El Barrio Mexican Grill (545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids) has closed, leaving a gaping hole of Latin cuisine on Michigan Street, which will be filled quickly by Palio Ristorante. Expanding from Ann Arbor, the Italian restaurant is giving the space a $400,000 renovation and makeover. The menu will feature high-end (this is the same restaurant grouop that owns The Chop House, after all) pizza, pasta and wine.
Following the many trials and tribulations of Cult Pizza — or the artist formerly known as The Pizza Experiment — a new dough-and-toppings enterprise is filling the space at 10 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids. Good Pizza Co. has shifted the space’s vibe away from alt, punk and leftist to colorful, playful and pun-heavy. Good Pizza also picked up a BYOB wine and cider license, and will offer by-the-slice options.
Brown Butter Creperie and Cafe (1436 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) has set up shop in the adorable windmill building that once held Cakabakery, which has moved to 919 E. Fulton St. Brown Butter finally is bringing to GR sweet and savory from-scratch crepes like the Blueberry Goat (goat cheese, blueberry compote, honey drizzle) and the Orchard (ham, apple butter, aged white cheddar, caramelized onion).
If you’re the Ron Swanson type, Butcher’s Union (438 Bridge St., Grand Rapids) is for you. The West Side restaurant opened in February and specializes in meat and whiskey. Though if you’re more of a leaf-eater, they have plenty of options. The menu wasn’t finalized when we called, so you’ll just have to stop in and enjoy for yourself.
Auntie Cheetah’s Soup Shop (2434 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) is now open, hopefully helping to alleviate the deservedly-long lines at Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop, which you could probably guess is Auntie’s sister store (or would it be brother? Or husband?). The shop has nine rotating homemade soups available, with grilled cheeses and salads as well. Get it to-go or hang out inside.
The Candied Yam (2305 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids) brings some much-needed soul to the city. With the help of Chef D, the restaurant is all about comforting southern cuisine, from country-fried chicken and pork chops to baked mac-and-cheese, collard greens and cornbread. Oh, also: shrimp and grits for $6.99.
As of last month, Matchbox Diner & Drinks (1345 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids) is stepping up the brunch game in Eastown. The new restaurant, which stands where Brandywine once was, offers omelettes, lox and latkes, and build-your-own benedicts, to start. For lunch, salads, soups, burgers and sammies take the stage, with dinner offering its own options as well. That being said, breakfast is available all day, so brunch and brinner (that’s not a word yet, but we’ll get there) are always options. That’s not to mention the cocktails, craft beer and hand-dipped shakes. (See our full review here.)
Lee & Birch (39 Courtland St., Rockford) now has a third location, this time in Rockford. The high-end boutique already has developed a following for its top-notch women’s clothes and accessories, and should fit right at home in the city by the dam.
Sadly, you have until April 3 to make it to Kalamazoo’s Alamo Drafthouse and Cinema (180 Portage St., Kalamazoo). The cinema is known for serving excellent food, beer and cocktails directly to your seat, with tables spanning the length of every row. Alamo also offered many specialty films, such as anime, limited-release and classics. On a recent visit to the theater, we overheard employees discussing a boom in business since announcing the closure. Don’t miss out — we still don’t know what comes next.