Savor the diverse flavors along the lakeshore
By Kelsey Smith
Our lakeshore communities are brimming with a variety of cultures and delicious cuisine. From juicy, authentic street tacos to spicy curries, our region has it all.
Bring your appetite and check out these six eateries this fall season!
Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine
Tacitus Bailey-Yabani had one dream — to connect people and cultures through food and spark conversation, and he’s done exactly that. As owner of Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine, Bailey-Yabani serves up authentic West African dishes in his Fyah food truck located in downtown Muskegon.
The food truck has a strong following and serves only the freshest ingredients, bringing the tastes of Ghana right to West Michigan. As for the menu itself, the food is inspired by Bailey-Yabani’s grandmother, who taught him how to cook when he was growing up in Ghana. You can find dishes filled with plantains, yams, maize, rice, cassava, avocado and fish, and many menu items are vegetarian-friendly.
Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine is the only African food in Muskegon, and the only Ghanaian restaurant in West Michigan. You can find Bailey-Yabani and the Fyah food truck this fall on Western Avenue, adjacent to Pigeon Hill Brewing Company. For updated information on hours and menus, visit Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine’s Facebook page.
Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine
Western Avenue (adjacent to Pigeon Hill Brewing Company), Muskegon
Kuntry Cookin’ serves up just a little bit of everything. Destinee Keener-Sargent, co-owner and chef, describes the menu as “New American,” but she puts her little spin on it.
“I like to cook all different kinds of food,” she said. “Our Scrib’s egg rolls are super popular, and those are based off of the deluxe pizza at Mr. Scrib’s.”
Kuntry Cookin’s tacos are also popular, offering up vegan and vegetarian options. The vegan tacos include a mixture of sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro, salsa, mushrooms and brown rice, and can be made vegetarian by adding cheese.
Special taco features in the past have included tempura-fried shrimp with mango salsa and blackened salmon.
Kuntry Cookin’, owned and operated by Keener-Sargent and her husband, Kemmie Sargent, started out as a small catering business and operated the kitchen at Racquets Downtown Grill in downtown Muskegon from spring of 2019 until August this year. The Racquets building was recently sold, and Kuntry Cookin’ is in the process of finding a new permanent space.
Keener-Sargent said the business is still holding pop-up events and is continuing its catering while she and her husband find a new space for the restaurant.
“The Muskegon community has just been amazing, everyone has given us so much support while we try to find a new spot,” she said. “We’re hoping we can still stay in the downtown area.”
Visit Kuntry Cookin’s Facebook page for more information on its catering, pop-up events and new restaurant location.
A longtime Holland favorite, China Inn has been serving traditional Chinese cuisine since 1989.
“We’ve been this small, family business for just over 30 years now,” said Jane Chiang, owner. “I just want to say thank you to the Holland community for supporting us all this time, especially during the pandemic.”
When it comes to China Inn’s menu, the Mongolian Beef and Sweet & Sour Chicken dishes are by far some of the most popular items on the menu, Chiang said. And, of course, you can’t forget the crabmeat rangoons and hot and sour soup.
“People really love the crabmeat rangoon appetizer,” Chiang said. “Mostly everyone orders it.”
China Inn is open for both dine-in and takeout and is known for its inexpensive daily lunch specials.
2863 W. Shore Drive, Holland
Mi Favorita Grocery
Mi Favorita offers an authentic taste of Mexico right in the heart of Holland. On the corner of 16th Street and Columbia Avenue, Mi Favorita is a local, family-owned and -operated grocery store, deli and kitchen that serves some of the best tacos in town.
Husband-and-wife duo Mario and Irene Navarrete opened the store in 1996, and it has provided a sense of home for the Latino community in Holland. Family-oriented, the couple has hired mostly family and others of similar culture to help run the store, including their daughter and assistant manager, Jackie Navarrete.
“We work really hard to make sure 100% quality and goodness is always coming out of here,” Jackie Navarrete said. “Everything is homemade by our family recipes that have been passed down. Our pico de gallo and guacamole are really huge. When it comes to the kitchen, we sell a lot of burritos, tacos, tortas — our breakfast burritos fly.
“On the weekends, we’ve got tamales, slow-cooked pork, menudo, things like that,” she said. “And people even come in just for regular groceries.”
You can also purchase a variety of meats from the store’s deli, including taco meat (which is the same used in the store’s tacos), fajita chicken and more.
Mi Favorita Grocery
408 Columbia Ave., Holland
At Daddio’s, everyone is family. Owned and operated by Rochelle Holmes, Daddio’s specializes in homemade comfort food, and each and every bite is made with love.
“Daddio’s is a home away from home,” Holmes said. “I put a lot of heart into what I cook, I don’t just throw it together. The Lord told me to fix you a plate, so my job is to serve, and I’m here.”
Opened on the south side of Holland in 2008, Daddio’s began as a carryout restaurant, but it now has an indoor, sit-down restaurant next door to its original location. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, Holmes is offering takeout only, operating out of her original carryout location.
“I’m just amazed that we are still here,” Holmes said. “But, God opened me for times such as these. You don’t know who you’re serving, so you serve from the heart.”
All of the food is made from Holmes’ own recipes that have been influenced by her family and evolved over time.
“Our stuff is all made from scratch, and that’s the difference,” she said. “Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi — all of the women from there have their handprints on me. That’s where the family came from.”
The menu rotates daily based on availability, but you can typically order smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, green beans, macaroni and cheese, rice and mashed potatoes throughout the week.
Holmes updates her menu each day on the Daddio’s Facebook page, and operates Tuesday–Saturday from 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. (or until she sells out).
“Everything I prepare, I sell out of,” Holmes said. “It could be corn, carrots, whatever it may be, I sell out. I don’t cook like everyone else, though, I give it flavor.”
567 College Ave., Holland
If you swing by Thai Avenue in Zeeland, you’ll get a true taste of the flavors of Thailand. Owned and operated by the Khammanivong family, Thai Avenue has been in business since 2014. Husband-and-wife team Brian Khammanivong and Phou Somsanith own the restaurant, and their daughter, Anny Khammanivong, manages it.
“Our popular dishes that we serve every day are the Pad Thai, Pad Pak — which is like a stir fry — and our curries,” Anny Khammanivong said. “Our yellow curry is definitely a big-seller,” she said. “We use all authentic, homemade recipes, and everything is fresh. We use all of my stepmom’s recipes.”
And don’t forget about the sides — the crab rangoons and pork egg rolls are just as popular as the entrees.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant is operating as takeout-only until next year.
“Ever since the pandemic began, our sales have actually been the same since removing our dine-in,” Anny Khammanivong said. “Without the whole community and their support, we wouldn’t have made it.”
8516 Homestead Drive, Zeeland