Some food is worth a special occasion, even if the occasion is only that you’re in the mood for really good food.
Here are six restaurants in Calhoun County that are worth the drive for a meal:
Albion Malleable Brewing Company
Vibe: A pub with the warmth of the city’s industrial past, balanced with bright notes of future possibilities. It honors the iron company that put Albion on the map while using hops grown by a local farm.
Try: If you want an amazing burger, add AMBC to your list. Mlive certainly thinks it’s worth the trip, awarding this brewery the title of Best Burger in Michigan. All burger patties are made with ground in-house meat from brisket, sirloin and chuck. For the purists, stick to the Signature. Or go big with the Jolly Roger, which has char-grilled poblano peppers, bacon, jalapeño honey mustard and smoked gouda cheese.
Vibe: Panoramic windows give an amazing view of the local airport, so you can see planes landing and Waco’s biplane garage.
Try: With an emphasis on food both delicious and healthy, the seasonal menu is where it’s at. Inspired by Michigan’s seasons, you get fresh ingredients that will warm you up in winter and dazzle you in summer.
Vibe: More than 100 years in business, this historic restaurant is the heart of a small town with Victorian architecture.
Try: There are three items on the menu for the time-tested Schuler’s experience. Start with the Heritage Cheese platter; it’s a creamy spread with a little horseradish bite, good for crackers and bread. For your entree, order Schuler’s Classic Roast Prime of Beef, served in the English tradition. End the meal with a pecan ball, which is vanilla ice cream rolled in nuts and served with hot fudge.
Cascarelli’s of Homer
Vibe: A vintage tavern that’s been operating since the 1930; pizza is served on a stainless steel stand, elevated like the piece of art it is.
Try: People travel from out of state to eat this pizza. While you can choose your own toppings, trust Cascarelli’s decades of experience. The Classic House Pizza has pepperoni, mushroom and sausage. Also recommended is Frankie’s Pie, made with the family’s recipe meatballs, onions, roasted red peppers, pepperoni, basil and a mix of mozzarella and Asiago cheese. Another quirk on the menu are the fresh roasted nuts, which includes peanuts, macadamias and maple glazed pecans.
Two brothers: Cascarelli’s of Homer is a different restaurant from Cascarelli’s of Albion. The Italian family originally lived in Albion, and two brothers opened separate restaurants in different cities.
Vibe: A Mediterranean bistro with some French flair, so expect seasonally fresh vegetables with wild caught fish, in-house prepared pastas and good wine.
Try: The seafood is always recommended. Check the chalkboard for the special of the day. One week it could be pan-seared Alaskan halibut set over a creamy spring pea risotto folded with roasted tomatoes and finished with spiced pistachios and Romesco sauce. The next week it’s Lake Superior Walleye, lightly dusted and pan-seared, served with cannolicchi pasta that’s been tossed with arugula, artichokes, basil and capers in tomato butter.
Vibe: Elegance and style is guaranteed in this restaurant connected to the FireKeepers Hotel, which is rated four diamonds by AAA.
Try: Raise a toast over dinner with a selection from the wine list, which has more than 400 options. The prime steaks are the highlight of the menu, from filet mignon to the bone-in ribeye. Choose accessories such as au poivre sauce, duck fat onions or foie gras.