Monday, 31 October 2016 14:47

West Michigan Biz Beat: Openings, closings and other local business news for November

Written by  Josh Veal
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NOW OPEN: Atwater in GR

Although Atwater Brewery in GR didn’t launch in time for ArtPrize as initially planned, that didn’t stop a group of patrons from queuing outside the brewery and pub to get their first pints on Oct. 13.

Standing just inside the pub’s doors at 201 Michigan St. NW, owner Mark Rieth marveled at the initial response Atwater received from Grand Rapidians. It was just the kind of vibe the Detroit-based company hoped to create with its first location outside of Southeast Michigan, the goal for which was to create a connection between both sides of the state, he said.

With the new brewery and pub, Atwater brings some if its signature offerings to Grand Rapids, while also giving the new location its own unique menu items and exclusive beer offerings, some of which will be made available locally. 

“We want to support our retail partners here with one-off beers,” Rieth said. 

The opening tap list included Atwater’s staples, plus a handful of Grand Rapids-only beers. (We tried the Michigan Wet Hop and both the cinnamon and amaretto flavored variants of the ubiquitous Vanilla Java Porter.) The plan is to have 40 rotating beers, plus serve Atwater’s line of spirits, hard cider and wine. 

On the food front, Atwater’s menu offers a plethora of different wieners (we tried the dirty bird and the pork hash and eggs), salads and pizzas, as well as Grand Rapids-specific items like braised pork shank with waffles, roasted pork belly, chicken schnitzel and more. 

Rieth said Atwater also plans to get creative with its events, including live music and trivia, brewery tours and beer dinners. Check the company’s Facebook page for upcoming plans. 

“We just want to offer Grand Rapids something unique and different,” Rieth said. 

—Reported by Joe Boomgaard



The Donut Conspiracy (1971 East Beltline Ave. NE) is the second of two Grand Rapids donut shops to open this year. Conspiracy offers a wide variety of donuts, many with candy or cereal in the mix, whether that be gummy worms, twix bars or Fruity Pebbles. There’s also some more subtle classics, such as one chocolate donut with coffee icing and chocolate drizzle.

Creston got a new art gallery with Lions & Rabbits (1264 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids). The gallery will also sell local merchandise, such as jewelry and toys, as well as offering yoga classes. More than 50 artists have already committed to working with owner Hannah Grohman.



Rockford Brewing Co.’s (12 E. Bridge St. NE, Rockford) kitchen has officially opened for dinner service. Executive Chef Ryan Bolhuis developed a menu that draws from various cuisines, featuring dishes like the Korean Sticky Wings and the Smoky Chicken Skillet Pot Pie.



Vegetarian and vegan restaurant Bartertown Diner (6 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) has changed its name to The Garden Diner & Cafe. Owner Thad Cummings said the name is intended to reflect a shift toward community involvement, including a catering menu, yoga and guest speakers.



Grand Rapids’ Avenue of the Arts — a strip of South Division known for its galleries, nonprofit services and retail — lost two stores this month. Have Company (136 S. Division Ave.) sold handmade goods, clothes, zines, jewelry and other knick-knacks, and also acted as an artist residency. 106 Gallery and Studio (106 S. Division Ave.) also closed up shop. 106 was operated by Calvin College and housed faculty studios and artist lofts. 

Nearby, two Monroe Center locations also closed. After three years, Fat Johnny’s Cheesesteak Company (95 Monroe Center St.) very suddenly halted operations, with a Facebook status referencing being bought by a local company. A sign on the door, which has been removed, at one point referenced That Early Bird Cafe, whose owners declined to comment at this time. 

One block over, XO Asian Cuisine (58 Monroe Center St.) closed up shop as well, just a few months after temporarily closing after dozens of code violations. The new restaurant’s name (under new owners) is Soho Sushi and Bar


If you have any closings, openings or other business news for REVUE, e-mail


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