Editor’s Note: Many of these shops were forced to open at the worst time imaginable, during a global pandemic when they weren’t even allowed to have people inside. So however you can, please support these small, local businesses.
GRNoir Wine & Jazz Room is bringing cabernet and live music to Grand Rapids at 35 S. Division Ave. Owned by a husband and wife duo, this new space combines a huge variety of wine with live jazz multiple nights a week, along with small plates and dessert. On top of all that, GRNoir aims to educate people on the long history of African-American culture.
South East Market opened at 1220 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids, with the goal of fighting injustice through food and consumer activism. The market offers local, sustainably grown and raised food at an affordable price, while working in the community to distribute resources and make Grand Rapids a more equitable place, especially for the Black community.
Pizza At The Wharf is a small, unassuming, veteran-owned eatery now at 2996 28th St. SW, Grandville. They serve pizza, sandwiches, cinnamon sticks and more, all of which has been praised by customers for being outstanding and extremely affordable. They don’t make ’em like this anymore — except now, they do.
The Pack Indoor Dog Park finally arrived in Comstock Park, kicking off this year with an opening at 5205 West River Dr. NE. This is Michigan’s first indoor dog park, and more than that, they have food and drink offerings. If your pup needs some safe socialization and you do too, head to The Pack for a day of play, pizza and beer on tap. There’s no other dog park like this, especially in the winter.
Eastown Cereal Cafe is the first of its kind in Grand Rapids, recently setting up shop at 1507 Wealthy St. SE. The new cereal café offers a plethora of cereal and milk choices, alongside milkshake and waffle creations that also feature cereal. In fact, the most popular items so far are a Fruity Pebble-covered waffle and an Oreo O’s milkshake. If you’re not impressed already, it’s also owned and operated by an 18-year-old woman.
MDRD (pronounced Madrid) arrived at the top of Amway Grand Plaza, at 187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. This new restaurant is “lavishly Spanish,” featuring gourmet dishes like Paella Mixta alongside an array of tapas, impressive desserts and craft cocktails. Enjoy all this while taking in panaromic views of the city from 27 floors up.
Kaffeine is a unique café and eatery now open on the Medical Mile at 637 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids. The shop has tons of specialty coffee drinks, from pourovers to turmeric ginger chai lattes, as well as Korean-fusion food, such as bulgogi burritos and rice bowls.
Gaia Café has finally returned, after many years of being out of business. The new space at 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE has seen huge success already, even with an initial limited menu. Looks like Grand Rapids is hungry for vegetarian and vegan food, along with healthy juices, smoothies and coffee. Welcome back!
Dokl’s Grill & Catering joined the meat market of the same name at 4615 West River Dr., Comstock Park. Head in for a burger or specialty sandwich, such as the Zac-Zac, with grilled pork cutlet, grilled pineapple, provolone cheese and bistro sauce, all on a brioche bun. While you’re there, you might as well take a nice, big steak home too.
Arktos Meadery finally conquered the red tape to open its new location at 442 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids. You may remember the space as Sparrows’ former location, but now it’s serving up distilled honey rather than coffee and tea. Head in for some mead, goblets, fun and games — there’s a reason Arktos has been thriving in the West Michigan mead game for years.
Condado Tacos also arrived right down the street at 449 Bridge St. NW. The taqueria offers distinctly unique tacos, such as the Bubba Kush, which starts with a double-decker flour and corn shell, then add bacon refried beans, sour cream, guac, pulled pork, jackfruit BBQ sauce, cilantro, onions, jicama and cabbage slaw, smoked cheddar and pineapple salsa. That’s just one taco, and they have 16 more to choose from, or you can easily build your own! Plus: Margaritas.