Nearly 200 students and faculty responded to a Collegian survey about local favorites. Categories and choices on the survey were determined by the Collegian editorial board, but allowed write-in opinions. These highlighted businesses won by the majority of the votes in their category, as determined by campus’ favorites.
Best Burger: Hunt Club
By Calli Townsend
Hillsdale students have decided: The Hunt Club is the place to go for a great burger.
The Hunt Club received 44 percent of the vote. Lane 17 at Hillside Lanes and Here’s to You Pub & Grub received second and third place respectively.
Freshman Carmen Botha said The Hunt Club’s Texas burger is her favorite.
“It’s bigger than most burgers and very juicy,” she said. “The bun is very good. It’s soft with a crunchy toasted side. They also use thicker slices of bacon, which is good.”
Sophomore Kolton Rominski is another Hunt Club burger fan. His said his favorite is the mac ‘n’ cheese burger.
“Who doesn’t like mac ‘n’ cheese? Then you put it on a burger, and it’s cooked to order, which I like,” Rominski said. “It’s very different and unique. Not many places have it. They have ten to 15 types of burgers.”
The Hunt Club’s Head Chef, Dan Stevens, said he was honored to be chosen.
“It’s an honor. It’s nice to be voted number one burger in town,” Stevens said. “The mustang melts are probably the most popular. If I had to make a choice, I’d say the cowboy burgers are my favorite.”
Best Ice Cream: Udder Side
By Madeline Fry
For flavors from chocolate almond to coconutty, Hillsdale students call The Udder Side their favorite sweet spot.
More than 80 percent of students chose The Udder Side as Hillsdale County’s best ice cream spot in a poll sent out by the Collegian last week.
Of 186 students who responded, 17 chose Coney’s and Swirls, 8 picked Handmade, and one selected Finish Line Family Restaurant. Five students who responded “other” named Vanity Ice Cream, Johnny T’s gelato, McDonald’s, and A.J.’s Café.
When Jessica Hurley ’17 was a student at Hillsdale, she went to The Udder Side ten times during one finals week, she said.
Senior Alexa Tipton, whose dedication to frozen treats shows in her Facebook album “The Udder Side of Me,” said she and Jada Bissett ’17 came for ice cream and great service.
“I love their mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s the best I’ve ever had,” Tipton said. “Also, for sorority open houses Jada and I went to Udder Side to buy waffle cones for one of Kappa’s hors d’oeuvres, and the owner was so nice that he gave us an entire box of them for free. I love their customer service and choose Udder Side over any other ice cream store in the Hillsdale and Jonesville area.”
Best Bar: Here’s to You Pub and Grub
By Jo Kroeker
For my friend Lydia’s birthday, our mutual friend Morgan treated us to Here’s to You Pub & Grub, known to all as P&G. Past the smokers outside, through the fogged-up glass door, owner Kevin Conant scrutinizes your ID himself before you order or sit.
The woman who busses our table, wiping the water rings away, is a mom. She apologizes for clearing while we’re there but she takes pride in keeping the tables clean. We thanked her and she said she gets practice cleaning at home.
Construction workers building the chapel are seated by us. Eventually, we all got to talking. The foreman is there with a contractor, a worker, and an intern. The worker is getting a degree from Bowling Green and the intern took a travel gap year, going to Japan, Iceland, and Europe, so we talked about that — all of us having now moved onto their pitcher of beer, which keeps filling itself.
The bartender knows how to hold her own. She banters with everyone, unleashing a few barbed jokes reserved for the men who almost don’t know what they’re saying. She is tough, untiring, glorious.
We’re all friends here.
Best Date Spot: Olivia’s Chop House
By Allison Schuster
Olivia’s Chop House is located in Jonesville, a 10-minute drive from campus, and boasts a fine dining experience, prime for any romantic evening.
It is no wonder, then, that Olivia’s received 34 percent of Hillsdale College’s vote for best date spot. In second was Rosalie’s Roadhouse, and Johnny T’s Bistro was third.
You and your date can enjoy intimate low lighting and a wide array of seating. Spacious booths or tables located an adequate distance away from each other ensure total privacy. Both lunch and dinner menus feature quality dishes with higher prices than most Hillsdale or Jonesville eateries, but still won’t break the bank.
One fan favorite and something unique to Olivia’s is their flavored butter served with bread, with changing flavors each day. A Friday or Saturday night date at Olivia’s is guaranteed to delight. Olivia’s closes at 10 p.m., so be sure to take your date out early.
Best Coffee: Rough Draft
By Regan Meyer
Caffeine by way of coffee, courses through the veins of nearly every college student. While the typical student survives on Wal-Mart k‑cups, it can be therapeutic to enjoy an artisan cup of joe topped with some gorgeous latte art. Hillsdalians find that beautiful brew in various spots around town but not one can hold a candle to Rough Draft.
Rough Draft came in first with 95 votes with the closest competition, Checker Records, coming in second with 52 total tallies. Students cited both coffee quality and drink uniqueness as favorite aspects of Rough Draft.
“I appreciate the uniqueness flavors of the lattes and the sweetness,” said sophomore Maria Forsythe. “They usually tailor the level of sweetness to you. Their lattes are just high quality.”
Rough Draft not only serves up great coffee but also a warm and welcoming atmosphere said freshman Sophie Reynolds.
“Rough Draft has a really nice atmosphere,” Reynolds said. “It’s a nice, relaxing place to study. I really like that they serve coffee in actual mug, so they reduce waste from the cups and plastic lids which is important for the environment.”
Best Sandwich: Handmade
By Hannah Niemeier
It took four years for my family to visit me on Parents Weekend. When they did this past fall, descending on Hillsdale all cornfed and thriving from a Nebraska town swept up in the Midwestern health craze, I thought they would probably like some lunch when they arrived. Where? Of course: Handmade.
I claimed Handmade the best spot for sandwiches. Owner Derek Spiteri and his dreams of a sandwich shop with additions like cold coffee brewed like beer and beer flavored with coffee (someday), was the perfect stop for my family
Ask Spiteri sometime about his search for the perfect ice cream. He tasted vanillas across Wisconsin for it. Ask him about how he crafts his seasonal menu. His catering adventures are full of light and foodie wisdom.
I told my family these stories; they wolfed their sandwiches. My mom liked the spicy mayonnaise; my dad praised the shortbread. We sat outside at two cafe tables and enjoyed a golden afternoon: we were warm, full-bellied, blessed, surrounded by family with a wild weekend awaiting.
I asked my sister if she would eat at Handmade if she lived here: “Better than Subway,” she said.
An understatement. This spring, as the weather gets warmer and we think again about refueling with friends and family instead of our computer screens, let Spiteri treat you like a regular. There are plenty of choices, but he dedicates his days to getting them right. And that’s a part of Hillsdale worth remembering. One of the Best.
Best Brunch: The Palace
By Crystal Schupbach
The students of Hillsdale provided the Palace Cafe with its true title this year: an upgrade from Best Breakfast of 2017, the Palace is the Best Brunch of 2018. It’s 11 am. Your friend wants a sandwich, you still want some sausage links and eggs over easy. Why not have both? You can even cheaply satisfy your sweet tooth with a $3.95 cinnamon roll pancake that is the size of a $5 Hot n’ Ready pizza. The murals on the wall never let the conversations die, leading to questions “is that an angel flying over a duck…? And a…frat house?”. And if you need some advice concerning the gossip circulating our small town from last night, look no further than the sign on the wall that reads, “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”
Best Entertainment: Hillsdale Premiere Theatre
By Aaron Andrews
With six screens showing the latest and greatest blockbusters and a concession counter selling all the candy and coke that a student’s shallow pocket can muster, this theater is all that you can hope for from small town entertainment.
“I like the movie theater here because it’s more community driven,” junior Adam Cieply said. “It has that small town theater feel. With its limited number of theaters, whenever big blockbuster movies come out — like any of the Marvel or Star Wars movies — it’s always packed. It’s a ton of fun. It feels like people are engaging with something. It feels better than a big AMC with 14 – 15 screens.”
If you don’t like crowds, however, you can always show up on a weeknight. I went to a showing of Black Panther with my fiancé last Monday, and we had the whole theater to ourselves.
At $7.75 per adult, the tickets are relatively cheap. “It’s a good two or three dollars cheaper than the theater back home,” junior Henry Listenberger said.
The seats are roomy. “I love how there’s so much space between the seats,” senior Jess Degree said. “You usually only find comfy seats like that in a specialty theater.”
Whether for the love of small town cinema or the lack of any other discrete modes of public entertainment, Hillsdale Premiere Theater reigns supreme.