Sometimes it takes a couple of visits to warm up to a place.
That was my experience at Firekeepers Casino, at Exit 104, off the Interstate-94 freeway in Battle Creek, Michigan.
I first visited Firekeepers shortly after it opened in August 2009, and at the time, I wasn’t impressed. While I enjoyed the decor and ‘red lightning’ effects the multi-light ceiling can provide, the games had a boring degree of sameness. And the win factor? Well, let’s just say, I donated generously to Firekeepers debt relief fund during my first few visits.
Now, almost three years later, I’ve been to Firekeepers several more times, and I’ve changed my views. It’s a fun place!
Of the three of us playing slots, two lost and only I broke even, but we had a good time. We also enjoyed the August food special — a half-price lunch buffet, which was about $7.50 each for a generous amount of unlimited food choices.
Firekeepers’ 107,000-square-foot gaming floor has 2,800 slots and video poker games, 70 table games, a bingo room that’s open daily and a 24/7 poker room with 12 tables, which can accommodate up to 120 players. A 242-room resort-style attached hotel is slated to open this fall.
The slots offer the usual penny to dollar betting mix, as well as a private high-limit gambling area and VIP Lounge. And it wasn’t hard to find a machine that offered an engaging back and forth of small wins.
My brother and I enjoyed the Deal/No Deal game and started to rack up some nice wins on a three-reel quarter machine and 5-cent blazing bars slot. Old favorites like Space Invaders and Super Jackpot Party were money syphons, however.
The Mijem Buffet lunch (normally priced at $15.95) has a nice selection of Asian, American and Italian entrees and cut to order meats (turkey and pork loin, the day we visited). The food was tasty, and seemingly well-prepared. I also liked the small, try-it sizes of most of the desserts, but it was disappointing to see plain cheescake and fruit pies offered only in the ‘Sugar Free’ section.
I would almost give the Mijem Buffet high marks, except for two things: its plain-jane decor, and the fact that two of us got sick the next day. Now it’s hard to pinpoint the reason for our digestive malaise, but something amid the mix, which two of us ate, seemed to be the cause.
The decor of the Mijem also is incredibly stark. There’s no artwork on the walls, and no flowers or plants. What greets you are straight lines of booths and tables in a chrome and aqua environment that makes diners look like they’re ‘eating at the trough.’ Add techno music in the background and the facility comes off like a functional — eat, eat, eat, fast! environment, so you’ll feel compelled to get back to gambling. A little more considered atmosphere in the Mijem would go a long way here.
While the casino does not offer any stay and play packages that I’m aware of, it does partner with a variety of local hotels for discounted lodging rates. In additon, the Battle Creek area offers some great golf, ( http://bit.ly/NGM4Cn ), including Gull Lake View Golf Course and Resort and Bedford Valley Golf Club.
At Firekeepers, you get the feeling it’s still a work in progress, which is a good thing — and I think it will only get better!
Owned and operated by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, visit the website at http://www.firekeeperscasino.com for more information, or call 877-FKC-8777.
|Variety of Slots||A-|
|Décor & Comfort||B|
|Stay n’ Play Packages||None currently|