One of my favorite times in West Michigan is here, just on the cusp of my six-year anniversary of moving to Grand Rapids! Famous for hosting ArtPrize in the fall and winning Beer City USA two years in a row, Grand Rapids’ patrons have also developed a deep affinity for dining out. It seems that every evening is a busy one in the city as visitors and residents alike venture out to dueling piano bars, nationally-ranked breweries or farm-to-table restaurants. It’s no wonder Grand Rapids was named by Forbes as one of the top 15 emerging downtowns!
As a very young child, after attending etiquette classes, my mother made certain that I had the experience of being well-traveled. Born in New Jersey and living in numerous other states, I attended the opening of restaurants with my mother’s modeling-world friends and dined at the top of skyscrapers. This instilled an intrinsic need for me to enjoy all aspects of life (especially when it comes to fine dining), and it is to my mother that I am grateful for providing the groundwork that led to the life I now live.
However, being mindful of the food I ate was never a true priority for me until I came to Grand Rapids. It was here that I learned my favorite type of beer tastes “hoppy,” I discovered that the aroma coming from the bakery next to my apartment is a great wake-up call in the morning, and that being a vegetarian led to the best mood/skin/health improvement I’ve ever had. Grand Rapids not only provides dozens upon dozens of avenues to eat out (including my two favorite food trucks: What The Truck and A Moveable Feast), but it also provides the opportunity to eat well. From gluten-free to vegetarian to vegan, Grand Rapids covers it all…and aces the menu.
Whether my boyfriend wants to celebrate the success of another B-Movie Euphoria podcast or my girlfriends want to go out for a night-on-the-town, there is always a new restaurant for us to try. This August, no celebration was needed to venture out to either East Grand Rapids or into the city to try all the different Restaurant Week menus.
The restaurants Nick and I visited this go-around were Terra, Mangiamo, Brewery Vivant, The Mitten Brewing Company, CitySēn Lounge, El Granjero and The Melting Pot. My favorite was a tie between Mangiamo (for their delicious grilled Michigan peach with mascarpone and Michigan-maple balsamic) and The Melting Pot (for the dining experience. A first for me!). All were amazing, though, and I would highly recommend all of them!
If you would like a recommendation for a type of venue or restaurant, I would be happy to help! Until then, for all GR newcomers and habitants, remember the wise words of one of my favorite authors:
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf