Meet Jake Cagle, feature writer for The Awesome Mitten.
1.) Where have you lived in the Mitten? Where’s your favorite? Why?
I was born in Adrian, MI and lived in the same house until I left for college. I attended Grand Valley State University, which meant I moved to the dorms in Allendale. Since then, I’ve never moved away from the Grand Rapids area. I currently live in the East Hills neighborhood of GR. I’d have to say that it’s my favorite place I’ve lived. My rent is outlandishly cheap, and I’m within walking distance to just about everything I could possibly want.
2.) Favorite Michigan beer/wine:
To me, craft beer is a bit like a Tamagotchi: I really want it, like it a lot for a relatively short period of time, then discard it, never to drink it—or feed it—again.
That being said, there are a few “safe” choices I go back to time and time again. Bell’s Oberon is an easy go-to in the summer. I like stouts in the winter, so Founders‘ Oatmeal Stout, New Holland’s The Poet, and Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout are pretty good. I just tried Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company’s Train Wreck for the first time in a year or two and I had forgotten how good it is.
On a liquor note, New Holland’s Knickerbocker Gin is the best gin in the world.
No trip back home to Adrian is complete without a trip to The Spotted Cow. It’s an ice cream place that serves large portions for a low price, and being an ice cream lover and an avid fan of saving money, I regularly make trips to one of their two locations.
I don’t have just one favorite place to eat in Grand Rapids, so it’s fun category time!
Favorite Burger: Choo Choo Grill
Favorite Pizza: Vito’s
Favorite Sandwich: Tough, but I’ll have to say Boardwalk Subs, with Cherry Deli coming in a close second.
Favorite Hot Dog: Really? It’s Yesterdog. No one is allowed to answer anything different.
Favorite Place I’m A Regular: Johnny B’z. Even though they don’t get counted as my “favorite” burger or hot dog, the food is stupidly good, the employees are great (and usually remember my order), and it’s open late on Fridays and Saturdays in case you stumble home from the bar and need something to soak up all the beer.
4.) Favorite place to drink in each city you’re lived?
I have gone out drinking in Adrian exactly once, so I’m going to have to go with “someone else’s house.”
5.) What Michigan bands are you listening to these days/or what’s the last great Michigan band you saw live?
6.) What’s your favorite story you’ve written for the Awesome Mitten (favorite place, event, whatever)
I could say I love each story equally, and they’re all a little part of me, but that’s a lie. Nothing really matches the excitement I had when my first story I wrote, the one about ArtPrize, ran. I did that one without really being asked; I just approached Alex and said, “hey I wrote this, can you use it?” The Best Local Record Stores article was a ton of fun, since I got to travel across the state and buy vinyl in the name of journalism. The Green Dot Stables is a mix of my other two favorite articles. I had just traveled to Detroit for a guest blog post for Visit Detroit and I had a really great time at Green Dot. I knew I wouldn’t be able to write all I wanted to for the blog post because I had a relatively short word count, so I threw together an article and it turned out really well.
8.) Where is one place in Michigan that you’ve never been, but would like to go?
I was really lucky as a child to have parents who made a concentrated effort to make sure my sister and I were well traveled. This meant taking at least one vacation to a different Michigan city every summer. Because of that, I’ve been pretty much everywhere in the Mitten. One place I’ve never been but would really like to go is the Motown Museum in Detroit.
9.) Advice to people who have recently moved to Michigan?
Buy a scarf. Learn to love craft beer. Probably in that order.