When people think Grand Rapids, beer immediately comes to mind. However, it is a place that is quickly becoming a coffee destination. One of the more well-known shops and brands in the fast growing Grand Rapids coffee scene is Rowster Coffee. On an early morning, I ventured to the West Side neighborhood to scope out their new venture and second shop, Rower’s Club.
I met with someone from the marketing department and the vice president for Rowster Coffee in their new urban café. This sits within the mixed-use Fulton Place building. During our meeting, I enjoyed a pour over coffee from a clever dripper using their Burundi beans. I learned about the shop, their inspirations and goals, and what makes it a unique experience from their Wealthy Street counterpart.
Coffee shops are light on the West Side, so it was nice seeing a spot open up near the Grand Valley State University campus. The people of Grand Valley are known as “Lakers.” The Grand Valley Lakers were part of the inspiration in naming the Rower’s Club. Additionally, Rower’s is close to the Grand River and they support the Grand Valley rowing team. They wanted to have a unique identity from the Wealthy Street shop. Everything behind the scenes is still Rowster, including their fresh coffee beans.
Back to the water theme, you’ll immediately notice the large community table in the middle of the open and modern space. Looking at it closer, you’ll notice something you probably haven’t seen before. The table is part of the old green grating of the Mackinac Bridge that was bought in an auction. When you are sitting at this table, you are sitting alongside part of what spanned five miles of water over Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
All of the images and fixtures throughout the area are constant reminders of water. There is even a big, blue rowing oar that sits alongside one of the walls, leading up to their industrial ceilings.
After our meeting, I enjoyed the rest of my stay with a Cortado coffee. I chatted with both baristas and walked around the shop inside-and-out. I enjoyed soaking in the scene at the tall seats alongside the larger-than-life windows. All the natural lighting is beautiful. It is quite a different scene from the original Rowster Coffee shop that has a darker, more intimate feel.
Rower’s Club is definitely a place of its own. I found this Grand Rapids coffee shop to be a great space to have a meeting, get some work done, or just enjoy some top notch coffee.
My face lit up when looking at the menu and saw ‘Fast Coffee’ proceeded by ‘Slow Coffee.’ I had never seen it presented that way before. I sipped the ‘slow’ (pour over coffee) versus the basic drip (ready-to-go ‘fast coffee’ for those on the move). Waiting those extra few minutes and watching Rower’s Club craft the coffee makes it that much better. You’ll never get a bad cup no matter what you order. They also serve lattes, nitro brew, tea, iced coffee, cappuccinos, kombucha, seasonal drink options, and more.
You will see me alongside that Mackinac community table again soon, sipping more Rower’s Club and Grand Rapids coffee. It’s a welcomed addition to the West Side community.
Have you been to the Rower’s Club or Rowsters Coffee yet? What Grand Rapids coffee spots do you recommend?