With all the new restaurant openings and closings in the Kalamazoo area, there are three in particular I would love to see make there way here. As unfortunate as the closing announcement from J. Gumbo's was, there will now be a building looking for a new occupant, and I think one of these would do great here:

1. Raising Cane’s- Although the chain is named after a dog, Raising Cane’s specializes in chicken fingers- and not much else! The company was founded in Baton Rouge in 1996 and now operates over 500 restaurants across the country. Sadly, not one of those stores is located within the state of Michigan. The nearest Cane’s franchise is located over 150 miles away in the Chicago area.


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I got my first taste of Raising Cane’s when I lived in Nebraska and that’s when I became a certified “Caniac”, which is how Raising Cane’s lovingly refers to their fans. If you don’t think I’ll drive over three hours for a chicken platter with some Cane’s sauce, you’re wrong! Check out the menu here.

2. Waffle House- For me, every road trip must consist of a visit to Waffle House. Not that the food is particularly amazing- that’s NOT why you go to Waffle House. You go to Waffle House for the entertainment! You know the saying, “Nothing good happens after midnight”? Whoever wrote that has clearly never been to a Waffle House because that’s when the best things happen.

Think of the most outrageous viral stories you’ve ever read and ask yourself, how many of those took place at a Waffle House? Case and point: we are doing a disservice to ourselves by not opening a location in West Michigan, instead you’ll have to drive to the Toledo area to get your fill. There’s even a student-lead movement to bring Michigan’s first Waffle House to Ann Arbor.

3. Wingstop- If you’re craving chicken wings ASAP, you’ll have to drive to the Grand Rapids or the Benton Harbor area to find the nearest Wingstop location. What’s even more infuriating is that I see their commercials all the time on my TV! Since the chain opened in Texas 1994 it has grown to over 1500 locations worldwide and has served over one billion wings- so they must be doing something right! Offering over twelve flavor selections of bone-in or boneless wings, Wingstop would always be my go-to meal of choice on “cheat days” when I lived in Missouri. Check out Wingstop’s flavor selection.

Which fast food chain would you like to see next in Kalamazoo?

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The nice thing about all these locations is that they'll take no more than an hour to get to and it's also a good chance to explore Southwest Michigan and do something off the beaten path. Here are 10 small town restaurants near us that you seriously need to check out:

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