Wednesday, 27 July 2022 10:55

7th Annual Best of the West: Dining

Written by  Josh Veal
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While we may be known as Beer City, Grand Rapids and beyond are stepping up the culinary game every single year here.

Sadly, those gains have come with some losses. Local favorites like Brick Road Pizza and Wikiwiki Poke Shop have closed doors due to, well, you know why. While we mourn their absence, we also want to celebrate all the fantastic eateries we do have!

One of our favorite categories every year is best New Restaurant, because you only get one shot to win it. Last year was MDRD, a restaurant at the top of Amway Grand Plaza and at the top of the game, with a weeks-long reservation list. 

This year is Social Misfits, a very different restaurant that uses waffles in just about every possible combination. Savory ramen waffle? They have that, and it’s delicious. What about a waffle with bruleed banana, bacon, peanut butter ganache, and maple syrup? They have that too. It’s a special place that doesn’t play by the rules and welcomes all misfits, outcasts and weirdos.

In second place is Café Mamo, a small restaurant (not a coffee shop) in Creston making incredible food with almost entirely local ingredients. They designed and built much of the restaurant themselves, and that work ethic and intentionality comes through in the food as well. It’s a special place developing a devoted following.

In third place we have Shkodé Chophouse, a new restaurant at Gun Lake Casino! “Shkodé is the Pottawatomi word for fire and that’s what you’ll find here.” Steaks, wood-fire grilled meats, seafood, charcuterie — they have it all. It’s like a chop house, but slightly more casual.

While many favorites stayed the same this year, we also saw upsets! Here are just a few that stand out:

San Chez took Brunch.

Martha’s Vineyard won Desserts.

Sweet Racks & Smokin’ Butts BBQ suddenly appeared to win Food Truck.

Cousins Tasty Chicken edged into first place for Fried Chicken.

Bombay Cuisine took Indian cuisine back!

Le Kabob moved into first for Mediterranean cuisine.

Sovengard won Most Innovative cuisine this year.

Despite the name, Quarantino’s is here to stay, and joined the Pizza finalists.

Little Bangkok won Thai cuisine.

MudPenny is now the leading Vegetarian/Vegan food.

BAKERY

Nantucket Baking Company, 1st

nantucketbaking.com

Field and Fire, 2nd

Rise Authentic Baking Co., 3rd

BBQ

Two Scotts BBQ, 1st

twoscottsbbq.com

Slows Bar BQ, 2nd

Daddy Pete’s BBQ, 3rd

BREAKFAST

Real Food Café, 1st

realfoodcafe.com

Wolfgang’s Restaurant, 2nd

Anna’s House, 3rd

BRUNCH

San Chez, 1st

sanchezbistro.com

Lucy’s, 2nd

SpeakEZ Lounge, 3rd

BURGERS

Stella’s Lounge, 1st

stellaslounge.com

Bridge Street Burger Shack, 2nd

7 Monks Taproom, 3rd

CHINESE

First Wok, 1st

firstwokgr.com

Gaslight Asian Kitchen, 2nd

Red Bowl, 3rd

COFFEE

Madcap, 1st

madcapcoffee.com

Sparrows Coffee, 2nd

Squibb, 3rd

DESSERTS

Martha’s Vineyard, 1st

mvwines.com

Nantucket Baking Company, 2nd

Mokaya, 3rd

DINER

Matchbox Diner, 1st

matchboxdiner.com

Grand Coney, 2nd

Royals, 3rd

FOOD TRUCK

Sweet Racks & Smokin Butts BBQ, 1st

sweetrackssmokinbutts.com

Patty Matters, 2nd

Beviamo! Mobile Bar, 3rd

FRIED CHICKEN

Cousin’s Tasty Chicken, 1st

cousinstastychicken.com

Hancock, 2nd

The Southerner, 3rd

FRIES

HopCat, 1st

hopcat.com

Stella’s Lounge, 2nd

One Stop Coney Shop, 3rd

HOT DOGS

Yesterdog, 1st

facebook.com/yesterdog

Rockford Corner Bar, 2nd

One Stop Coney Shop, 3rd

ICE CREAM/FROZEN TREATS

Frosty Boy – Grand Rapids, 1st

frostyboygr.com

Furniture City Creamery, 2nd

Love’s Ice Cream, 3rd

INDIAN

Bombay Cuisine, 1st

eatatbombay.com

Curry Kitchen, 2nd

Pind Indian Cuisine, 3rd

ITALIAN

Amore Trattoria Italiana, 1st

amoretrattoriaitaliana.com

Salvatore’s, 2nd

Palio, 3rd

MEDITERRANEAN

Le Kabob, 1st

lekabobgr.com

Sheshco Mediterranean Grill, 2nd

Zivio, 3rd

MEXICAN

Tacos El Cuñado, 1st

facebook.com/tacoselcunadobridgestreet

Donkey Taqueria, 2nd

Lindo Mexico, 3rd

MOST INNOVATIVE CUISINE

The Sovengard, 1st

sovengard.com

MDRD, 2nd

Houndstooth, 3rd

NEW RESTAURANT

Social Misfits, 1st

thesocialmisfits.com

Cafe Mamo, 2nd

Shkodé Chophouse, 3rd

PIZZA

The Mitten Brewing Company, 1st

mittenbrewing.co

Harmony Brewing Company, 2nd

Quarantino’s, 3rd

SANDWICH/DELI

Two Beards Deli, 1st

twobeardsdeligr.com

Schnitz Deli, 2nd

Boardwalk Subs, 3rd

SEAFOOD

Leo’s, 1st

leosrestaurant.com

Fish Lads, 2nd

Beacon Corner Bar, 3rd

SOUP

Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop, 1st

unclecheetahs.com

Horrock’s, 2nd

Electric Cheetah, 3rd

STEAK

Butcher’s Union, 1st

butchersuniongr.com

The Chop House, 2nd

Bowdie’s Chophouse, 3rd

SUSHI

Maru Sushi, 1st

marusushi.com

Jaku Sushi, 2nd

Ginza Sushi, 3rd

THAI

Little Bangkok, 1st

littlebangkokgr.co

Bangkok Taste, 2nd

Lai Thai, 3rd

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN

Mudpenny, 1st

mudpenny.com

Rise Authentic Baking Co., 2nd

Gaia House Café, 3rd

WINGS

Wing Doozy, 1st

wingdoozy.com

Detroit Wing Company, 2nd

Mike’s Wings, 3rd

RevAug22 BOTW Dining2

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