Tuesday, 10 May 2016 17:20

Now Open & Coming Soon: New Restaurant and Brewery Report

Written by  Troy Reimink
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By the time you read this list, it will probably be inaccurate. Ten years ago, the arrival of a new restaurant concept in little ol’ Grand Rapids was an extraordinary, blessed occurrence. Now, it seems not a day goes by without the announcement of a trendy new brewpub, small-plate restaurant, beer garden, artisan cocktail bar, tasting room or gourmet coffee purveyor, often attached to a mixed-use development and usually accompanied by a sleek Squarespace website.

Frankly, it can all be a little exhausting. Who will go to all of these places, you might wonder? Excellent question. Maybe you! But how to choose from the expanding galaxy of dining options? First, educate thyself. The tentative (and by no means complete) list of newly opened and forthcoming restaurants includes upscale experiments by well-known chefs, adventurous offerings from talented locals and several breweries. Take a look:


Ando Asian Kitchen — Joining New Holland Brewing in the Rockford Construction development on the corner of Bridge and Turner is a new offering from Robert Song, who opened the successful Maru Sushi & Grill on Cherry Street four years ago. The restaurant debuts in September with a menu of Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese dishes, offering what Song has described as “Asian comfort food.” (405 Turner Ave. NW, Grand Rapids)

Atwater Brewery — Did someone say brewery overload? I suppose if there’s going to be too many of something in Grand Rapids, it might as well be breweries, as opposed to, say, churches. Detroit’s popular Atwater Brewery is prepping a beer garden and tap house inside the Rowe development, scheduled to open sometime this summer. (201 Michigan St. NW, Grand Rapids; atwaterbeer.com)

Brick & Porter Pub and Kitchen — Occupying the space of the departed (and much liked by me) Marado Sushi, Brick & Porter opened in March as a casual-ish tap house and grub-slinger notable for its long, inviting bar and creative twists on conventional pub fare. (47 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids; brickandportergr.com)

Brighton Graye’s Bistro — The latest restaurant from the owners of Graydon’s Crossing, Logan’s Alley and Derby Station is preparing to open in June as an upscale dining spot in the site of the old D’Amico’s Food Mart in the Creston area. It promises small plates, craft cocktails and “the feel of urban dining.” (1747 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids; brightongrayes.com)

City Built Brewery — This effort from Edwin Collazo and Dave Petroeljie — a veteran of Osgood Brewing in Grandville — is eyeing a summer opening in a mixed-use development in the flowering North Monroe business district. In addition to inventive, flavorful beers, City Built will offer barbecue and Caribbean-inspired cuisine. (820 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 155, Grand Rapids; facebook.com/CityBuiltBrewing)

Creston Brewery — Four partners, including Scott Schultz and Molly Bouwsma-Schultz of the popular local band Vox Vidorra, are opening a brewery in the former Dekorne Furniture Company showroom on Plainfield Ave. NE. They promise live music, a community gathering spot and an affordable menu comprising tacos, burritos, empanadas and other made-from-scratch global fare. They’re shooting for a late June, early July opening. (1504 Plainfield Ave. NE; crestonbrewery.com

Elk Brewing (new location) — After its long-delayed opening, Elk has slowly grown at its Wealthy Street SE location from a tiny also-ran in a crowded market into a well-regarded brewery. To meet growing demand, Elk later this year will open a larger facility in Comstock Park, near Fifth Third Ballpark. (400 Dodge St. NE, Comstock Park; elkbrewing.com)

Field & Fire Cafe — Shelby and Julie Kibler’s wood-fired bakery was one of the original tenants at the Downtown Market, and by late summer, they aim to open a restaurant/cafe with an expanded menu inside the aforementioned North Monroe mixed-use development. (820 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids; fieldandfire.com)

Grand Coney (new location) — The local chain’s newest location at Madison Avenue and 28th Street keeps the lights on around the clock on weekends to accommodate late-night revelers and the early breakfast crowd. (401 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids; grandconeygr.com)

Gray Skies Distillery — A convergence of “it” location (North Monroe) and “it” concept (craft spirits) points to a promising future for the city’s latest distillery, now open and practicing a “good hooch made local” philosophy via small batches of vodka, gin, bourbon and rye whiskey. (700 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids; grayskiesdistillery.com)

Greyline Brewing Co. — Co-owners Nate Walser and Kevin Clancy, both Founders Brewing veterans, are readying a cozy, off-the-beaten-trail destination, with a small food menu to start. Setting up shop in the city’s northwest corner, the brewery opened just after press time. (1727 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids; facebook.com/greylinebrewing)

Happy Cat Cafe — I am so into this it’s not even funny. Set to open any minute now, Happy Cat will bring to Grand Rapids the cat-cafe trend, which originated in Japan and has only recently taken off in large U.S. cities. Half gourmet coffee/pastry shop, half cat adoption center, at any given time the cafe will house eight to 10 cats, all of whom are eager to find their new best friend. (447 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids; happycatgr.com

Jamaican Dave’s (new location) — The upcoming demolition of the strip plaza at 1059 Wealthy Street SE — for, you guessed it, a mixed-use housing and retail development — will mean a new opportunity for Jamaican Dave’s. The long-running Caribbean restaurant will move into a strip mall on South Division Avenue. (530 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids; jamaicandavesgrandrapids.com)

Lightfast Coffee Bar & Art Collective — One of Grand Rapids’ newest coffee shops offers drinks and baked goods that are largely locally sourced, as well as a venue for provocative work by artists from the community. (944 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids; lightfastcoffee.com)

Madcap Coffee (new location) — The popular downtown coffee shop will open a second destination on East Fulton Street adjacent to the refurbished auto garage that serves as Madcap’s roasting facility. Also, they will serve waffles. I feel like that calls for a little more excitement: Also, they will serve waffles! (1039 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids; madcapcoffee.com)

New Holland Brewing Company (rendering pictured right) — The 40,000-square-foot Knickerbocker Brewpub and Distillery, tentatively set for a September opening, headlines Rockford Construction’s marquee West Side development, which will include retail and residential spaces. (Bridge Street and Broadway Avenue, Grand Rapids; newhollandbrew.com)

Oh My Salad — A healthful oasis amidst a sea of fast-food franchises on 28th Street, this newly opened restaurant — created by partners Eric Williams and Smiljana Lazic — offers abundant salads, fruits and smoothies. (2919 28th St. SE, Kentwood; facebook.com/OhMySaladGR)

People’s Cider Company Tasting Room — Jason Lummen has been quietly building word of mouth since launching The People’s Cider Company in 2011. People’s joins Mitten Brewing Co., Long Road Distillers and Two Scotts Barbecue in turning Leonard Street on the West Side into a hot-dining district when it opens its doors, likely soon. (537 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids; thepeoplescider.com)

Roots Brew Shop — Another newcomer to the coffee market makes appealing use of its large space on the West Side, and was the result of a successful GoFundMe campaign by owners Mallory Root and Austin Radebaugh. (600 7th St. NW, Grand Rapids; rootsbrewshop.com)

Social Kitchen and Bar (pictured, left) — The Grand Rapids iteration of chef Zack Sklar’s wildly popular Birmingham upscale-casual spot fills the northeast corner of Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, and opened its doors April 18. (435 Ionia Ave. SW; socialkitchenandbar.com)

The Sovengard — I guessed, incorrectly, that “Sovengard” was a reference to something from The Lord of the Rings. This addition to the expanding dining/drinking corridor along Bridge Street, includes an outdoor biergarten and a menu exploring the Scandinavian roots of traditional Midwestern cuisine. Set for a soft opening in late May or early June. (44 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids; sovengard.com)

Sweet Creams — Grand Rapids’ newest build-your-own-frozen-treat spot is at Hall Street and Giddings Avenue SE. If you get overwhelmed by the number of choices, visit the Sweet Creams Facebook page, which offers “creation of the day” suggestions. (1163 Giddings Ave. SE, Grand Rapids; facebook.com/1163sweetcreams)

That Early Bird Coffee Coffee & Food — This collaboration between Chef Joel Wabeke and Rowster Coffee is currently raising Indiegogo funds for its goal of offering expertly crafted beverages and distinctive baked goods. As if that’s not challenging enough in an increasingly competitive market, That Early Bird will also attempt to fill the shoes of Kava House, the beloved Eastown coffee shop that closed last year. (1445 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids; facebook.com/thatearlybird)

Vander Mill Grand Rapids — Vander Mill, already a widely recognized maker of alcoholic (gluten-free, if that’s your thing) ciders, threw its hat in the taproom ring in late April. The company has started production in the former B&B beer distribution site, which features a large kitchen and restaurant space that also will host live music. (505 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids; vandermill.com)

The Wheelhouse — This casual-dining, “Michigan fare” concept from the Meritage Hospitality Group (whose other restaurants include Twister Rooster and Crooked Goose) opens this month as part of the long-in-the-making Arena Place downtown development. (158 Weston St. SW, Grand Rapids; meritagehospitality.com)


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