The Palette Café: Yet Another Solid Reason to Visit the FIA

The Flint Institute of Arts is the second largest art museum in Michigan and one of the largest museum art schools in the country. Its collection exceeds 8,000 pieces and dates back 5,000 years. It also screens a variety of films each weekend, starting in September, from the comfort of its 330-seat theater.

The fact that the venue’s in-house cafe makes a mean turkey bacon gouda sandwich? Now that’s just the cherry on top. 

The Palette Café, located next to the museum’s gift shop, is led by Chef Antwain Trimble, who studied at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and previously worked in the kitchens of the Hilton Garden Inn in Ann Arbor and Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit.

“I’ve been to a lot of different places, but Flint is home” says Trimble, who attended Carman Ainsworth High School before moving to Pittsburgh in 2000. “I’m excited to be back.”

Since taking the reigns at the Palette in April, Trimble has been experimenting with different specials each week, paying close attention to what performs well and what doesn’t. He plans to release a new menu by the end of the summer that features customer favorites — based off of both the current menu as well as the weekly specials.

While the new menu has yet to be solidified, there are a few items that Trimble confirms will make the list. These include the Turkey Rachel, the Caprese Sandwich and the Cobb Salad. 

The FIA has also talked about launching open mic nights in the near future. When they do, Trimble plans to have a special bar menu that’s “short and sweet,” with items like chicken wings and homemade caramel corn.

Sweet treats are favorite of Trimble, who highlights different pastries and desserts throughout the week in the cafe’s glass display. “I make a very delicious salted caramel cheesecake that has a pretzel crust,” he says.

According to Trimble, the cafe is busiest on Wednesdays, when the museum hosts Art à la Carte — an free lunchtime program focusing on the arts. The event kicks off at 12:15 p.m., and participants are welcome to bring their lunch or grab something from The Palette. (The next three Art à la Carte events will show the three-part PBS series, The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements, which explores the discovery of the basic building blocks of matter. For details, click here.)

The Palette is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p..m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Members of the FIA receive a 10 percent discount. To place a carry-out order, call 810-249-0593.  

To read the current menu, click here.

Hot Potato: Spectacular Spudz Serves Up Premium Baked Potatoes


There are many ways to prepare a potato, but at Spectacular Spudz, baked is the way to go.

The business, which opened at the Flint Farmers’ Market in October 2015, offers a dozen different topping options, including:

  1. Original Spud (Butter & Sour Cream)
  2. Loaded (Bacon, Cheese, Scallions, Sour Cream) 
  3. Chicken Alfredo (Chicken Alfredo, Parmesan) 
  4. Veggie (Spinach, Mushrooms, Bell Peppers)
  5. Broccoli, Chicken & Cheese 
  6. Original Sweet (Cinnamon Honey Butter) 
  7. Sweet Spud (Pecans, Brown Sugar, Honey Butter) 
  8. Philly Steak & Onion 
  9. Chili Cheese Spud (Turkey) 
  10. Steak & Mushroom 
  11. Super Loaded Spud 
  12. Shrimp Alfredo 

Owner Keysa Smith says she based the concept on the Potato Patch — an eatery once located in Flint’s Windmill Place, at Fifth Avenue and Saginaw Street.

 “I wanted to bring something to Flint that would stir up people’s memories,” Smith says. 

Prices range from $6 to $11. Turkey chili and baked spud soup are also available for $5 each.

Spectacular Spudz is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, click here or call 810-309-7952.

6 Genesee County Restaurants Serving Up Live Music


Looking for a restaurant that has live music on the menu? Check out these Genesee County gems, which regularly host different musicians throughout the week.

Beale Street Smokehouse BBQ (2461 North Road, Fenton)
Listen to live blues music from 7-10 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. 810-750-0507

Brickstreet of Grand Blanc (1223 E. Grand Blanc Road, Grand Blanc)
Relax with Russell Wayne’s live lounge entertainment every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Bob Adado takes the mic at 7 p.m. on Saturday. 810-603-2114

Cranberries Café (10250 Hegel Road, Goodrich)
Check out Live Music Thursdays, which run from 7-10 p.m. in this circa 1917 building. 810-636-3409

The Fenton Hotel Tavern & Grille (302 N. Leroy Street, Fenton)
Live piano bar entertainment begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 810-750-9463

The Rough Draught Coffee & Barroom (134 N. Leroy Street, Fenton)
Local artists play acoustic tunes every Saturday. 810-714-3005

Sherman’s Lounge (4211 Fenton Road, Flint)
Enjoy live, local bands on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. 810-233-7057

What else is going on in Flint & Genesee? Click here to find out. 

3 Things to Know about the Newly Renovated Flint Crepe Co.


After four weeks under renovation, Flint Crepe Co. reopened its doors last Saturday with an updated look and feel. Here’s what restaurant patrons can expect:

  1. Better seating. The kitchen and register are now located at the back-left corner of the restaurant, with tables and chairs arranged together at the front of the building. The new layout feels more open and is more accessible for larger parties.
  2. A more customer-focused experience. In fact, the employee taking orders now stands next to the customer rather than behind the counter.
  3. A more creative menu, which is set to roll out within the next month. The eatery is currently offering an abbreviated crepe selection as it waits to install some key pieces of kitchen equipment. However, Managing Partner Robb Klaty says some interesting changes are coming down the pipeline. “But whatever we do, we’re going to keep it local and seasonal,” he adds.

While several things have changed, plenty has stayed the same. The crepe restaurant is still partnering with Flint-based Heyday Coffee Roasters and donating all tips earned on Tuesday to a different local charity.

For more information about Flint Crepe Co., at 555 S. Saginaw St., Flint, call 810-336-3306 or visit

The Most Popular Paczki Flavor in Genesee County


Fat Tuesday is just two days away, and based on a nonscientific survey of local bakeries, it looks like the people of Flint and Genesee County will be celebrating with paczki of all flavors — especially the cream-filled variety.

“We’ve gotten a lot of orders for the Bavarian cream this year,” says Kathy Jablonski, a clerk at Jablonski’s Baker’s Corner, at 5518 E. Atherton Road in Burton. She likens the the filling to a “smooth pudding – sort of like custard.”

She adds that bakery – which is gearing up for a busy Tuesday and Wednesday – also expects to fill quite a few orders for the traditional prune-filled paczki. While pre-orders are encouraged (810-742-4330), the establishment will also accept walk-ins.

Other local bakeries serving up the popular Polish doughnut this week include:

  • Donna’s Donuts (1135 W. Bristol Road, Flint): Most popular flavors include custard, cream and strawberry. To place an order, call 810-233-5618. Open 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • King Arthur’s Pasties and Bakery (1261 N. Ballenger Hwy, Flint Township, and 2259 E. Hill Road, Grand Blanc Township): According to the Grand Blanc location, custard and Holland cream are the most in-demand flavors. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
  • Crust – a baking company (104 W. Caroline, Fenton): As of Friday, the bakery had sold out of its lemon, cream and apricot flavors. By Sunday, it also ran out of its prune and rosehip jelly offerings. To confirm if any raspberry or strawberry-filled paczki are still available for Tuesday pick-up, call 810-629-8882. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Sunday.

Who makes your favorite paczki in Flint and Genesee?

3 Offbeat Breakfast Dishes in Flint & Genesee


What better way to kick off a lazy Sunday morning than with a delicious, warm breakfast that causes passersby to stop and say, “Ohhh, what’s that?” For those of you looking for something that goes beyond your standard scrambled eggs and toast, here are a few of Genesee County’s less traditional options.

If you normally get a breakfast sandwich, try the…

If you love steak and eggs, ask for the…

  • Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict at Capitol Coney (4021 Van Slyke Road, Flint). It’s exactly what it sounds like: homemade biscuits topped with pulled pork and a poached egg, topped with homemade hollandaise sauce. Served with your choice of potato. Breakfast available 24 hours, seven days a week. 

If you always order the veggie omelette, you’ll love the…

  • Hungry Hippie at The Laundry (125 W. Shiawassee, Fenton). A cast iron skillet is loaded with polenta, roasted zucchini, yellow squash, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese. Oven-baked and topped with two over-easy eggs and Spanish romesco sauce. Breakfast served until noon. 

What are your favorite breakfast joints in Flint and Genesee, and what do you order while you’re there?

4 Coffee Shops Within Walking Distance of UM-Flint Ice Rink

Café Rhema in downtown Flint

Café Rhema in downtown Flint

For those of you looking to warm up after skating around downtown Flint’s recently re-opened ice rink, check out these four cozy coffee shops and cafes — all within walking distance* of the University Pavilion. 

A 3-MINUTE WALK: Café Rhema, 432 S. Saginaw St., Flint

With baristas dressed in 1920s-inspired attire and décor to match, Café Rhema (pictured) offers a blast to the past with historic photos displayed against exposed-brick walls. Beyond the traditional Americanos, lattes and drip coffees, guests can opt for one of the 16-ounce “VIP Espresso Drinks,” which have memorable names such as Swift Kick to the Head and The Cat Came Back.

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

A 5-MINUTE WALK: Flint Crepe Company, 555 S. Saginaw St., Flint

This eatery may be best known for serving up freshly made crepes, but the staff at the Flint Crepe Company sure know how to make a mean coffee. In addition to a traditional Italian-style menu and loose-leaf tea selection, the venue also offers up a variety of specialty drinks — salted caramel lattes, homemade egg nog, etc. — made with syrups and flavorings crafted in-house.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

A 9-MINUTE WALK: The Good Beans Cafe, 328 N. Grand Traverse St., Flint 

Established in 2000, this coffee shop features an old-school bar, fully stocked with teas, flavored syrups and key ingredients for your favorite coffee drinks. Most beverages can be made as decaf, and patrons can save 15 cents if they bring in their own cup.

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

A 9-MINUTE WALK: Hot Cups/Wanna Spoon, 300 E. 1st St., Flint

Located in the bustling Flint Farmers’ Market, Hot Cups/Wanna Spoon is known for its friendly and personable ownership. The small business, which also sells gelato, offers an an all-organic menu of lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and specialty coffee and tea beverages. In recognition of National Tea Month 2016, Hot Cups will feature different specialty teas at a reduced price throughout the month of January. 

Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

*Walking times based on estimates provided by