Grand Rapids for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

If there’s one thing I love more than anything else, it’s a good meal. If there are two things I love, they’re eating a good meal and not doing the dishes after. Fortunately for me, I live in Grand Rapids and there’s no better place to go out to eat than right here. Any time, day or night, there’s something good cookin’ up, so let me tell you about a few of my favorites.

Breakfast

 

Grand Rapids for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner-The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Brian Murray

Brandywine
1345 Lake Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
7:00am – 8:00pm Monday-Friday
7:30am – 8:00pm Saturday
8:00am – 2:30pm Sunday

Brandywine has depth than its narrow storefront suggests. With its neutral colors and photos covering the walls, sitting down at Brandywine feels more like settling into a giant family dining room than it does going out to eat. The friendly service and excellent chow only further that illusion. The Greek God Omelet is to die for, especially with a cup of hazelnut coffee and a side of hash browns. If nothing on the menu sounds good, you’re free to build your own omelet or scramble with as many of their deluxe toppings as you could possibly want.

The Real Food Cafe
2419 Eastern Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Closed Monday
6:00am – 2:00pm Tuesday-Friday
7:00am – 2:00pm Saturday
8:00am – 2:00pm Sunday

For breakfast at The Real Food Cafe, you’re going to need two things: cash and a healthy appetite. (You won’t need a lot of cash, but that’s the preferred payment.) The big appetite is the more important part: they do not play around. I can usually really put the food away, but there’s no way I leave The Real Food Cafe without a doggy bag. Whether I’m getting a hearty omelet or pancakes the size of my head, I always walk out feeling fat and happy.

Wolfgang’s
1530 Wealthy Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
6:30am – 2:30 pm Monday-Friday
7:00am – 4:00 pm Saturday-sunday

If you’re closer to the Eastown area, Wolfgang’s is always a solid choice. They’ve been around longer than I’ve been alive, the history shows in their inventive dishes, many of which are named after some of Matt Wolfgang’s friends. My personal favorite is the Richard App, an omelet piled high with Cajun sausage, onions, beans, and salsa. On the sweeter side, the Victoria Upton pancakes are truly unique, with mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder, to resemble tiramisu, that traditional Italian dessert.

Lunch

Marie Catrib’s
1001-1003 Lake Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
11:00am – 8:00pm Monday-Friday
12:00pm – 4:00pm Saturday
Closed Sunday

If it’s sandwiches you’re in the mood for, Marie Catrib’s is the place to be. And we’re not talking peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese (although they do have a grilled cheese that’s absolutely divine); we’re talking sweet potato and quinoa on a grilled oat bun. With many vegetarian options, Marie Catrib’s is not the ordinary sammy shop. If you’re hoping for something to satisfy your inner carnivore, try the Salmon Surprise. And no, I won’t tell you what the surprise is. You’ll have to go and see for yourself.

Yesterdog

Grand Rapids for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner-The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Brian Murray

1505 Wealthy Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
10:30am – 2:30am Monday-Saturday
10:30am – 9:00pm Sunday

Grand Rapids locals are probably wondering why I’ve put everyone’s favorite after-midnight treat in my lunch section. Excellent question, neighbors, and I’ll tell you. Yesterdog is packed in the evening, so showing up for lunch can help you dodge the lines. All of their hotdogs come loaded down with toppings. An Ultradog has chili, cheese, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mustard; eating it without ruining your shirt is half the fun. Just make sure you come with cash. Try to pay with a card and you’ll be out of luck. They may also make fun of you a little.

The Electric Cheetah
1015 Wealthy Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
11:00am – 9:00pm Monday-Wednesday
11:00am – 10:00pm Thursday-Saturday
10:00am – 4:00pm Sunday

This joint won’t disappoint you with their wide selection of delightful dishes. They have a lot of great fare for vegetarians, and a very impressive macaroni and cheese section. (Any macaroni and cheese section that consists of more than “macaroni and cheese” sounds impressive, but they take some liberty with it.) All of their mac and cheese is baked, and you can get it with seafood, bacon, sausage, or roasted tomatoes. Their meatloaf mac and cheese is the perfect rib-sticking hot meal for a frigid Michigan afternoon.

Dinner

The Green Well
924 Cherry Street
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506
11:00am – 10:00pm Sunday-Thursday
11:00am – 12:00am Friday-Saturday

If you’re feeling environmental, check out The Green Well. This little gastro pub is LEED certified, meaning it as a building makes next to no impact on the world. It also has some of the best vegetarian cuisine I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Gastro pubs, if you’re not familiar with the term, are restaurants that specialize in delivering high-quality food and that cozy pub atmosphere. Make sure you ask after the grilled vegetable and goat cheese quesadilla, and wash it down with one of their awesome Michigan craft beers.

Grand Rapids for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner-The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Brian Murray

Rose’s
550 Lakeside Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
11:00am – 11:00pm Monday-Saturday
11:00am – 9:00pm Sunday

On the shores of beautiful Reeds Lake, Rose’s has an atmosphere you can’t beat. Even in the dead of winter you can’t help feeling warm when you walk in, and not just because of the full bar. In warmer months, you can sit on a deck and look out over the water. This time of year, you might be more comfortable by the crackling fireplace. No matter what time of year, they have great salads, pasta dishes like papperdelle, and much more.

San Chez
38 West Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
12:00pm – 10:00pm Sunday-Thursday
12:00pm – 11:00pm Friday-Saturday

San Chez is one of the more unique dining experiences in Grand Rapids. It’s a tapas bistro, which means that guests order a selection of smaller items to share with the rest of the table. This Spanish convention is a great way to try something new, and there’s plenty of dishes that might come as a surprise–like saffron rice fritters with bacon and shrimp, or sauteed squid and ham.

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Grand Rapids is a great city to grab a bite to eat. There are countless other restaurants to check out if you’re in town. And if you’re at a loss, just go for a drive through downtown and I promise you’ll find something awesome.

Brian Murray – Feature Writer