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Familiar Flint, Michigan

Author: sightseeingsue
Date of Trip: January 2001

A wedding brings us back to this once bustling automotive town to experience some old favorites, some new finds and familiar places.

Residence Inn

There were several factors that effected our decision to stay at the Residence Inn during our recent visit to town. First, its location being close to the expressway and in a decent part of town. Secondly, we are “Marriot Reward Card” members and getting 2400 points added to our account towards free stays on future trips was yet another. And lastly, it had availability and the price was right!

The Residence Inn, located in Flint, checked in above and beyond our expectations. Besides clean and very spacious, the hotel featured an excellent free buffet breakfast for its guest that consisted of scrambled eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, fruit, and bagels. Juices, fresh brewed coffee, and other breakfast items were also offered.

The hotel staff was extremely friendly and worked hard to satisfy all our needs. We were in town for a wedding and needed an early check-in to change into our fancy church duds which they graciously honored. Though not ready by 1:00pm as we requested, but shortly there after. They offered us some great suggestions on the phone as where to eat before we arrived. After being checked-in and heading to our room, a very nice employee offered to help us carry our luggage to our room, which we refused but appreciated the offer.

Our one bedroom suite (216) was wonderful, clean and laid out efficiently. A small kitchenette featured all the essentials needed for one night, or an extended stay. Full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, silverware, and pots and pans were furnished. Two bar stools accompanied the countertop which had many items like coffee packages, creams and sugars, microwave popcorn, and a couple drinking glasses with napkins in them for our use.

The living area had a couch, 2 chairs, coffee table, TV as well as a desk for working on. Two large picture windows were also a nice touch to let in some sunshine. The bedroom area was all in the same room but positioned to feel as if it were a separate area. Here we found a very comfortable king-size bed with nice soft linen sheets as well as many pillows for our use. The bathroom sink area was located off the bedroom across from the mirrored closet but separate from the toilet and shower/tub room. Here we found a blow-dryer, iron with board, and the usual freebie soaps and shampoos if needed. Good shower pressure too!

The only complaints we had was the free high-speed Internet was not working. Had my husband been here on business, this stay would have definitely been a problem. My husband was rather bothered by this and had to wait to check his email. Another complaint was the loud slamming doors heard on our floor. That’s it.

A few other nice things I should mention are pets are allowed, it has a indoor pool, exercise room, nightly social activities and weekly barbecues are held for guests. We paid $99.99 which included breakfast, and felt we definitely got our moneys worth.

Big John’s Steak and Onion

My mouth is watering just thinking about eating at Big John’s Steak and Onion which can be found in many locations around Flint. We have on occasions, even veered off out of our way just to stop in town for one of these subs…they are that good. This time we were already in town and just a mention of it prompted us to find a nearby location. As luck would have it, the Corunna Road location was still in the same spot and just a quick jog off of I-75.

The small yellow and red building offers either take out or a small eat in area. What’s on the menu? Why, subs of course, and good and tasty ones too. They also offer a few salads, chili, and chips as well but the main item here is subs. The subs are huge, an 8 inch half is a full meal. But for those hefty eaters, or those sub-splitters, then a 16 inch full sub is available. Traditional cold subs such as turkey, spicy Italian, ham and cheese, club, and even a vegetarian sub are also found on the menu. They even provide 3, 4, or 5 foot party subs for a really reasonable price.

The original Steak and Onion, or the original with cheese are the most popular subs and grilled right in front of your eyes. Generous amount of tender rib-eye steak, caramelized onions, and provolone cheese get splattered onto the grease soaked bun then wrapped in a paper sheet to finish the cheese melting process. You can opt to have yellow peppers, mushrooms, or special sauce added at this time.

Prices for the subs are about $4.50 for a half, and $7.50 for a full. They do offer combo meals which include chips and a beverage for a discounted price. My husband and I both ordered the steak and cheese but I elected adding a few mushrooms to mine. Minutes after placing our order, we were handed our subs and headed to the small seating area to devour our subs&no words were spoken, just an occasionally “ummmm” was heard. Minutes later we were stuffed and back on the road again.

If you are a Philly Steak lover, then Big John’s will offer you the best ultimate Steak Sandwich you have ever eaten…and one you won’t easily forget. I haven’t!

Redwood Lodge (Grill and Brew Pub)

With some time to kill, and having been to the Redwood Lodge before, we knew it was just around the corner from our hotel and probably open for lunch. Our previous visit was late and only for drinks so we didn’t know what to expect from the menu, but with a grill in its name, how could we go wrong?

We pulled up around 1pm on Saturday and were rather surprised to see the parking lot empty…could this be a sign? Walking in from outside it took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the dim lights once the pupils reached their proper dilation, I liked what I saw. However, my nose caught immediately the mesquite smelling aroma that hovered throughout the air…some good grilling takes place here. I liked the smell!

My eyes first focused on the bear standing next to me at the entrance then moved on to take in the rest of what waited for me to explore. Within moments I was no longer in Flint, I had been whisked away and was being welcomed into a large exclusive lodge somewhere located in our Great North Country. Large numbers of wild game mountings were on the walls, cozy fieldstone fireplace located in the back, wooden railings, wildlife artwork, antlered chandeliers, redwood beams supporting the ceiling all giving you that true homey rustic up-northy feeling. Time to give the food a whirl.

The waitress greeted us immediately with a friendly smile and our menus. First thoughts after glancing over the menu…wished we would had visited an ATM first and I hope they took debit-cards. A few signature appetizers were Artichoke-Bake ($11.99), Baked Herbed Boursin Cheese ($11.99), Chef’s Appetizers/Beer Sampler Combo $23.99 for small- $42.99 for large.

Beer-and-onion soup, salads, traditional sandwiches, most bearing steak in its name are lunch fare. Priced around $10. Dinner items include steaks, seafood, pasta, speciality pizza, or wild game. Priced $15-$30. A glass butcher counter was right out in the open displaying various cuts of beef and located next to the mesquite grill ready for some heavy-duty grilling. An on-site brewery offers ales, stouts, and other award-winning beers to sample, wines as well as a full stocked bar.

We both order Kansas-City Steak Sandwiches ($9.89), mine with fries, his with chips. Heading to a Catholic wedding, stopped us from sampling the beer we had wished. Waitress was efficient and food arrived quickly. The portions were huge…and very tasty. Neither of us could finish our meals. Total bill including tip was $29 (two sandwiches, zero cocktails.) Good experience but realized their steep prices probably limits their crowds.

What we loved: The atmosphere/decor, wide variety of items, tasty food, service, and totally smoke free establishment (excluding Cigar lounge) Disliked: Pricey food, time we arrived. Next time: Visit during dinnertime, sample home-made beers, enjoy music in the lounge (Old Sequoia Cigar Room) order big juicy steak.

Open 7 days, for lunch and dinner, gift shop, live entertainment Wed-Saturday in lounge, located off I-75, Hill Rd.

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