Post Tagged with: "MUSKEGON"

Michigan’s Best Coffee Shop: Follow along on Muskegon visits to The Brew House, Drip Drop Drink

Gonzalez will visit two Muskegon-area establishments. First, he will stop by The Brew House, located at 255 Seminole Rd. in Norton Shores around 2:30 p.m. The search will then take Gonzalez to downtown Muske…

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Dancing with the Local Stars opens with colorful, creative performance in front of packed house

Twelve couples danced the night away in front of nearly 400 people at the opening night of Dancing with the Local Stars in Muskegon.

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MUSKEGON, MI – Ju…

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Papa Bears in Muskegon offers ‘stuffed hash browns,’ home-type atmosphere: Restaurant Review

Papa Bears has to be one of the most unique restaurants in the Muskegon area. When you pull into its parking lot off Apple Avenue it literally looks like you’re pulling into someone’s driveway. The exterior looks like a house, not a public restaurant. The inside has the same sort of the feel.

Where we dined: Papa Bears, 2280 E. Apple Ave., Muskegon

When we dined: At around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015

What they serve: Papa Bears is a breakfast and lunch restaurant located on the east side of Muskegon just off Apple Avenue. The menu is at least six pages long, four of which feature breakfast options, one with a variety of burgers and another with sandwiches.

The most noticeable item on the menu is the “stuffed hash browns.” Knowing this place as a breakfast joint I was on the lookout for something unique and this definitely caught my eye. The base stuffed hash brown in served with ham or sausage, sour creme and cheddar cheese and is priced at $7.50. A wide variety of topping, such as bacon, peppers, tomatoes, pepperoni, onions, broccoli and mushrooms can be added for extra cost.

For the stuffed hash browns, 5, 10 and 20 pound versions can also be ordered and cost up to $25. An entire page of the menu is also devoted to omelets. Guests have the option to build their own: or order one of the many prepared options such as The Mexicana, Polar Bear, Jesse, Jonsey, Papa Bear, Southern, Farmers, Vegetable, Italian and more. Omelet prices range from $6 to $9.

A variety of scrambles ($7.50-$9.50), burgers ($6-$8.50) and sandwiches ($6.50 to $8.25) are also available on Papa Bear’s surprisingly large menu.

The atmosphere: Papa Bears has to be one of the most unique restaurants in the Muskegon area. When you pull into its parking lot off Apple Avenue it literally looks like you’re pulling into someone’s driveway. The exterior looks like a house, not a public restaurant. The inside has the same sort of the feel. It’s divided into two main rooms, kind of like it was initially a living room and a dining room, but both have plenty of tables. The kitchen is located, well, in the kitchen.

When it comes to the decor, it looks a lot like someone’s living room. There are family pictures on the wall, presumably of the owner’s family. There are also plenty of military themed items hanging on the wall including flags, posters, medals and service photos.

There were several people sitting in both areas of the restaurant when my dining partner, MLive Muskegon Chronicle Multimedia intern Tommy Martino, arrived. As you may expect, Papa Bears has the feeling of a local, community eatery. Our server was very pleasant and welcomed us just as if we were regulars who you could tell there were plenty of.

Our server also kept our coffee full, which was a major plus. I can’t stand places, particularly breakfast places, that don’t keep the coffee warm.

Wait to be seated: None

What we ordered: Breakfast – Since it was easily the most interesting thing on the menu, I decided to go with the stuffed hash browns. I got them as they came with ham, cheddar cheese and sour creme. As we waited, Tommy and I saw one of the 20-pound stuffed hash browns being brought out to another table. Holy cow, that thing was huge!

Once my hash browns arrived I was very pleased. My helping, while much smaller than the 20-pound option, was large. I could only eat half of it. The hash browns are stacked high and stuffed with plenty of cheese, a layer of sour creme and tiny chunks of ham. The flavor was sensational and the potatoes were nice and crispy on top. That worked well with the softer combination of sour creme and cheese at the bottom of the dish. I also ordered a personal favorite of mine, biscuits and gravy. They were good as well, although there was a little too much gravy for just the two biscuits.

Tommy ordered an Italian omelet that was stuffed with onions, mushroom, green pepper, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese that was also on top of the egg covering. Tommy wasn’t the biggest fan of the omelet because there were too many vegetables and not enough meat and cheese.

We both had coffee, plenty of it, and water to drink.

Time for food to come out: About 15 minutes.

Our thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by Papa Bears. The outside can be a little intimidating because you really feel like you’re about to walk into someone’s house. That being said, that is also its strength once you get inside. The restaurant feels like home and the staff is very welcoming and friendly.

I had no complaints about the food either. My stuffed hash browns were phenomenal and large enough to where I can eat them for another meal. It’s worth noting that our server told us if you’re going to reheat the hash browns the best way to do it is to put them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you’re looking for a breakfast or lunch place in the Muskegon area you can do a lot worse than Papa Bears. There are many places like this in town, but none of them have the at-home atmosphere that this place does. I would go back.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday – 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Credit Cards: Yes.

Alcohol: No.

Dress Code: Casual.

Reservations: No.

Wheelchair accessible: Yes.

Contact them: Call Papa Bears at 231-773-2067

Know a great place to dine out? Email me. 

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at bchampio@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

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Muskegon Bike Time expansion leaves more questions than answers when it comes to West Western Avenue

Spurred by the Bike Time Board of Directors’ decision to expand the popular motorcycle festival to 90 acres of property in Fruitport Township, questions have emerged over what the event will look like on Western Avenue where the event has been held the previous eight years in existence.

MUSKEGON, MI – How downtown Muskegon will look during Bike Time 2015 is very much up in the air.

Spurred by the Bike Time Board of Directors’ decision to expand the popular motorcycle festival to 90 acres of property in Fruitport Township, questions have emerged over what the event will look like on West Western Avenue where the event has been held the previous eight years.

Chief among them are whether West Western Avenue, affectionately referred to as “Steel Horse Alley” during the four-day festival, needs to be closed for the event to survive downtown, and if it does need to be closed, who will pay for it?

What exactly will be downtown, such as beer tents, is also a question that needs answering.

Board members and downtown stakeholders alike gathered at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to discuss some of those questions on Monday, Feb. 23. Here is a summary of what took place:

West Western Avenue remains important

Board of Directors representatives have made it clear that their intent is not to relocate the festival, but to expand it out of necessity. The motivation for the expansion is to ensure the long-term sustainability to Bike Time.

Bike Time Expansion Concept ArtAn artists rendering of what Muskegon Bike Time 2015 will look like at its new site at the former Great Lakes Downs site. (Concept Design Grand Rapids)Courtesy Photo 

Bike Time Board Chairman Clyde Whitehouse has indicated that the reason for the expansion to Fruitport Township is that the continued growth of downtown Muskegon limits space for the event. There is also a need for entertainment options that are impossible to offer on Western Avenue, Whitehouse said.

Organizers want to keep downtown part of the festival, but the focus is on the development of the Fruitport Township venue.

Leave the street opened or closed?

As is usually the case, money is at the center of the Bike Time Board of Directors’ dilemma. According to Treasurer Tim Lipan, it cost roughly $80,000 to obtain necessary permits and close Western Avenue for four days with proper security, bathrooms, insurance, etc.

Beer tents, vendors and other aspects of the event cost an additional $70,000 but the returns on those investments usually equal the cost, making it a wash, according to Lipan.

That being said, whether West Western Avenue is closed off becomes the biggest issue. Members of the board, particularly Whitehouse, vice chairman Dave Burlingame and board member Mark Campbell, indicated that they feel bikers would visit downtown Muskegon regardless of whether the street is closed since the festival has essentially been marketing the area for eight years.

Their assumption is based on experience attending some of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country where streets aren’t closed, including Deadwood and Daytona, where Whitehouse lived for some 20 years.

“People are still going to come downtown,” Burlingame said. “If we don’t have a beer tent at the L. C. Walker Arena parking lot on Fifth (Street) and  Western that parking lot would be full of motorcycles. They would park any place they could find a spot but they would still be down here. They wait to come to Mike’s, they’re going to come down to Racquets because that’s what they’ve done; they meet their friends there. That’s all going to happen whether the street is closed or not.”

Downtown business owners weren’t as convinced.

“I think that most people in years past have appreciated the atmosphere that downtown Muskegon, with the surrounding entities, have afforded them,” Ron Madison, owner of Racquets said. “In my personal opinion, taking away the opportunity to congregate and just be part of a crowd, to be a spectacle in a sense and to be part of that spectacle is what people have expressed to me that they enjoy. I truly believe that if Western Avenue wasn’t closed and they didn’t have the opportunity to congregate as they always have in that atmosphere that the event, at least down here, would die.”

Unruly Brewing Company owners Jeff Jacobson and Mark Gongalski also expressed concern over the potential move, indicating that if the road isn’t closed and beer tents and vendors are moved to the new venue, then it “feels more like a shift than an expansion.”

As of now, the Bike Time Board of Directors has not applied to the city of Muskegon for a special use permit required to close Western Avenue.

Burlingame also noted that Bike Time representatives have heard of a brewing organized opposition to festivities downtown. Regardless of how that may play out, Bike Time officials said, the conversation about downtown is needed.

So what’s next?

Nothing was officially decided at Monday’s meeting, but much of the talk toward the end of the discussion centered on what can be done to keep Western Avenue as much a part of Bike Time as it has in previous years.

Board members challenged downtown stake holders to form a committee that will work with Bike Time to organize the downtown portion of the festival. If downtown stakeholders do feel they want to close Western Avenue, they would also need to help shoulder the cost, which many indicated they would be willing to do.

Former Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, who owns Marine Tap Room on Lakeshore Drive and is a former Bike Time Board member, was one of the more vocal participants in the discussion, urging downtown business owners to contribute.

“There are folks in this room that have made a lot of money off (Bike Time) in the last eight years,” he said. “I wrote a check for $1,000 for this event last year and I can tell you that in the summertime this is the worst weekend for my business because everyone is downtown…

“This event needs some help, downtown costs are high. There isn’t any reason why, probably, there couldn’t be enough money raised from the business down here that would help this group. I’m going to tell the business people here, if you want to be anywhere close to what it was last year, you’re going to need to step up to the table and hope these folks will work with you to make this thing work.

“Their vision is out there (Fruitport Township,)” Warmington continued. “They’ve given eight years to downtown, so we need as a community to say we’re not going to lose this, we’re going to help enhance it but we have to invest. I’m going to throw my $1,000 in and I’m going to lose money on it. Those of you, who are in the industry down here, put your money where your mouth is.”

Once a decision on closing the street is made, the next decisions are about beer tents, live entertainment and other attractions. It may be up to downtown business owners to provide their own entertainment at that point as the Bike Time Board of Directors envisions its vendors, concerts and motorcycle events all in Fruitport Township.

Bike Time Board members did indicate they would be willing to support, work with and perhaps provide funding to any sort of committee helping promote downtown as part of the overall Bike Time festival. 

As of now, there are more questions than answers, but with the festival scheduled for July 16-19, those questions will need to be answered soon. Details are likely to emerge in the coming weeks, but one thing is apparent: Bike Time will have a much different look in 2015.

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business, sports and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at bchampio@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

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Muskegon Bike Time expansion leaves more questions than answers when it comes to West Western Avenue

Spurred by the Bike Time Board of Directors’ decision to expand the popular motorcycle festival to 90 acres of property in Fruitport Township, questions have emerged over what the event will look like on Western Avenue where the event has been held the previous eight years in existence.

MUSKEGON, MI – How downtown Muskegon will look during Bike Time 2015 is very much up in the air.

Spurred by the Bike Time Board of Directors’ decision to expand the popular motorcycle festival to 90 acres of property in Fruitport Township, questions have emerged over what the event will look like on West Western Avenue where the event has been held the previous eight years.

Chief among them are whether West Western Avenue, affectionately referred to as “Steel Horse Alley” during the four-day festival, needs to be closed for the event to survive downtown, and if it does need to be closed, who will pay for it?

What exactly will be downtown, such as beer tents, is also a question that needs answering.

Board members and downtown stakeholders alike gathered at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to discuss some of those questions on Monday, Feb. 23. Here is a summary of what took place:

West Western Avenue remains important

Board of Directors representatives have made it clear that their intent is not to relocate the festival, but to expand it out of necessity. The motivation for the expansion is to ensure the long-term sustainability to Bike Time.

Bike Time Expansion Concept ArtAn artists rendering of what Muskegon Bike Time 2015 will look like at its new site at the former Great Lakes Downs site. (Concept Design Grand Rapids)Courtesy Photo 

Bike Time Board Chairman Clyde Whitehouse has indicated that the reason for the expansion to Fruitport Township is that the continued growth of downtown Muskegon limits space for the event. There is also a need for entertainment options that are impossible to offer on Western Avenue, Whitehouse said.

Organizers want to keep downtown part of the festival, but the focus is on the development of the Fruitport Township venue.

Leave the street opened or closed?

As is usually the case, money is at the center of the Bike Time Board of Directors’ dilemma. According to Treasurer Tim Lipan, it cost roughly $80,000 to obtain necessary permits and close Western Avenue for four days with proper security, bathrooms, insurance, etc.

Beer tents, vendors and other aspects of the event cost an additional $70,000 but the returns on those investments usually equal the cost, making it a wash, according to Lipan.

That being said, whether West Western Avenue is closed off becomes the biggest issue. Members of the board, particularly Whitehouse, vice chairman Dave Burlingame and board member Mark Campbell, indicated that they feel bikers would visit downtown Muskegon regardless of whether the street is closed since the festival has essentially been marketing the area for eight years.

Their assumption is based on experience attending some of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country where streets aren’t closed, including Deadwood and Daytona, where Whitehouse lived for some 20 years.

“People are still going to come downtown,” Burlingame said. “If we don’t have a beer tent at the L. C. Walker Arena parking lot on Fifth (Street) and  Western that parking lot would be full of motorcycles. They would park any place they could find a spot but they would still be down here. They wait to come to Mike’s, they’re going to come down to Racquets because that’s what they’ve done; they meet their friends there. That’s all going to happen whether the street is closed or not.”

Downtown business owners weren’t as convinced.

“I think that most people in years past have appreciated the atmosphere that downtown Muskegon, with the surrounding entities, have afforded them,” Ron Madison, owner of Racquets said. “In my personal opinion, taking away the opportunity to congregate and just be part of a crowd, to be a spectacle in a sense and to be part of that spectacle is what people have expressed to me that they enjoy. I truly believe that if Western Avenue wasn’t closed and they didn’t have the opportunity to congregate as they always have in that atmosphere that the event, at least down here, would die.”

Unruly Brewing Company owners Jeff Jacobson and Mark Gongalski also expressed concern over the potential move, indicating that if the road isn’t closed and beer tents and vendors are moved to the new venue, then it “feels more like a shift than an expansion.”

As of now, the Bike Time Board of Directors has not applied to the city of Muskegon for a special use permit required to close Western Avenue.

Burlingame also noted that Bike Time representatives have heard of a brewing organized opposition to festivities downtown. Regardless of how that may play out, Bike Time officials said, the conversation about downtown is needed.

So what’s next?

Nothing was officially decided at Monday’s meeting, but much of the talk toward the end of the discussion centered on what can be done to keep Western Avenue as much a part of Bike Time as it has in previous years.

Board members challenged downtown stake holders to form a committee that will work with Bike Time to organize the downtown portion of the festival. If downtown stakeholders do feel they want to close Western Avenue, they would also need to help shoulder the cost, which many indicated they would be willing to do.

Former Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, who owns Marine Tap Room on Lakeshore Drive and is a former Bike Time Board member, was one of the more vocal participants in the discussion, urging downtown business owners to contribute.

“There are folks in this room that have made a lot of money off (Bike Time) in the last eight years,” he said. “I wrote a check for $1,000 for this event last year and I can tell you that in the summertime this is the worst weekend for my business because everyone is downtown…

“This event needs some help, downtown costs are high. There isn’t any reason why, probably, there couldn’t be enough money raised from the business down here that would help this group. I’m going to tell the business people here, if you want to be anywhere close to what it was last year, you’re going to need to step up to the table and hope these folks will work with you to make this thing work.

“Their vision is out there (Fruitport Township,)” Warmington continued. “They’ve given eight years to downtown, so we need as a community to say we’re not going to lose this, we’re going to help enhance it but we have to invest. I’m going to throw my $1,000 in and I’m going to lose money on it. Those of you, who are in the industry down here, put your money where your mouth is.”

Once a decision on closing the street is made, the next decisions are about beer tents, live entertainment and other attractions. It may be up to downtown business owners to provide their own entertainment at that point as the Bike Time Board of Directors envisions its vendors, concerts and motorcycle events all in Fruitport Township.

Bike Time Board members did indicate they would be willing to support, work with and perhaps provide funding to any sort of committee helping promote downtown as part of the overall Bike Time festival. 

As of now, there are more questions than answers, but with the festival scheduled for July 16-19, those questions will need to be answered soon. Details are likely to emerge in the coming weeks, but one thing is apparent: Bike Time will have a much different look in 2015.

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business, sports and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at bchampio@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

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Top 5 things to do in Muskegon area this week: Pedal 4 Pints, ‘The LEGO Movie’ and more

Looking for something to do in the Muskegon area this week? Here are some of the top things going on for the week of Feb. 23-26.

1. WWII Lecture Series at USS Silversides Submari…

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Could we see a double back flip at Muskegon Bike Time 2015? Someone who’s pulled it off will be there

Plans for expanded attractions and entertainment options at Muskegon Bike Time 2014 were announced in January, but the specifics were not known at the time. Since then, details have been flushed out.

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Michigan’s Best Coffee Shop: Drip Drop Drink named ‘People’s Choice’ winner in Muskegon area

Drip Drop Drink, located inside Unruly Brewing Co. in downtown Muskegon, was the runaway winner in the MLive Muskegon Chronicle’s search for the best coffee shop in the area. Drip Drop Drink, 360 W. Western Ave., received 518 votes, good for 32.3 percent of the total vote.

MUSKEGON, MI – It was the leader from start to finish, so it seems fitting it would be the “People’s Choice” winner for best coffee shop in the Muskegon area.

Drip Drop Drink, located inside Unruly Brewing Co. in downtown Muskegon, was the runaway winner in MLive Muskegon Chronicle’s search for the best coffee shop in the area.

Drip Drop Drink, 360 W. Western Ave., received 518 votes, good for 32.3 percent of the total vote.

The shop also received the most nominations before the poll opened. More than 1,600 total votes were cast during the search.

The title of “People’s Choice” winner guarantees Drip Drop Drink a visit from MLive statewide entertainment reporter John Gonzalez and MLive Muskegon Chronicle staff. A second, yet-to-be-determined location in the area will also receive a visit.

The statewide search will begin on Feb. 23. Once all the top shops in Michigan have been visited, Gonzalez will compile a top 10 list.

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business, sports and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at bchampio@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

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