Best Local Michigan Food: Zombie brunch, farm-to-table fare keeps things fresh at 600 Kitchen & Bar

KALAMAZOO, MI – When Food Dance closed a few months ago, the already busy 600 Kitchen & Bar down the road saw an instant spike in business. Especially when it comes to breakfast and lunch.

“We call them zombie brunch,” said restaurant general manager and executive chef Jason McClellan. “On busy weekends we will have a queue outside the door when we open, and it will go on all day, which is kind of fun. They will start lining up around 9:45 to get in the door when we open at 10.”

McClellan said wait times for brunch routinely reach two hours every Saturday and Sunday.

The farm-to-table restaurant, named after its address at 600 E. Michigan Ave. On the northeast side of downtown Kalamazoo, they don’t accept same-day reservations for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because they want people to have the ability to walk all day and eat. But McClellan said they are accepting reservations in advance, which can help people avoid long wait times.

About 80% of all three 600′s menu (Brunch, Regular, and Cocktail) changes with the season to keep things fresh for patrons. But there are essential items on every list that keep people coming back, too.

“We like to stay on track with what’s happening in the big cities, but we really want to eat food that we can cook every day and never get tired of making it,” McClellan said.

In terms of brunch, there are items to share such as the waffle board, which features six waffles served with chunks of thick bacon and a selection of toppings like nut butter, Nutella, fresh fruit and crème fraiche. There are also the always-popular “Bennies & The Jets” options, the 600 Eggs Benedict options, all named after Elton John’s tunes from Island Girl (crab) to Saturday Night’s Alright (chicken and cheese tenders) to Honky Cat (smoked salmon) and BIB (Pig’s hot belly).

One of the many stars of cooking in the kitchen, Adrianna Bailey hunts about 200 eggs every weekend during lunch. Plus, the restaurant goes through about 60-80 pounds of potatoes every weekend to make brownie potato pancakes, McClellan said.

Also a highlight of the brunch menu is a variety of mimosa options, including cranberry, grapefruit, peach, blood orange, pomegranate, and pineapple, all of which can be served by the cup or half-gallon.

McClellan, who has spent most of the past decade with the Millennium Restaurant Group that owns and operates 600 in Kalamazoo, said they like to keep things light and have fun at 600, while still offering a casual upscale vibe.

“We want people to feel welcome and I feel that’s what we’re doing very well,” he said. “We also want it to be a place where we offer a little bit of everything, where anyone can come a few times a week and get something different. I think that’s one of the unique things about this site. If it doesn’t sell well, we change it. of changes to the menu compared to other Millennium restaurants.”

Staples like black shrimp and grits, grilled salmon, 600 ramen, fly chicken, Michigan steak and black salmon salad can be eaten year-round. Other items like swordfish, BLT lobster, and birria tacos debuted earlier this month and will be available all summer long.

No matter what’s on the list, priority at 600 is where you come from. With the motto of “real food for real people,” the restaurant is proud to work with local vendors such as Carlson Farms, Crisp Country Acres, Sprout It, Renzema’s Bakery, and West Michigan Pasta and Provisions.

During the pandemic, they have taken that commitment a step further, by running a weekly indoor farmers market.

Chef Brad Schaeffer said the market not only provided a space for the aforementioned farmers to meet and sell their produce, but it quickly became the busiest day of the week for eating out at 600 while indoor dining was prohibited.

A commitment to local farmers is one that other millennium restaurants, such as WL Social House, are constantly turning to, as the focus remains on accessible gourmet dishes. He said that appetizers like goat cheese mousse, for example, might look and taste great, but they are simply toast and cheese.

“We really strive to be a great blend of fast, casual and fun food and service,” said Assistant General Manager Mike Ollinger, who runs the front of the house.

600 Kitchen & Bar, which also offers an extensive craft cocktail menu and over two dozen wines by the bottle and by the glass, will celebrate its fifth anniversary in December.

The restaurant offers full service from 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, 11am-11pm on Fridays and 4-10pm on Saturdays. Brunch is served exclusively from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays and from 10am to 3pm. Sundays. The bar runs for hours, until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays.

For more information, visit, follow the restaurant on Facebook or call 269-443-2401.

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