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DINING


The Pita House 1450 Wealthy St. SE/Monroe Center (downtown)/28th Street. 616-454-1171 MEDITERRANEAN. Gyros so big you can club someone with them, the smoothest hummus in town and other Mediterranean fare, including kibbe, kafta and falafel. Additional locations on 28th Street and Kalamazoo SE. Gyros and other sandwich wraps are made to order with fresh vegetables and ingredients.


OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh pita wraps. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner


Pietro’s Italian Ristorante 2780 Birchcrest SE. 616-452-3228 ITALIAN. A local tradition 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 Chicago-style pizzas, Pietro’s has introduced GR to a variety of regional Italian cuisine. Mangia Bene Paisano (“Eat Well, My Friends”).


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


KNOW YOUR CHEF: Tavern on the Square’s Executive Chef Branden Wilfong


QUICK BIO: I started off at Kent Career Tech for culinary arts, and then I found out that I was actually good at it, so I pursued it further at Grand Rapids Community College and graduated in 1997. My plan was to work under someone else for a couple years, learn all I could, and then move out on my own, and that’s what I did. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, a chef for 13 years, and at the Tavern for just over a year.


WHAT’S THE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Bacon, definitely. Smoked meats are my passion, especially pork.


WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU ATE? I was just munching on a chive blossom in back, made from local product.


WHAT DO YOU DO ON YOUR NIGHTS OFF? I work 80 to 100 hours a week, but when I’m not working I’m a family man. I spend time with my wife and daughter — they are my life outside of this place.


WHAT’S ON YOUR COOKING PLAYLIST? We have something different all the time, usually whatever the guys want to listen to. I’m a country man myself, like Tim


78 | REVUEWM.COM | JULY 2011


McGraw and Scotty McCreery, so either country or classic rock if it’s up to me.


WHAT WAS THE LAST REALLY GREAT RESTAURANT YOU’VE EATEN AT? I was just in Chicago, at the Signature Room in Hancock Towers. It’s where I proposed to my wife, so it’s a meaning- ful place for us. —Interview conducted by Matthew M. Sullivan


Tavern on the Square, 100 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids / (616) 456-7673 / tavernonthesq.com


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 non-sequitur menu items that somehow seem 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?


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


» SERVING:


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.


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


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.


Sn. GO THERE FOR: Barbecue Ribs and Chicken. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: T W Th F Sa


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.


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


Six.One.Six. 235 Louis St. NW. 616-242-1448 ECLECTIC. Market- inspired menus, sweeping views and progressive rhythms combine to create a memorable dining experience. The dishes tempt taste buds and is the perfect spot for foodies.


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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 burgers. 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.


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


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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 vol- leyball and live music in the summertime … the list goes on.


» SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Sports Bar Atmosphere.


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, appetizers, a pub burger, and an array of unique “Yankee Tapas” like Seared PBJ Tuna, Anaheim Chile Rellenos and the ultimate West Side tapas: Pierogies. A hodgepodge to be sure, but fun.


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


Twisted Rooster 1600 E. Beltline. 616-301-8171 ECLECTIC. The former chain restaurant has been “unchained” into a unique independent restaurant serving classic comfort foods with a twist. The lobster mac-and-cheese is a new “to-die-for” dish in the GR area and the barbecue rates highly with REVUE Food Writer Matt Simpson Siegel. The menu changes seasonally and focuses on using local suppliers. The lounge is comfortable, featuring live music once a week.


ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mac and Cheese.


» SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN


Vito’s Pizza 658 W. Fulton. (616) 451-8277 PIZZA. In business for 31 years, Vito’s is recently remodeled and will be featured in the film 30 Minutes or Less this August. It offers college discounts, lunch and late night deliveries.


Lunch and dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Late night pizza.


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The Winchester 648 Wealthy St. SE. 616-451-4969 ECLECTIC. Upscale Wealthy Street bar and restaurant feels like it was plucked from Chicago’s Bucktown or Logan Square neighborhoods. A comfortable spot to drink or dine, with an always evolving menu featuring shared plates, salads and inventive sand- wiches. The Cuban Reuben, originally created as something of a joke, remains a (very tasty) staple item.


Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: DIY Bloody Mary Bar Special, Yucca Fries.


» SERVING: » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch


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


Wolfgang’s Restaurant 1530 Wealthy St. SE. 616-454-5776 BREAKFAST. The bus- tling Eastown breakfast spot is home to some of the heartiest breakfast dishes and funniest menu descriptions. Courteous staff never fails to offer a cup of coffee to go after we’ve


SCHEDULE


DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE


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