Kinde Michigan – Our Beantown
Many want to keep this place a secret. It’s a slice of a true American farming community in the Thumb of Michigan. The village was founded in the 1880’s during the regions transition from lumbering to agriculture by John Kinde. A lumber yard, general store, grain elevator and post office were established followed by a train station in 1882 by the Port Huron and Northwestern Railroad, (PH & NW).
Kinde was once renowned as the “Bean Capital of the World“. Michigan white navy bean soup has been a staple for over one hundred years in the U.S. Senate dining room in the form of Senate bean soup. (Find the recipe in our post of Unique Michigan Foods You Have to Try) While beans are still a huge agricultural focus in the Thumb the mighty sugar beet has nudged the venerable white bean from first place.
Each year the heritage of the area rises with the Kinde Polka Fest that is held each September. Polka groups from all over Michigan and the Midwest converge on the village for the entire weekend of music and fun. A 5k run is held on Saturday with a Breakfast held on Sunday. Proceeds from the event go toward schorships for local students, school projects and the FFA.
Kinde offers a wonderful respite from the beach, the crowds in Port Austin or craziness of Caseville during Cheeseburger. In the center of town there is a giant water slide and miniature golf. The Wiley’s Water Slide is a cool option on a hot summer day. If getting all wet doesn’t interest you, there is an ice cream store too.
If your more into the inside sports nearby on M-53 there is the time honored institution of Biff’s Bowling Bar. Built in 1947 the bowling alley has been owned by the same family for three generations. Al and Kimberly Yageman brought out Al’s dad in 2003 and haven’t looked back. The bowling alley has been highly rated online by both Yelp and Foursquare and has been noted for a great family atmosphere. They have a full kitchen and some of the coldest beer around.
Most of the year-around folks in the Thumb consider The Pasta House a must visit. While everyone raves about their pizza this author tends to go for their signature dishes of homemade ravioli and chicken Marcela. With banquet facilities next door, the Pasta House also draws special events, weddings and large parties.
Finally it you want a joint that is out of the ordinary head west of town to Heck’s Bar. This place is in what was once a thriving crossroads village of Pinnebog but today the Heck’s is the sole survivor. They offer one of the largest selections of craft beers in the area. They are known for their Friday fish fry and the famous Heckle burger. The décor is a bit dated but they are working on it. The service is fast and conversation is pleasant as it’s never overly loud. It is somewhat kid friendly with families surrounding large tables with grand kids in tow. So before you leave Kinde, come to the center of the Universe at Heck’s Bar.
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