It's funny about places that are gone and a part of history; some places just evoke stronger emotions than others. Such is the case with the Great Lakes Shipping Company, which had about a forty-year run on the west side of Kalamazoo, just west of the Western Michigan University campus, at 4525 West KL Avenue.

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It's the kind of restaurant that doesn't exist much anymore. Oh, sure, there are a few nice places in town - at the Radisson, Millenium Group has got a couple, but for the most part, these types of places are not around because we've changed as a society and how we go out. Most people don't want to dress up, whether it's for work or for dining out. So you end up going to places where jeans and flip-flops are standard customer apparel.

The reason we're talking about this, is a post on Vanished Kalamazoo that got a ton of reaction. It was a photograph of some match boxes from Great Lakes Shipping Co. And remember, a forty or so year run in the restaurant business is a good long run. With that photograph, the nostalgia flowed with many remembering the salad bar (we probably won't be seeing that much in the age of Covid), the desserts and the good times. I remember the Steak Au Poivre and french onion soup. Again, these are menu items from a different era. You generally don't see fancy desserts much anymore, nor French onion soup for that matter. But you also don't see Mountain Jack's, Dimitri's or Charron's on West Lake anymore, either.

The Great Lakes building has been sitting vacant for a few years now. One of the Facebook comments said the building needs some major structural renovation.

Great Lakes Shipping Company Restaurant in 2012. (Google Street View)
Great Lakes Shipping Company Restaurant in 2012. (Google Street View)

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