Sunday, March 18, 2012

On the M-37, 37 miles to Battle Creek, the Swamp Fox commands views of Thornapple River marshes. Middleville MI.

The counter bar is horseshoe shaped and custom constructed of plywood and rough sawn oak. A birthday girl is here with her Harley riding entourage and she is glad the establishment has scored fresh, firm, crunchy celery for the Sunday Bloody Mary Bar. The establishment reportedly had foxes as pets, but their bold eyes creeped out the bartending beauties. So the Swamp Fox once had Foxes in Boxes.

This is a friendly place, with eight customers debriefing their St. Patrick's Day statistics, counts of shots, Buds and bombs. I am a little astounded at these feats of cocktailing courage. One fellow invites all of his mates to a barbecue since his buddy has presented him a corned quarter of venison. Did I hear that right: a corned quarter of venison? The bartending beauties are treated with biker courtesy, "Shelley, when you have a moment, could you ..." A smoke break clears out all the positions around the wooden horseshoe. The patio, where a covered cigarette shack stands, is receiving a good hosing and scrub down. Yes, the Swamp Fox of Middleville is a biker bar, and the interior is brightly lit by a bank of windows and everything looks clean and salubrious.

Middleville can make a case for being a destination restaurant town on the main Michigan highway from Grand Rapids to Battle Creek, Hastings on the way. Awaiting travelers in downtown, an Italian Restaurant, Champs Bar and Grill and Dill's German American Essen Haus.

Here's a rule of thumb when telling your tales to the bartending beauties: "Don't Lie to a Mom!"

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