Thursday, 30 November 2017 13:40

2017 Biz Beat: A roundup of openings & closings in West Michigan over the past year

Written by  Josh Veal
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The recently opened New Hotel Mertens offers French cuisine in downtown Grand Rapids The recently opened New Hotel Mertens offers French cuisine in downtown Grand Rapids Bill Lindhout

Over the past year, dozens of businesses have come and gone, but on the whole, they’re mostly coming. At least 30 restaurants have opened doors this year, from sandwich shops to whiskey bars with $22 entrees and a brewery with Puerto Rican food. West Michigan’s capacity for great food may reach a ceiling at some point, but we don’t seem to be anywhere near it yet. Here’s our look back on 2017.


Opened this month:

New Hotel Mertens (35 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids) offers high-end French food at an affordable price, along with cocktails, spirits and wine.

The Peoples Cider Co. (539 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids) is now open on Leonard, providing the perfect place to wait for your table at Long Road Distillers or Mitten Brewing, but it also makes an excellent standalone visit. Stop inside for oak- and bourbon-aged cider, perry and more.

Kayla Rae Cellars (31 Courtland St., Rockford) has introduced its own onsite brewery in the form of MI Brewery, currently serving beers on tap alongside rotating, seasonal hard ciders and sangria.

After 10 years of serving homemade chocolate at the Holland Farmers Market, the married couple behind Marzec Chocolates has officially opened a spot at 453 Washington Ave., Holland. You’ll find chocolate-covered pretzels and fruits, toffee, cherry almond bark and much more.



Soho Sushi (58 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids) opened where XO Asian Cuisine once stood. Soho focuses on specialty sushi, but also offers Chinese and Thai entrees. 

Following the closing of Cult Pizza, Good Pizza Co. (10 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) shifted the space’s vibe away from alt and punk to colorful, playful and pun-heavy. Good Pizza also picked up a BYOB wine and cider license, and offers 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. Brown Butter brought sweet and savory from-scratch crepes to Grand Rapids.

Butcher’s Union (438 Bridge St., Grand Rapids) opened to much acclaim, regularly garnering two-hour wait times for its excellent food and craft cocktails, long whiskey list and transportative big-city atmosphere.

One Bourbon (608 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) made the second whiskey bar on Bridge Street, with more than 100 whiskeys on the menu, along with signature cocktails, beer, wine and high-end versions of classic American food.

Craft Beer Cellar (404 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) became the first craft beer bottle shop in the city’s downtown area, with shelves full of West Michigan brews. But more than a store, it’s also a taproom, serving on draft some of the very beers that are available to take home.

7 Monks Taproom (740 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids) arrived with 51 craft beer taps and all kinds of gastropub delicacies, like Korean Nachos, the Bacon Jam Burger and a Sweet Potato Pizza.

In Muskegon, 18th Amendment Spirits Co. (250 W. Western Ave.) debuted with whistle punk., a born-again pizzeria. Stop in for a wood-fired pizza and craft spirits made into top-notch cocktails. 

Pho On The Block (1301 Portage St., Kalamazoo) opened, bringing Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian cuisine to Kalamazoo. You can probably guess one of the menu items, but you’ll also find Banh Mi, bulgogi beef, Vietnamese chicken wings and Kimchi Fries.

Rower’s Club (616 Fulton St. SW) launched on Grand Rapids’ West Side. The new concept from Rowster Coffee is pretty similar to the original store, offering specialty coffee and some snacks. 

At long last, City Built Brewing (820 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) opened. The brewery hit the ground running with beers like Amore Estivo, a lemon basil saison; TKBY, a kettle sour saison; and Flower Power, a green tea chamomile pale ale. You’ll find tacos, tortas, bori balls and much more. 

Thornapple Brewing (6262 28th St., Cascade) was a hit out of the gate with a lineup of classic beer styles like Treyway, a Belgian Trippel, and Brown Eyed Girl, an English Brown. The seven-barrel brewery also offers cider, wine and mead, along with a kitchen serving up pizza made on spent-grain crust.

Where Tre Cugini once stood, Mazzo Cucina D’Italia (122 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids) set up shop. Arrive at lunch for affordable sandwiches or make an evening of it with gourmet meat entrees. Either way, unique pizzas and pasta are available all day, along with some amazing brussels sprouts.

Ando Asian Kitchen + Bar (415 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) added its presence to the ever-developing Bridge Street. This new concept is run by three chefs with lifetimes of experience in Asian cuisine, bringing together Korean and Vietnamese influences to offer ramen, sushi, bibimbap and much more.

Buffalo Traders Lounge (950 Fulton St. NE, Grand Rapids) opened next to Buffalo Tobacco Traders. You’ll find classic craft cocktails, a chill interior, beer from around the world, and an excellent happy hour.

In Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, Pho 616 (435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) set up shop, bringing the Vietnamese noodle soup to downtown. The family-owned joint has a fairly simple menu, with pho bo (beef noodle soup), banh mi, summer rolls and iced coffee. 


other openings:

The Candied Yam (2305 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids): Soul food restaurant.

The Blue Moose Sports Pub (6240 28th St., Grand Rapids): Sports bar.

Silver Star Cafe (250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Affordable lunch food.

Herb & Fire Pizzeria (2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids): Pizzeria, second location.

Palio Ristorante (545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids): Italian restaurant.

Bostwick Bakery (4029 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids): Bakery and lunch food.

Dokl’s Meat Market (4615 West River Dr., Comstock Park): Meat and cheese market.

Riverside Lounge (5430 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids): Bar, with wide craft beer and whiskey selection.

Brewery 4 Two 4 (321 Douglas Ave., Holland): Brewery, bring your own food.

Big Boiler Brewing (318 E. Main St., Lowell): Brewery with burgers and American food.

Noco Provisions (4609 Cascade Road, Grand Rapids): New American restaurant.

Big Willy’s Italian Beef (1450 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids): Sandwich and sausage shop.

Irie Kitchen (6630 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Kentwood): Jamaican restaurant.

Kingma’s Market (444 Ada Dr. SE, Ada): Grocery store, second location. 

Rockford Cheese Shop (49 E. Bridge St. NE, Rockford): Cheese shop.

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand (442 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids): Coffee shop and roastery, second location.

Rendezvous Lounge (187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Breakfast in the morning, cocktails at night. 

616 Mitten Market (1186 Walker Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Michigan-made boutique.

Green Well Gastropub (8 E. Bridge St., Rockford): Gastropub, second location.

Russo’s International Market (241 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids): Market and bar/bistro, second location.

North Channel Brewing Co. (86 Washington St., Manistee): Brewery, eclectic food menu.



Sip Organic Juice Bar (423 Norwood Ave. SE, Grand Rapids)

Lazy Susan (411 Wilson Ave., Standale)

LINC UP Soul Food Cafe (1167 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) 

Millgrove Brewing Co. (633 114th Ave., Allegan) 

Black Heron Kitchen & Bar (428 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids)

Horseshoe Smokehouse (333 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) 

Saburba (7277 Thornapple River Dr. Suite B, Ada) 

Duthler’s Family Foods (648 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) 

Wealthy at Charles (738 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) 

El Barrio Mexican Grill (545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids)

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


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