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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
JOE'S GIZZARD CITY
My wife's mother lives in Indianapolis and we visit frequently. Since we are always hauling stuff down there from Detroit and hauling stuff back, it's more convenient to make the trip by car.
For years we passed a small, handmade sign just south of Lansing on I-69 in Potterville. It encouraged people to eat at Joe's Gizzard City. So one day we did!
I can't actually tell you what a gizzard is but it comes from the chicken and is generally thrown out. I had relatives on a farm in French Lick, Indiana who fried them and ate them and I remember eating a few as a kid. My memory of them were large, very chewy bits of "meat."
Joe's Gizzard City is very proud that it was featured on the Food Network TV Show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri.
The restaurant really is a dive and is located in a very old building. The decor is interesting. Being an airline buff I got a kick out of a U.S. Air logo on one wall. It had obviously been taken from an airport terminal somewhere.
There were probably 4 or 5 tables occupied but the service was terribly, terribly slow. When the server finally came around we had read the menu several times. Not knowing what gizzards would actually taste like, nobody wanted to order them as a main course. So instead we ordered a small appetizer order. That small appetizer order was pretty big.
So what were the gizzards like? Well sorry to say but not very good. They were battered, more or less, in a beer batter type breading. They absolutely exuded grease, especially when they started to cool off even slightly. There wasn't much gizzard inside, it was mainly batter. The taste, to me, was just slightly "off" and "dirty" tasting. I'm sure that's the nature of a gizzard but certainly not my cup of tea. I was surprised at how the size of the gizzard nuggets varied, too. Some were about the size of a large bubble gum ball. Others were the size of a large rasin.
For our main meals I ordered the fish sandwich. My wife ordered a batter fried hamburger. Yeah, I know! Our daughter went with a burger and she only ate the meat because she is on Atkins and has lost a ton of weight. I can't remember what the grand kids ordered other than one of them. He ordered mac and cheese and said it was so bad he couldn't eat it. When the waitress saw that he hadn't touched it she asked if he didn't like it and offered to bring him something else at no charge. It was kind of like she knew the mac and cheese sucked!
My fried fish sandwich came with that same thick, greasy batter. It had two gi-normous, colossal filets of cod. I had to eat one and a half filet with a fork before I could even attempt to make it into a sandwich. It was way too greasy. Needless to say my wife's batter fried burger was a greasy mess. My daughter is the only one who didn't get a ton of food. Her burger patty was fairly small.
While I'm glad we experienced gizzards and this restaurant, it's definitely not worth a second stop. If you're a big fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, then this might be real fun for you. They've got snapshots of Guy at the restaurant, etc. Also, if you love gizzards I'd suggest that you drop by and sample some here.
Joe's Gizzard City is located just off of I-69 south of Lansing in Potterville, Michigan. When you exit I-69 a sign points you in the right direction but it's not on the main road. So punch it into your GPS or check the website for directions before you make your assault on this joint.