Bill Knapp's wasn't just another restaurant for Michigan; it was the family gathering spot where we indulged in our favorite comfort reasonable prices. Their menu included steak, chops, seafood, and...the cake. All of them were born in 1948 at Southwest Capital near Columbia in Battle Creek.

Related: Gone But Not Forgotten Michigan Born Businesses: Borders Books

Clinton "Bill" Knapp, having spent years working in Battle Creek bakeries, decided to make a go of it on his own. He gathered some investors and opened the first Bill Knapp's location. At its peak, the restaurant boasted more than 60 locations, most of which were located in Michigan and around the Midwest. Florida was lucky enough to get a few locations, too.

Bill Knapp's Made Birthdays an Event for Michiganders

Remembering Bill Knapp's: Michigan's Chocolate on Chocolate Cake
Chris Valentine via YouTube / Canva

Michigan families bonded at Bill Knapp's, talking and dining on ham croquettes, potatoes au gratin, bean soup, and golden brown melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. Bill Knapps even dared to have a lobster tail on their menu (it paired nicely with their legendary fried chicken). The real draw was the chocolate-on-chocolate celebration cake.

The Game 730 WVFN-AM logo
Get our free mobile app

Birthdays were official with a cake from Bill Knapp's, and if you ate there on your birthday, you got a percent off for every year you were old. This means your meal would be free if you were there on your 100th birthday, and they'd owe you money if you went there on your 101st.

Remembering Bill Knapp's: Michigan's Chocolate on Chocolate Cake
Chris Valentine via YouTube / Canva

While Michigan still has fond memories of Bill Knapp's, sadly, not all occasions call for cake. The restaurant's journey took a downturn, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2002 and closing all remaining locations on August 20, 2002. Despite the closure, the chocolate cake lives on in grocery store shelves.

Related: DEAD MALLS of Michigan: Jackson's Nearly Empty Westwood Mall

Michigan may have bid farewell to Bill Knapp's, but memories of fried chicken, laughter, cake, birthdays, cake, and finally, cake linger on. After all, in the world of Michigan's fine dining, Bill Knapp's was more than just a restaurant; it's part of our state's culinary history.

LOOK: 50 Famous brands that no longer exist

Stacker compiled a list of more than four dozen famous consumer brands that no longer exist, consulting sites such as TheStreet, Good Housekeeping, and Eat This, Not That!, along with numerous throwback sites dedicated to consumer brands.

Gallery Credit: Liz Barrett Foster

Bill Knapp's Michigan Gravesite

More From The Game 730 WVFN-AM