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Back in the summer of 2012, I spent a lot of time in front of my laptop doing nothing but writing. Such is the nature of a research project. I was, after all, finishing my MBA program. It was a great temptation never to go outside. As a single male living by myself in an apartment, there are certain freedoms in that environment that do not generally exist outside of it. Mainly the ability to go sans pants. I have my desktop hooked up to my big flat screen TV, so this gave me the opportunity to waste all kinds of time on Netflix. For me, having another media source available makes it easier to do anything relating to homework or writing. It’s like the distraction helps recharge my brain. I don’t know, maybe I’m ADD or something. Despite the perquisites of being able to stay in one’s own apartment for hours on end, it does have its down side. I can best define it as being a kind of undead existence. So, naturally, I’d do things like go outside and ride my bike for about 15 miles. That helped with the whole never getting outside thing, but it did nothing for the writing I really needed to get done.

One place I would go to is a joint called Bar Louie. It’s a part of the Woodland mall in Grand Rapids, MI. It’s my favorite bar to go to during the summer because I can drink beer outside. The buzz of a good beer helped my writing a bit. The food was alright for what you can find at a typical bar. However, that is fairly far away down 28th street from where I live. Not that I don’t go that way ever, I certainly do, but I’ve come to appreciate all the Wyoming, MI community has to offer. So, instead of driving farther and having beer perhaps too often, I mostly stayed local. Thus began my relationship with Tim Hortons.

I am absolutely amazed at how Tim Hortons has all of a sudden spread like wildfire throughout the U.S., or at least my little section of it. A place like Michigan is a natural place to expand, given that the company is Canadian and Michigan is located conveniently adjacent to some of its more populated regions. The one that I went to, and that I am actually sitting in at this very moment (and in the same spot I wrote most of my research project, I might add) is one of those super awesome ones that has a Cold Stone Creamery attached. That’s a pretty dangerous combo, I know, especially for one’s waistline. It wasn’t long before the staff started recognizing me. It became like a second home. These days, I get surprised when someone doesn’t know who I am. The only other business I have that kind of relationship with is Old Chicago on 28th Street and Beltline Ave.

How would I describe the business itself? I would say it’s somewhere between a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Panera Bread, but leaning more towards Dunkin’ Donuts. Their pastries decent. They are on par with some of the pastries you would find at a Panera Bread, but I’d give the edge to Panera on that (Panera has a much wider selection, for one, and they also have more resources devoted to that specific part of their business). Tim Horton’s donuts are OK. I’ve been spoiled by having spent so much time in Kalamazoo. Any chain simply cannot compete with the superb quality of the donuts you’ll find at Sweetwater Donut Mill. Tim Horton’s donuts will compete, at least in my opinion, with the likes of Krispy Kreme. Dunkin’ Donuts comes out on top, as I’ve tended to like their style a bit better. Overall, it’s worth what you get at Tim Horton’s donut wise. I must admit an addiction to their apple fritters. I’ve cut back on them…it kind of became necessary. I haven’t had much in the way off their regular food menu, so I cannot comment on that to any great extent. Their chicken panini has everything I like in a panini, and as much as I love chicken (and everything else that’s gone into making that bit of deliciousness) I’ve never bothered to expand out from it. I can get set in my ways when it comes to food.

For me, what Tim Hortons comes down to is its coffee. I don’t think I am knowledgable enough about coffee in general to consider myself a snob on those lines, but quality coffee is of significant importance to me. If I want high quality I’ll go to Madcap Coffee in downtown Grand Rapids or to The Sparrows in uptown Grand Rapids ($4 refills all day at that place, I might add). I’ve come along way from my Army days and the crap they brew. They got me hooked but I’ve switched dealers, as it were. If I am going to be super duper picky, no, Tim Hortons is not the best coffee I have ever had. However, for only a couple of bucks I can get a ginormous cup of it (iced, normally). That might not be a selling point if their coffee was terrible, but it isn’t. It’s very smooth. I drink my coffee black (at least 99% of the time). When drank black, I don’t get any sense of bitterness from it at all. I could chug the stuff if I really wanted to. I enjoy the flavor, it goes down well, and it’s cheap for the large amount you can get. That’s really what it comes down to for me…for what you get, everything is reasonably priced. Of course you could get better, but at some places you could pay a lot more. They also have the kind of selection brought together that a bloke like me can appreciate. Of course, their is the traditional free wi-fi service as well.

I really like it here, and so far as I know the corporation has done nothing that pisses me off. I give Tim Hortons my Coffee Addict seal of approval, four out of four stars.

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