Who else is missing the Great Lakes Shipping Company in Kalamazoo?


Kalamazoo residents seem to be missing one specific restaurant this week: The Great Lakes Shipping Company.

Now, as a newcomer to the Kalamazoo area, I don’t share the same sense of nostalgia for certain places that may no longer exist. But, judging by the local reactions to the closing of the Great Lakes Shipping Company… looks like I missed out on a fantastic restaurant.

Recently, in the Facebook group Vanished Kalamazoo, Connie W. job:

One of the places we miss the most is Great Lakes Shipping Company. The best restaurant in town!!! We are the second couple in the video. A family tradition to work there. It all started with my husband and I in high school in 1979 and our children joined us 35 years later. I really miss the place and especially the people!!

Few places can boast of having been around long enough for several generations of families to have the opportunity to work there. How amazing. The video Connie is referring to can be seen below:

The Great Lakes Shipping Company was known for its prime ribs, unique salad bar and quality comfort food in what seems like a very welcoming environment. In total, the Great Lakes Shipping Company had been in Kalamazoo for 44 years. In fact, the owner, Peter Cotter, was a student who worked at the establishment in 1974 when it opened. He finally bought it in 1988 and closed it in 2018. Read more here.

Going back to Connie W.’s post in Vanished Kalamazoo, it’s clear from the over 200 comments that The Great Lakes Shipping Co. was loved and still missed even now, nearly 4 years later. Comments included:

One of the true family restaurants in Kalamazoo that had everything good with artisanal hospitality, it’s getting rare these days!Bill C

My husband and I had our first date there in 1995 and are still together after 27 years.Beard A.

We dined there on our wedding day in 1975…and we are still together!!Terry T.

Best french dip in the worldJulee B.

Really miss this place! Best salad bar anywhere, cozy room for quiet chats, great service!Edie C.

See? The Great Lakes Shipping Company was doing something right. And I’m feeling some serious FOMO right now (it’s the fear of missing out).

It’s easy to feel a kind of sad nostalgia when it comes to local establishments that no longer exist. Look how many memories have been made in this place alone. And, with the announced closure of Food Dance, many long-time locals may be wondering…where’s the next place we can make our memories?

Who’s to say? However, there is a list of restaurants that Kalamazoo locals apparently want in town right now:

Top 10 Restaurants People Want to Come to Kalamazoo Right Now

I asked our audience which restaurants they would like to see come to Kalamazoo and I was honestly taken aback by some of the responses. More than 300 people gave suggestions… here are the Top 10:

Wait… Marquette, Michigan has a little Thai restaurant? Yes, and with a big following

La Rizière is a Marquette institution. It is the life work of Aoy LaChapelle, local legend and absolute dynamo of a woman.


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