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Kibbe Sandwich at Marie Catrib’s

Pietro’s Italian Ristorante 2780 Birchcrest SE. 616-452-3228 ITALIAN. A local tradi- tion for more than 30 years, serving a range of regional Italian cuisine at a variety of price points. From fresh- made pasta to stromboli to gourmet and Chicago-style pizzas, Pietro’s has introduced Grand Rapids to a variety of regional Italian cuisine. Mangia Bene Paisano (“Eat Well, My Friends”).

days. GO THERE FOR: Freshly made pasta. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7

Real Food Cafe 2419 Eastern SE. /5430 Northland Dr. 616-241-4080 BREAKFAST. Locally owned breakfast joint with a classic diner atmosphere. Friendly staff and “real food” highlighted by stuffed and inventive omelettes, as well as other break- fast classics.

Th F Sa Sn. GO THERE FOR: Omelettes.

San Chez Bistro 38 W. Fulton. 616-774-8272 EUROPEAN. Back before downtown GR was bustling and small plates were the rage, there was San Chez. For the better part of two decades, San Chez has been one of the restaurants in Grand Rapids where you could bring your friends from Detroit, Chicago or New York and not have them look down their noses at you. The tapas bistro has excelled at serving up authentic European and Mediterranean cuisine in a fun, laid-back and artful atmosphere.

days. GO THERE FOR: Tapas, Sangria. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: T W

Red Jet Cafe 1431 Plainfield Ave. NE. 616-719-5500 ECLECTIC. The funky restaurant in Creston’s old library is the kind of place you’d find in Chicago’s hip neighborhoods, offering a non-sequitur of menu items that somehow seems to work. Seriously, how many other places in town can you find that serve high-end organic coffees, crepes, wood-fired pizzas and artisan baked goods. Is it a bistro? Is it a coffeehouse? Does it matter?

ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Crepes. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN

Reserve 201 Monroe NW. 616-855-WINE WINE BAR. Upscale wine bar in the shadows of the Amway Grand Plaza has an im- pressive range of wines by the glass – 102 in all – and a couple hundred by the bottle. While it’s a great place to sip, the food doesn’t take a backseat. The cheeses, charcuterie and desserts are nice complements to the wine and bubbly; the small plates are flavorful and “right-sized” in terms of portion and price so you can indulge in more than one.

SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Wine, charcuterie.


Rio Grand Steakhouse 5501 Northland Dr. 616-364-6266 STEAKHOUSE. Inspired by western roadhouses, Rio Grand has been serving up big portions and high-quality mesquite grilled steaks for two decades. Soups are made from scratch, the salads are big (surprise!) and warm bread comes with dinner. Kind of a throwback in an era of chains and upscale, high-end steakhouses. Also offers a $5 lunch, which includes a soft drink.

GO THERE FOR: Steaks. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days.

Rose’s On Reeds Lake 550 Lakeside Dr. SE. 616-458-1122 ECLECTIC. The East Grand Rapids landmark is one of those places that has a different feel in each season. In the summertime, it’s a great spot to hang on the decks and have cocktails and light ap- petizers; when the snow is falling, it’s a warm and cozy spot for a hearty meal and big glass of wine. The menu draws from a multitude of influences including Mediterranean, Italian, and Casual American.

Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Root Chips.

Sandmann’s 1200 Wealthy St. SE. 616-459-0900 BARBECUE. The smell of barbecue wafts through the air at Wealthy and Fuller, making it hard to drive by and not want to stop at this perpetual award winner for GR’s best barbecue. Great ribs, chicken and rib tips, plus Soul Food Sundays for down-home southern goodness.

» SERVING: Breakfast Lunch

Schnitz Deli 1315 E. Fulton. 616-451-4444 DELI. Locally owned New York-style deli. Sandwiches on the Schnitz’s fresh baked bread featuring slow cooked pastrami, corned beef, roast beef and other deli meats, cheeses and condiments. Hearty soups, salads and desserts made from scratch daily.

SERVING: Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Awesome deli sandwiches.


Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Ave. 616-356-2700 TAVERN. The Chicago- style whiskey bar has more than 200 varieties of distilled spirits, old-school video games, a superexcellent jukebox stocked with rock and punk classics, and a menu filled with vegetarian and vegan bar food – and stuffed burg- ers. Did we mention you can sip cans of PBR, Blatz and other classic beers, as well as sangria, out of a mason jar? REVUE’s British ex-pat David Smith, the limey bastard who writes “Emails to Blighty” calls Stella’s his favorite bar in the world.

GO THERE FOR: Vegetarian and vegan bar food. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days.

Six.One.Six 235 Louis NW. 616-242-1448 ECLECTIC. Inspired menus, sweeping views of downtown, and a sophisti- cated ambiance make for one of downtown’s premier spots for sipping cocktails or noshing at any time of the day. The dinner menu has both “small eats” and “big eats” that reflect a variety of global influences (e.g., gastro pubs, sushi), and the lunches are creative takes on familiar themes.

Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Variety and being seen.

» SERVING: Breakfast Lunch

Sundance Grill 40 Pearl St. 616-776-1616 ECLECTIC. Much-loved break- fast and lunch eatery is a favorite for downtown business meetings during the week, and a great weekend spot to avoid the crush at suburban eateries. Sundance also serves dinner, with a tilt toward Southwestern dishes as well as fish, steaks and pasta. Two more words: Margarita Bar. Also has a location on 28th Street.

Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days (hours vary). GO THERE FOR: Southwestern food.

» SERVING: Breakfast Lunch

The Score 5301 Northland Dr. NE. 616-301-0600 SPORTS BAR. Multi-faceted restaurant and sports bar has a lot to offer, including expansive menu with discount options, happy hour specials, countless big screen and projection TVs broadcasting big games and pay-per-view UFC matches, outdoor beach volleyball and live music in the summertime … the list goes on.

Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Sports Bar Atmosphere. W Th F Sa Sn. GO THERE FOR: Barbecue Ribs and Chicken. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: T » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON:

Tavern on the Square 100 Ionia Ave. SW. 616-456-7673 ECLECTIC. The re- fashioned former Irish pub still has that neighborhood feel, and offers up a unique menu with salads, antipasto,

TOP 5Vegetarian Restaurants


LITTLE AFRICA About 90 percent of the Ethiopian menu is vegan, and if you hate soy, you haven’t had it here. Each meal starts with Injera, a thin, light bread that serves as a food scoop for what’s plated in front of you. The Tomato Salad is an infused perfection of garlic, red wine and lime dressing over a garden of tomatoes and green peppers with lettuce. The sumptuous Soy Curry is home-ground soy beans simmered in curry, cayenne and fresh tomato paste. 956 Fulton St. E., Grand Rapids / (616) 222-1169

SAFFRON Although this Indian restaurant may not be on many vegan and vegetarian lists, Executive Chef Kanwarpreet “Channi” Singh will make it to order, even if that means no meat or animal byproduct is preferred. An elegant restaurant, the menu is jammed with vegan and vegetarian options and is the perfect date night escape. 1710 W. Main St. Suite D, Kalamazoo /, (269) 381-9898

MARIE CATRIB’S The Larry David sandwich-burger at Marie Catrib’s is a vegan patty of wild rice, tomato, onion and spices topped with an original tomato jam, spinach, grilled onions and a garlic veganaise (vegan mayo) on your choice of multigrain breads. 1001 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids /, (616) 454-4020

BRICK ROAD PIZZA CO. The Vegan Philly Steak-style sandwich at Brick Road is a seitan mixed with veganaise, green peppers, mushrooms, garlic and onions on white ciabatta bread. The Vegan Garbage Plate will make you loosen your belt a notch to allow room for a mac salad, black bean burger and fried taters on a roll with mustard and ketchup—a vegan meatloaf-like combo of, yes, holy awesome. 1017 Wealthy St., Grand Rapids /, (616) 719-2409

GAIA CAFÉ Gaia is one of the oldest exclusively vegetarian establishments in West Michigan. The Brown Rice Risotto differs daily. You can always count on the B.Y.O.B. to fill you outright—refried beans and brown rice drowning in cheese, chutney, sour cream, scallions, tomatoes and lettuce and crammed in a flour tortilla which will, in turn, be crammed into your mouth. 209 Diamond Ave. SE, Grand Rapids / (616) 454-6233

—By Matt Simpson Siegel REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2011 | 61



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