Friday, 27 April 2018 12:53

West Michigan Biz Beat: Openings, closings and other local business news, May 2018

Written by  Josh Veal
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How many HopCats does it take to screw in a craft beer culture? At least one more, it turns out, as the Grand Rapids-based chain has proposed an 18th location in Holland. The brewpub would open by early 2019 and be part of the forthcoming downtown entertainment district and movie theater located along Eighth Street, between Pine and River Avenues.


What once was Crooked Goose has become Stan Diego (355 Wilson Ave. NW, Grand Rapids), a new “Baja taco kitchen” in Standale. The a-la-carte menu offers a wide variety of tacos, along with tamales, flautas, tlayudas and much more. You’ll of course find margaritas and cocktails as well, along with a repurposed 1973 orange Volkswagen bus and a foosball table.

The owners of Zoko822 have followed up the Basque-inspired hit with another unique concept: MeXo (118 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids), a restaurant combining modern Mexican and pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cuisine. For the uninitiated, MeXo offers a guiding hand, including a glossary on its menu next to items like the Lomo de Jabalien Pulque, a pulque-infused wild boar tenderloin with machucadito plantain croquettes filled with goat cheese and chicharron. Also: Tequila craft cocktails.

Fox Naturals (619 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) has opened its physical store, selling all sorts of body care products. Options range from handmade soap to face wash, toner, lotion, shampoo, oils, foaming bath crystals and more, along with products focused on relaxation, like bath bombs, soy candles and sage.

ROAM by San Chez (250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) opened doors across the street from DeVos Performance Hall. ROAM offers “street food” from all over the world, including India, Mexico, Netherlands, China, Canada, New Zealand and more. The restaurant offers takeout, but also has a full-service dining room, where you’ll find craft cocktails, beer, wine and board games. See story on page 58.


The Green Well’s Rockford location is dead, long live Riverside Grille (8 E. Bridge St. NE, Rockford). After a year of operations, community feedback and just general observation led the owners, Essence Restaurant Group, to rebrand the gastropub into a more family-friendly establishment with a larger kids menu and “more American-inspired comfort dishes.”

Similarly, Mazzo Cucina D’Italia (122 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids) closed its doors and is shifting to Uccello’s first downtown location. This will make for the local Italian chain’s sixth location. Uccello’s offers pasta and other Italian appetizers and entrees, but the new location also is installing a wood-fired oven to create pizzas inspired by the restaurant group’s fast-casual pizza concept, Herb & Fire Pizzeria.

IRON (25 Ottawa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) closed without much explanation. The modern downtown restaurant had been open for two years and won multiple awards. Owner and chef Chris Perkey, who also owns Osteria Rossa, made a statement on Facebook: “It is with a very heavy heart that due to circumstances beyond our control IRON will serve its last meal tomorrow night. …  We’ve made lots of new friends and put out a lot of great food.”

In more pleasant news: (235 Louis St. NW, Grand Rapids) inside the JW Marriott is shifting its focus to a new French bistro concept, serving dishes like tarte flambée, onion soup gratinée, filet mignon au poivre, coq au vin and pear clafoutis. The restaurant is also expanding its wine list to include more French offerings. But if you’re craving the previous menu, don’t worry: just hit up Mixology Lounge or jdek, the bar and patio connected to

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