Grabbing grub while in Grand Rapids

Fri. January 12, 2024 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The culinary landscape in Grand Rapids, Michigan is vast and full of surprises. Local chefs have cooked up a variety of impressive dishes that are influenced by cultures from around the world. This ranges from old school favorites to exploring dishes outside of the box. There is a casual feel presented to diners with upscale tendencies mixed in at many of the establishments.

Littlebird, 95 Monroe Center Street, is a perfect example of that. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in an updated historic building is what the team behind That Early Bird Cafe does best. The Smashburger gives guests delicious double patties topped with dijon mayo on a soft milk bread bun. The cooks use fresh ingredients for their seasonal salads as well as staples like the mixed beet salad.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is just a hop, skip and a jump from there at 140 Ottawa Avenue. This North Carolina-based restaurant is known for its “forever free” honey-tinged chicken served in an iron skillet. Their scratch kitchen makes a difference and their sriracha honey fried chicken & waffles can't be beat.

Speaking of breakfast items, Morning Bell may seem out of the way but it's near the

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park at 1600 East Avenue makes the perfect stop to grab some grub before exploring the massive outdoor park. Fuel up and wake up with a fresh Garden Grain Bowl or Steel Cut Oats. The Classic Breakfast gives plenty to seek your teeth into with eggs, potatoes, pork and bread then wash it down with a blood orange mimosa.

Good Truckin' Diner at 701 Wealthy Street was another prime spot to start off the day. Folks can dine outdoors and enjoy tofu breakfast tacos or a Lonestar omelet packed with chorizo, cheese and refried beans.

Continue that journey to Mexico at next door neighbor Donkey Taqueria. The guacamole is tasty with red onion, Serrano peppers and garlic then sip on a Spicy Margarita made with jalapeño Olmeca Altos tequila.

Say “adios” and drive over to Grand Rapids Downtown Market. This collective of Market Hall merchants will have visitors stirring up an appetite while strolling around 435 Ionia Avenue. Stock up on speciality products and a plethora of unique items. The Downtown Market Ice Bar is slated to return in February so try a craft beer or boozy hot chocolate drink while there.

For desserts pick queer owned Sticky Fingers at 1503 Lake Drive for a sugar high or The Cakabakery, 919 Fulton Street, known for high quality cakes and treats.

Don't sleep on the coffee shops in the area either. Anyone looking to perk up their morning should try Biggby Coffee, Bagel Beanery or Outside Coffee Co.

Finish the day by grabbing some bao buns at The General Wood Shop at 507 Bridge Street and washing it down with a Morning Wood bourbon cocktail. This new queer venue opened in 2023 and is off to a good start with small plates and entertainment specially geared towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Embrace the local breweries and dive into the delicious food offered in Grand Rapids. There's no reason to leave Michigan thirsty or hungry after visiting such a vibrant city full of flavors.