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East Hills and Wealthy are the perfect areas to get away from the mundane. If you don’t like what’s playing at the cinema, visit Wealthy Theatre for throwback movies or artistic performances. If you’re sick of chain restau- rants, these places are bursting with unique eateries, that, most of the time, have local ingredients. You can also skip the mall and shop the boutiques, which have items that fit any price range. I suggest you bring walk- ing shoes and leave a weekend to explore.



REEN WELL GASTRO PUB ( 9 2 4 Che r r y St.) is the best res taurant in Grand Rapids. Whether it’s the locally sourced

ingredients, inventive chefs, creative entrées, local brews, or knowledgeable staff, a trip to the Green Well is always memorable. The restaurant calls itself a gastro pub, which refers to the gour- met selections offered in a casual and friendly pub-like atmosphere. Can’t- miss options include Baked Local Goat Cheese as an appetizer, the Michigan Maple Whiskey Chicken over risotto and Vegetable-Quinoa Salad as entrées and French Toast á la mode for dessert. Pair that with an Organic Cucumber Cocktail and a cabernet by Black Star Farms and your belly will thank you. A little bird has told me that if you ask nicely, you may join the Green Well Cartel, which is a mysterious and exclusive group of foodies.

THE ELECTRIC CHEETAH (1015 Wealthy St.) brought foodies to Wealthy Street. Chef Cory DeMint’s kitchen cooks traditional comfort food made with a twist. When asked about the fall menu, Mike the restaurant manager said it would feature heavier fare like Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Chicken Pot Pie. The restaurant is also known for excellent sandwiches, such as the Cranberry Chicken Salad and the Pineapple Pulled Pork. Complement your meal with a frosty root beer – 20 varieties – and one of Jenna’s home- made desserts. Full brunch menus are offered on Saturday and Sunday and by

the end of 2010 it should have secured a liquor license.

MARIE CATRIB’S (1001 Lake Dr.) serves food that is fun and healthy. Run by Marie and her son Fouad, this bright and friendly shop includes a lively res- taurant, busy delicatessen, and thriving catering business. The food is influenced by Marie’s Lebanese roots and is made with locally sourced ingredients. The lunch crowd is the Who’s Who of Grand Rapids, so get there early. Order a selec- tion of food and be sure to share. Try the Trio of Dips, hummous, baba ghanouj, and tzatziki sauce with pita chips, as an appetizer. Poppa Steve likes the Sweet ‘N Sassy Ham Sandwich with caramel- ized onions. The mellow Miss Carolita orders the Salmon Surprise Sandwich, which is grilled with a maple-ginger-lime marinade. Don’t forget to get a couple salads to go for a light dinner.

Explore your inner self at THE YOGA STUDIO (955 Cherry St.), the oldest yoga establishment in Grand Rapids. Founded by Carolyn Heines in 1979, the studio has been located all over East Hills and Eastown. The studio is known for teaching hatha yoga, with an emphasis on proper alignment and the spiritual aspect of the practice. With five instructors certified in the rigorous Iyengar system, this is not “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.” Everyone is welcome, re- gardless of age or physical ability. “Just bring an open mind,”said Carolyn. Classes are offered in eight-week ses- sions from Level 1 through Level 3 as well as Gentle Yoga. Sigh. On Jan. 29, the studio will celebrate Carolyn’s trans- fer of ownership to long-time instructor Kat McKinney.

by Steven Geoffrey

de Polo

East Hills offers many other dining and drinking options that bear investigation. The MEANWHILE BAR (1005 Wealthy St.) is the hipster Valhalla. Check out the ruby red interior, stuffed shark, up-to- the-second jukebox, and five pinball machines. On Wednesdays it has $2 wine specials and on Thursdays its 13 Michigan beers on tap are half off. The WEALTHY STREET STATION DELI AND GRILL (1157 Wealthy St.) offers tasty American, Mexican, and Polish choices. Try the world-famous Station Burger, spicy with fried jalapenos, or the Polish Dinner with kielbasas made by Lewandoski’s Market.

CHERRY DELI & CATERING (834 Cherry St.) boasts a 70-item menu of gourmet sandwiches and salads named after local streets as well as inventive soups. Try the East Hills Sandwich, turkey and apple smoked bacon on a Panini, and a bowl of the Banana Pumpkin Soup for a hearty lunch. ERB THAI (950 Wealthy St.) adds a little spice to the neighborhood. Owner Lisa Her opened six months ago and her simple storefront restaurant offers more than 200 authentic Thai meals, with several vegan options. The Peanut Curry Noodles and Lime Leaf Curry make a fragrant and flavorful meal. BRICK ROAD PIZZA (1017 Wealthy St.) is a rambling pizza shop with colorful murals and mosaic-covered tables. Get one of its authentic pizzas with a crisp-

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