I grew up in the Southwest corner of Michigan, about a 45 minute drive south of Kalamazoo. It’s one of Michigan’s best cities (although I may be slightly biased 🙂 ). Why you ask? Kalamazoo’s farmer’s market is out of this world, it has been consistently ranked in various publications and articles, including Clean Eating Magazine’s Top 50 Farmer’s Markets in America. It’s downtown constantly has festivals running throughout the entire summer (Ribfest or Food Truck Rally, anyone?).There’s ton’s of unique restaurants that are supplied by local farms from around the area. It has a wide array of food trucks that are always around town (like the Organic Gypsy and Ol’ Moose BBQ, my two personal faves). It’s also such an easy town to stay active in, with places like Climb Kalamazoo, the Kal-Haven Trail, Celery Flats, OrangeTheory, Crossfit boxes, yoga studios, and ton’s of races from 5k’s to marathons that run throughout the year. There really is something for everyone!
Now that I live on the complete opposite side, as well as quite a ways north, I often make it down to my beloved little corner of the State to visit family and friends. So OBVI, I have to do a little raving about all my favorite places in Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas to grab some grub, shop, and workout while I’m in town!
Rustica (Downtown Kalamazoo)
Here you’re going to get the best, the most local, most gourmet, and highest quality food in Kalamazoo! It was recently recommended by an old friend that I go check it out. For starters I got the harvest salad, then my mom and I split the roasted duck breast with brown butter and sage. Holy Cow (or should I say Holy Duck?!), insert all the heart eye’d emoji’s, here! My Dad ordered the chicken, which had perfectly crisped skin and a nice big helping of smashed potatoes. Gavin got the lamb shank, I had to sneak a bite (or five) of his cauliflower, apple, and cheddar gratin, it was out of this world good! This is definitely a date night or special occasion restaurant. You’ll most likely need reservations as it is on the small and cozy side, however we called the night before and had no problem getting a table for four!
This is the CUTEST little restaurant, and it’s just a hop and a skip down the block from Boutique Oz (you’ll read more about this AMAZING place below). So swinging over to Mattawan makes for the perfect afternoon girls trip! They serve Vietnamese tree food so usually when I eat here I get the pork belly tacos on a lettuce wrap and a side of their truffle fries with Sriracha aioli. The truffle fries here are non-negotiable, they’re an absolute must!
Core Life (Portage)
Bone Broth, anyone?? Core Life has hands down the best I’ve ever had and you can even top it off with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, which kind of like the cherry on top, ya know? My favorite dish to
order there is there chicken plate, and don’t even get me started on their cashew dressing over roasted root veggies and greens. I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited for a salad in my life until I tried theirs! CL has only been open for a few months but it quickly became a favorite of mine and many others that are health conscious. Everytime I’ve been there’s been a line to the door and the majority of the tables are full. You never feel like your missing out by making the healthy choice here, or drooling over the person sitting next to you’s plate instead of yours. It’s ALL good and it’s all healthy.
Kelvin & Co.(Downtown Kalamazoo)
Such a good place to grab yummy BBQ takeout from. Their pulled pork and brisket is seriously on point! They even slice their perfectly cooked brisket right in front of you as you order it, so you know it’s super fresh. The meat they serve is all hormone and antibiotic-free, which allows you to feel good about eating it. We always get it to go and we take it home and serve it with veggies after we’ve finished a long day in Kzoo. It’s so easy and convenient. Make sure you order extra so you can have delicious BBQ for dayzz. My favorite is to put the pulled pork on top of a roasted sweet potato!
Cove Lakeside Bistro (Portage)
Located right on West Lake just outside of Kalamazoo, in Portage, this is
for sure the place to go on a evening in the summertime. I always order their greek salad and whitefish with seasonal veggies, yuummm.
Triple River Crossfit (Three Rivers)
This is where my journey with CrossFit all began. I LOVE going back to this place when I’m home. This place is the reason I love working out. Exercising used to be a chore that I couldn’t wait to get over for the day. Now, I can’t wait to go everyday. The owners, Brock and Autumn, have created an awesome community within Triple River. If you live in the area and are on the fence about trying CrossFit, I highly encourage you to go try it out. If you’re a CrossFitter and just in town visiting, it’s also a super welcoming environment to go and just drop in at!
At the end of this month they are expanding and adding on a yoga studio, So Flexy Yoga. Even though I’m not exactly a “yogi” I LOVE dropping in to a class every once in a while. I think supplementing yoga with CrossFit is really helpful because it really helps to keep you loose and flexible. However, I always feel a little awkward in yoga classes because I usually don’t have a clue what I’m doing, ha. This place is going to be so cool because it’s going to be able to cater to the fact that there’s a lot of CrossFitters supplementing their workouts with yoga.
Boutique Oz (Mattawan)
This cozy little place will instantly brighten your day! On most days you’ll find Gina, the owner, and her sister, Amy, working at Oz. These two are awesome and so much fun, you can’t help but have a good time in there. You’ll most likely walk out feeling like you’ve made two new BFFs. For example, I laugh at this now, but I had a little wedding dress disaster about 2 months before my wedding. Long story short, it was way to big when it got shipped in, and there was really no way I was going to get it to fit the way I wanted it to. I was devastated to put it bluntly, the dress I dreamed about since I was a little girl just wasn’t going to work and I was waaaayyy to scared to tell my mom I hated it. One drive over to Oz, a glass a wine, and some girl talk in the dressing room with Gina and Niki (my MOH), and I was a whole new woman!
Speaking of my wedding, we also started off my bachelorette party here, this is how much Niki and I LOVE Oz.
Okay, lets get to the point of me featuring Oz, this is such a great place to find all of your wardrobe staples, although there’s a lot of really cool, fun tie-die, pretty much everything comes in BLACK. My personal fave and go to for everything color. AND OH EM GEE, they have SPANX leggings, I don’t even think I need to convince you any further…go check this place out.
The Craftsman’s Daughter (Sturgis)
This is just down the road from my parents house, so I always make sure to stop in every time I’m home. I usually always find at least one or two things I can’t live without while I’m there. Ellie, the owner, has such an eye for style and design. The store is GORGEOUS. It carries women’s and some men’s clothing as well as home decor and little odds and ends that make fore the perfect gifts! This year I got my favorite red flannel from here (from a really cool company in Franklin,TN called “Franklin Flannels”), I literally try to get away with wearing it everyday, I love it that much. I even secretly smuggled my mom’s into my suitcase while I was home for Christmas so I could have it in another color 🙂 (sorry mom!)!
Oh and you can also see their adorable little truck of theirs frequently around town!
Salon Harlow (Schoolcraft)
I love all the girls here…they’re seriously the best! It’s such a cozy little relaxing spot for hair, nails, facials, and lashes! Whenever I’m in the area I always stock up on my favorite Elina Organics skincare products. Their Oil Control and Healing Formula are OUT OF THIS WORLD. I’ve been using them for probably about 5 years and I’ve never found anything better. The oil control keeps my skin free from excess oil all day and I can tell a noticeable difference If I don’t put it on before my makeup. The Healing Formula is perfect for when you have a monster zit your face that conveniently pops up at the worst possible time, or if your face is really red and irritated. It seriously calms everything down after a few minutes and really helps speed up the healing process!
My favorite services to get done here are facials and eyelashes. Seriously, have Niki do a set of Borboleta lash extensions and you’ll feel like a whole new woman! She’s been doing mine since I decided to ditch my platinum blonde…AKA for a very long time haha. She’s seriously the best, they look like absolute perfection!
Peaceful Rivers (Three Rivers)
This is the place for the ultimate “feel good” treatment in the area. They offer both massage therapy as well as chiropractic. Leslie, the owner, was my volleyball and softball coach in high school. She also doubled as my massage therapist and I’ve been seeing her ever since! All of the girls here do an excellent job and will make you feel like a million bucks. It is very reasonably priced compared to where I live so I always try to sneak in while I’m in town visiting!
Make sure you’re subscribed and following my Insta account so you can see where I’m headed to in February (hint: I’m heading to 4 different major cities in the US plus a very big road trip that I can’t wait to share with you guys!)
and as always, be well!