For dinner 3, we needed something quick, as it was easily approaching the kiddos bedtime. We settled on getting take-out from Bryn & Dane's. Oh, I wish we had one of those here near Akron, Ohio! Between the 4 of us, we sampled the honey-mustard chicken wrap, black bean-cheese quesadilla w/ mango salsa (that salsa was addictive!), white cheddar locally sourced popcorn, 3 different kinds of smoothies, sweet potato fries (with regular organic ketchup and mesquite ketchup), and the rickshaw sesame chicken wrap.

I'm very grateful to the Chowhound community for always steering me in the right direction when I'm visiting cities with which I'm not very familiar. :-)

Pittsburgh weekday family-friendly dinner?

Checking in after our trip. We were considering Monterey until it ended up being way later than we thought as we pulled into Pittsburgh. By the time we got settled at the hotel, we just decided to ask at the front desk for suggestions on restaurants within walking distance. One of their suggestions was James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy. It turned out to be a good find! Fun, casual atmosphere really fit the bill for us, having 2 kids in tow.

The 'theme' of the place was jazz. I thought it was a nice touch that all of the menu covers were old LP album covers from vintage jazz albums... even the cocktail menu was dressed in a 45 jacket. The restaurant had a bar vibe, but at the same time we (and 2 other families of small children we noticed in the dining room) felt comfortable. Staff was super nice to the kiddos, too. My 5yr old son ordered the fish sticks off the kids' menu. I was impressed first of all that they even HAD fish sticks on there. Secondly, that it was REAL breaded & fried fish, not fish bits or whatever. It came with french fries, and all the fried stuff was crispy, not greasy at all. My 20 month old LOVED the homemade chili and cornbread (not on the kids menu -- we just got a regular order for her). I sampled several bites of her chili and it sure tasted like it had slow cooked properly, and was chock full of meat and beans. The cornbread -- just the perfect amount of lightly sweet -- tasted homemade, though it was a little soft, rather than crispy, like it was made ahead and microwaved to warm up. My husband had the shrimp and grits and said it was really good. I didn't have a chance to try it. I was in the mood for lighter fare and ordered the grilled caesar salad. The 2 halves of romaine were seared lightly on the grill, just enough to add a distinctive flavor. I liked the dressing and the smear of anchovy paste was just enough. Shaved parm and crispy noodles (?) topped it off. I had the option of adding chicken or shrimp (I think?) but didn't go with either one.

All in all, we were happy with our dinners and would return if ever in the area. Maybe next time, there will be live music when we are there (as they appear to do throughout the week). At least the piped in music was jazz, a welcome change of pace from most restaurants.

http://jamesstreetgastropub.com/

Jul 01, 2014
jroach in Pennsylvania

Warminster, PA local & family-friendly for dinner?

My family and I will be in Warminster next week, hitting up nearby Sesame Place, and staying at the Holiday Inn Warminster-Doylestown. I was wondering what suggestions you might have for dinner options nearby. The kids are 5 and 1.5, respectively, and both will eat pretty much anything (though my 5yr old is hit or miss on pizza, believe it or not). Our dinners would all be casual, weeknight affairs, and could either be dine-in or take-out type, that would preferably be convenient to the hotel location. I would like to avoid the typical chains, in favor of any good local joints instead.

We were last in the area 2 years ago, and went to Taormina's and Rey Azteca, as I recall. Taormina's was very good and I *think* we liked Rey as well, though that meal doesn't particularly stand out for me. Google maps shows a 'new'(?) Mexican place that I was wondering about: Taco Suave. Any good? Anything else nearby that would be worth considering?

Thanks! Our trip is coming up next week already.

Jun 16, 2014
jroach in Philadelphia

Pittsburgh weekday family-friendly dinner?

Thanks! Will consider Max's. Any other places around that general area that could work, just in case we aren't in the mood for German that evening? Maybe something along the lines of sandwiches/burgers/pub type menu? Or ?? Our trip is coming up next week already.

Jun 16, 2014
jroach in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh weekday family-friendly dinner?

In June, we are planning a family vacation that takes us through Pittsburgh. Our 20-month old and 5 yr old will be traveling with us, so we need a place for a Thursday dinner with a casual atmosphere and reasonably varied menu -- though not necessarily a kids' specific menu. Prefer local over chain and if possible would like someplace not far from our hotel which is located in the Deuschtown district (East Allegheny). Would also be ok with a take-out style place where we can pick something (or have it delivered?) to eat in our hotel room. Thanks!

May 29, 2014
jroach in Pennsylvania

Hershey, PA family-friendly eats

In June, we are planning a family vacation that takes us through Hershey. Our 20-month old and 5 yr old will be traveling with us, so we need places with a casual atmosphere and reasonably varied menu -- though not necessarily a kids' specific menu. Prefer local over chain restaurants.

Need a Sunday evening dinner spot as well as Monday lunch... or perhaps a Monday lunch spot somewhere just east of Hershey via 322 and the PA Turnpike. Heck, we would also be open to a great take-out lunch place where we can pick something up for a roadside picnic.

We took a similar trip in 2012, but my internet research shows me that a few restaurants have since closed or changed names. For example, we LOVED Breads & Cheese, but apparently that is now Bricker's Pizza. Is it any good? Are there any places in town that would be similar to Breads & Cheese in menu and quality?

Where can I get an amazing cup of (strong) coffee in Hershey?

What (if anything) replaced Campbelltown Cafe on Governor?

Is Chocolate Ave Grill still good? We liked it 2 years ago, but a lot can happen in 2 years...

What's the word on Soprano's these days? It is located close to our hotel.

Thanks!

May 29, 2014
jroach in Pennsylvania

Family friendly, good eats in Grayling, MI, West Branch, MI, & Marquette, MI

We are putting together our family road trip vacation for August 2014 and I am looking for dining suggestions for Grayling and West Branch, as well as our main destination, Marquette, MI. We are driving from Ohio. Breakfasts are already covered, as we plan to stay at B&B type lodging, but I'd appreciate some direction for lunch and dinner options.

Need something family-friendly (we will have our 6 yr old and nearly-2 yr old in tow) and casual, but with good quality food, and preferably local sourcing. Possible picnic lunching along the way, too, so the names of carry-out style restaurants or quality grocers may come in handy as well. Any great pizza joints? Worthwhile ice cream stops? Anything else? Is there anything in particular the area is known for?

Thanks in advance!

May 05, 2014
jroach in Great Lakes

Best breakfast between Elyria and CLE airport?

I can't remember if it is weekends only, but I like Vintage House Cafe in Avon for breakfast (lunch, too). I've only been twice, but I remember the made to order omelettes being good.

May 16, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Midwest Foodie Road Trip

For breakfast I like the food at Sweet Pea Cafe in Fairlawn, but service can be slow. They are bfast/lunch only. I like their quiches and pancakes. Or did you want something in Akron proper?

May 07, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Traverse City, MI & Glen Arbor, MI casual dining spots?

Thanks! I'm definitely adding these to the list. I will likely buy a case of dried cherries at Cherry Republic. Can't go wrong with Michigan cherries, right? Black Star Farm sounds good, too.

May 03, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Traverse City, MI & Glen Arbor, MI casual dining spots?

Thank you to all who responded. This gives me a good start and I'm already checking these places out online. I am really liking Blue Tractor. Sounds like what we'd be looking for.

Red Mesa... what do they do best? What on their menu would you recommend?

Moomers looks fun! I think we'd be able to do the dairy tour, given the timeframe we'll be there.

I can't seem to find any online reference for Burdick's via google. Is it a restaurant, bakery, grocery store, what?

Also, any good pizza places in the area? We like a flavorful sauce (not sweet), bread-like crust, quality toppings (not necessarily gourmet, just good stuff). Anything along those lines nearby or is it all chains?

Apr 04, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Traverse City, MI & Glen Arbor, MI casual dining spots?

We're planning a family vacation from Ohio to Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes (Glen Arbor), Michigan in August 2013. Looking for casual, non-chain, kid-friendly (we'll have our 5yr old and 10 month old with us) dinner and lunch spots. Our 5 yr old is rather adventurous for that age, so pretty much any menu works for us. What's good and local to the area?

I also wouldn't mind recs for a good coffeeshop/bakery (that might offer sandwiches we could get as take-out for a picnic along the way) and maybe an ice cream shop.

Lodging specifics still need to be worked out, but right now we are strongly considering a B&B about 5 miles west of 'downtown' TC.

Thanks for any info you can pass my way. :)

Mar 29, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Cleveland good eats

Jack Frost... I've been going there for the past 20 or more years now. You can't go wrong with any of them really. My faves are the regular fried-cakes, especially the cocoanut, but any of the chocolate or maple frosted ones are good, too, whether with sprinkles or cream (another type of frosting they add on some) or not. Creullers are excellent as well. For a super sinful treat, try any of the candy bar ones. I like the Reese's one but it is very rich. Other unique flavors available like salted caramel, too. For best selection, go early, If you can.

Mar 25, 2013
jroach in Great Lakes

Dinner in Canton, Ohio area

It has been awhile since I've been here, but my husband and I like 91 Wood Fired Oven. We've been to the N. Canton location.
http://www.91oven.com/home.php
We keep meaning to return, but it's not an area we frequent all that often.

Jun 21, 2012
jroach in Great Lakes

Downtown Cleveland suggestions please :-)

We have been there twice for lunch on a Saturday and I actually think their lunch fare (sandwiches, stromboli, etc) is better than the doughnuts. Definitely inexpensive. Their setup is such that you order at the counter, you get a number and they'll call you when your food is ready. They do have quite a few tables for dine-in.

For doughnuts, I much prefer Jack Frost, but that's another thread for another day (and quite a ways outside of town).

Jun 21, 2012
jroach in Great Lakes

pizza & pastry in Hershey

Hello! I'm back and here to give a report on where we ended up. We arrived in town and checked into our hotel right around dinnertime. Since our 3yr old had not napped, despite the 6 hours' drive, we opted for dinner at Soprano's which turned out to be less than 5 minutes from our hotel. Neither DS nor DH were in the mood for pizza, so instead DH got the lasagna, I had the eggplant parmagiana sandwich and DS ordered chicken fingers. DH's dinner came with Italiian wedding soup that I tasted and thought was pretty good. The garlic bread they served us before the meal was also quite tasty. I was not impressed by the eggplant parm sandwich though. Had they added some of whatever was on the garlic bread, it would have helped immensely. I did not try any of DH's lasagna, but he said it was good. I think the next time we might come here, I'd strongarm at least 1 other person at my table into ordering the pizza. Maybe the pizza is the best item on their menu?

Lunch the next day after a visit to Chocolate World was at Breads and Cheese of Hershey which we LOVED. DH and I both had the spinach-feta soup to start. He got the Monte Cristo sandwich (served w/ maple syrup to dip it into -- genius!); I had the veggie strata, a special that day. DS enjoyed his ham/cheese pocket sandwich w/ chips. We also shared some dessert pastries and those were fabulous. The weather was perfect, so we ate outside at one of the 2 or 3 tables in front of the building.

We liked Breads and Cheese so much, we tried to return on our way back, but alas! It was a Monday and they were closed. Our 2nd choice was Chocolate Avenue Grill which was also quite good, but in a different way. (I'd learned of them via a search here.) I had the fish 'n chips. The cod was wonderfully breaded/fried (not greasy at all); the fries were 'seasoned' with Old Bay which was certainly interesting, but they were on the salty side and I couldn't finish them. Thank goodness I'd ordered coleslaw as an extra side -- that helped cut some of the salty flavor from the fries, and the coleslaw itself was creamy goodness. DS got chicken tenders, but at least it was a little different than the norm on kids' menus -- with a coconut breading and a side of mandarin orange slices. DH had the catfish po'boy that came with what I'm pretty sure were homemade potato chips. They sure tasted like it. http://www.chocolateavenuegrill.com/

May 25, 2012
jroach in Pennsylvania

kid-friendly weekday lunch in Pittsburgh (& a dinner)

Thanks for all the info. I wish our time in Pittsburgh would have been a bit longer. I know we'll be back though and I'd love to try some of these other places. When we arrived into town, our 3yr old hadn't napped and it was already 6pm, so we opted for a quickie dinner at the Union Grill on S. Craig St. I had the Greek Salad which was surprisingly good. Along with the 'usual' kalamata olives, feta, cucumbers, etc. they also included figs. Nice! I've not seen that before, especially at a casual place like that. DH had the California Salad and he opted to add grilled salmon to it. He enjoyed that very much. I tasted a bit and it was good. Nice, fresh greens (as mine had) and a tasty honey-mustard dressing. Definitely homemade dressings there! Our son wanted the mac n cheese, but they were all out of it, so his 2nd choice was the kids meal fish sandwich -- minus the bun (we subbed a garlic breadstick). We also subbed out the potatoes/fries with the regular sauteed veggies. The fish portion was HUGE for a kids meal, but very good -- nicely breaded/fried and not greasy. Veggies were a mix of asparagus, red/yellow peppers (all good) and pea pods (kinda stringy and tough). Aside from the peas and the sysco-esque breadstick, the meal was good.

As for lunch the next day, we had stayed so long at the museum that we opted to just eat at the cafe there, the Big Red Room. It was decent and the prices weren't out of line. I had the burger, DH had the special of the day wrap (New Orleans chicken, I believe) and DS got chicken tenders w/ fruit cup. Yeah, decent, got the job done. We were on the road by about 3pm.

One little extra bonus stop in the area that we made was Hank's Frozen Custard and Mexican, a place I found mentioned here (or maybe it was on someone's blog I clicked on). Definitely a unique little gem of a place! It's in New Brighton and was on our way home. I was super curious about the walk-up window place that had both ice cream (well, custard) AND Mexican food in the same place. The 3 of us split a bean soft taco, just to try (we were mostly in the mood for frozen custard, but how often do you come across a place like this?). I liked it. Or maybe it just tasted good with my black raspberry shake. DH's cold treat was a basic hot fudge sundae and DS decided (finally!) on a rainbow sherbet cone. We enjoyed the food and the novelty of the combination. The next time we head out to Pittsburgh, I'd find a way to swing by again. http://hankscustard.tripod.com/

May 25, 2012
jroach in Pennsylvania

dinner halfway between Warminster and Collegeville, PA (just outside Philly)

I just wanted to thank everyone for the replies. We ended up just going to their house for a cook-out. You can't go wrong with a home-grilled meal when you're on a week-long trip. We enjoyed some delicious cheddar-bacon burgers and assorted accompaniments. :)

May 25, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia

Ambler - Kid friendly dinner?

Just to let folks doing searches know (that's how I found out), the Schanachie pub is closed, as of April 2012. Too bad. I was looking forward to trying it when we'll be in the area next weekend.

May 13, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia

dinner halfway between Warminster and Collegeville, PA (just outside Philly)

Thank you! This gives us a lot to work with.

May 13, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia

dinner halfway between Warminster and Collegeville, PA (just outside Philly)

Looking for dinner options that would be about halfway-ish between Warminster (our hotel area) and Collegeville, PA. We'll be visiting in the area next weekend and are looking for a good spot to meet some Collegeville friends for dinner on a Sat. or Sun. evening. We would prefer something non-chain with great food, casual atmosphere (ok for 3 kids aged 3-10yr). If they take reservations (for a Sat. especially) even better. I don't want to be waiting around for 30-45min for a table with the kids.

Our friends suggested a Chinese buffet that's their 'favorite', which would be ok, but I know there are some good and some not so good ones out there. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the place. Any such buffets in that area that are actually good? Or any other restaurant really. I think they just mentioned it to suggest *something*. :)

Oh, a 'mainstream' kind of menu would be best, but I think any of these would be fine: Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, regular American family restaurant w/ diverse menu as long as the food is good. And, if you have other ideas, please feel free to mention them. :)

Thanks!

May 10, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia

Akron restaurant recs

Among your closest choices would be Crave and Luigi's. My husband and I have been to both once (need to go back!) for dinner and liked it. Since we have a 3 yr old, we don't get out much. LOL. Anyway, the pizza at Luigi's is quite good, and, if you care, it's the restaurant that Montoni's of Funky Winkerbean (comic strip by Tom Batiuk) fame is modeled after. Luigi's is casual Italian. Crave is upscale, trendy but tasty.

May 09, 2012
jroach in Great Lakes

Rehearsal Dinner - NE Ohio. Please help a NY Hound out.

Look into Bistro on Main, on Rt. 59 in Kent (kinda close to the Stow border). Very good food and they have a private dining room that can seat up to 40. My husband and I were there for our anniversary a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed the pear salad, margharita pizza, and scallops. Everything there is homemade, even all of the salad dressings. We found the prices to be very good, too, probably because of their location (not in the middle of a downtown area). http://www.bistrokent.com

In Hudson, I absolutely LOVE Downtown 140, but it's on the pricier side and I have no idea if they have a party room. The dining room is very small.

Hudson's Restaurant in downtown Hudson is good casual food at a mid-range price, but I don't know if they have a separate room. http://www.3foodies.com/index.htm

At the other end of the spectrum, On Tap Grill on 59, but in Stow, has good what I'd call 'bar food' and they have a separate dining room. It's a chain, but a local one. I like their burgers, fries and milkshakes, but haven't been there in awhile. http://www.ontapgrill.com/ The only thing I don't care for is their breakfasts.

May 08, 2012
jroach in Great Lakes

Sesame PLace - Anything close to get food with kids?

Thanks! We just may check that out. I do love tomatoes. :) It has just been determined that we'll be staying in Warminster at the Holiday inn. Is there anything worthwhile either there (China Dragon doesn't look far from the hotel -- any good?) or Hatboro, Southampton, that general area -- just in case we need a 'close to the hotel' place as fallback?

May 03, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia

kid-friendly weekday lunch in Pittsburgh (& a dinner)

An UPDATE. We've just established we'll be staying in the University Center area at Quality Inn. Google shows me a few places right nearby (walking distance)... any of these worth a visit? Lezzet Turkish & Mediterranean, Mad Mex, Korea Garden, Larry & Carol's Pizza, Campus Deli... anything? It's the college part of town, so there could be some gems OR some dives in there. Thoughts?

May 03, 2012
jroach in Pennsylvania

kid-friendly weekday lunch in Pittsburgh (& a dinner)

Thank you. :) I'm happy to hear a 'report' regarding the museum itself, as well as the cafe. I'm impressed that they have 'specials' at all, and they look pretty good (as do the prices). It's good to have the German and Thai recs as well. I really don't know where we'll end up, but it sure is nice to have some option in my back pocket. Oh, and BTW, our travel dates have shifted slightly. Pittsburgh arrival will be Monday night, staying one night. We'd be looking at a Mon. dinner and Tues. lunch, so I just have to check and see which places are open on Mondays.

May 02, 2012
jroach in Pennsylvania

Sesame PLace - Anything close to get food with kids?

Thank you! I checked out the menu for Dominick's (I'd consider a local chain to be ok -- I'm just not into the big national ones) in Langhorne and did not see tomato pie spelled out on the menu for that location. Is that it's exact name and how it would appear? I would be interested in trying a regional specialty (though I guess we could always drive to Trenton if that's the only place that has them). Any other local delights in that area worth mentioning?

May 01, 2012
jroach in Philadelphia