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Best Museum: Grand Rapids Public Museum. You can say you don’t think the 76-foot fin whale skeleton isn’t the coolest thing ever, but we won’t believe you.

Best of Grand Rapids Readers Poll
How much do you love this city?
Let us count the ways.

By Alexandra Fluegel and Marty Primeau
Photography by Johnny Quirin

Back in June, our staff began the arduous task of collecting and counting your votes for the people, places and companies you can’t get enough of.

The skies rained submissions, our mailboxes overflowed with your ballots, and we began to wonder, “Is this the only way?” Some readers suggested, “You should make voting electronic,” while others asked, “Isn’t there an app for this?” and to that we say: No.

There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing piles of paper ballots filling our workspaces and knowing we’ve been entrusted with the task of listening to your voices and finding out what makes Grand Rapids sing.

Over the years, we have developed a highly complex system of tallying votes that makes our error margins non-existent and gives us results you can trust: We count them. By hand. Day after day after day.

This year marks the largest number of votes in history and includes 72 categories. Eleven of the categories are brand-new options that reflect the changing interests of the city and the ever-expanding options of where to go and what to do.

So without further ado, we present this year’s Best of Grand Rapids as voted by you and counted by us — your friends with all the paper cuts. We’ve also included some staff favorites to keep things interesting.

The Best:
San Chez, A Tapas Bistro
Other favorites: Uccello’s
Bonefish Grill

The Best:
Wealthy Street Bakery
Other favorites: Arnie’s
Nantucket Baking Co.

The Best:
Sandmann’s Kitchen
Other favorites: Honey Creek Inn
Z’s Bar & Restaurant

The Best:
Other favorites: Real Food Café
The Omelette Shoppe

The Best:
Stella’s Lounge
Other favorites: Cottage Bar
Mr. Burger

The Best:
Arnie’s Bakery & Restaurant
Other favorites: Cakabakery
Sugar Momma’s Bakery & Café

Date Night Restaurant
The Best:
Other favorites: Bistro Bella Vita
San Chez, A Tapas Bistro

The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: Marie Catrib’s
G.B. Russo & Son

Food Truck
The Best:
What the Truck
Other favorites: The Silver Spork (has since closed)

Gluten-Free Cuisine
The Best:
Marie Catrib’s
Other favorites: San Chez, A Tapas Bistro
Bartertown Diner


Best Burger: Stella’s Lounge –
Come for the whiskey, stay for the burgers.

Ice Cream Shoppe
The Best:
Jersey Junction
Other favorites: Spoonlickers
Burlingame Dairy Dip

Outdoor/Deck Seating
The Best:
Other favorites: Blue Water Grill
Bostwick Lake Inn

The Best:
Other favorites: Uccello’s
Brick Road Pizza Co.

The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: Women’s City Club
Founders Brewing Co.

The Best:
Other favorites: Charley’s Crab
Bonefish Grill

The Best:
Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop
Other favorites: Women’s City Club
Marie Catrib’s

The Best:
The Chop House
Other favorites: Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Louis Benton Steakhouse

The Best:
Maru Sushi & Grill
Other favorites: Ju Sushi & Lounge


Best Gluten-Free Cuisine; Best Vegan; Best Vegetarian: Marie Catrib’s –
Loved for its herbivore-friendly options, this East Hills staple has something for everybody, including a delicatessen filled
with tons of things to take home.

Vegan Cuisine
The Best:
Marie Catrib’s
Other favorites: Bartertown Diner
Gaia Café

Vegetarian Cuisine
The Best:
Marie Catrib’s
Other favorites: Bartertown Diner
Gaia Café

Bottoms Up
The Best:
Other favorites: HopCat
Founders Brewing Co.

Beer & Wine Merchant
The Best:
Martha’s Vineyard
Other favorites: G.B. Russo & Son
Siciliano’s Market

The Best:
Founders Brewing Co.
Other favorites: Perrin Brewing Co.
Brewery Vivant

Local Beer
The Best:
Founders All Day IPA
Other favorites: Bell’s Oberon
Founders Dirty Bastard

The Best: Biggby Coffee
Other favorites: MadCap Coffee Co.
Kava House

Restaurant Wine List
The Best:
Reserve Wine & Food
Other favorites: Bar Divani
The Chop House

Animal Clinic
The Best:
Cascade Hospital for Animals
Other favorites: Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
Southkent Veterinary Hospital

Auto Repair
The Best:
Verburg’s Automotive Services
Other favorites: Veenstra’s Garage
Cascade Automotive

The Best:
Macatawa Bank
Other favorites: Chase
Fifth Third Bank

The Best:
Jude’s Barbershop
Other favorites: Cascade Barber Shop
Forest Hills Barber Shop

Car Wash
The Best:
Southland Auto Wash
Other favorites: Waterworks Car Wash
Cascade Car Wash

The Best:
Brann’s Catering
Other favorites: Martha’s Vineyard
The Gilmore Collection

Chiropractic Center
The Best:
Harrison Chiropractic Center
Other favorites: The Chiropractic Doctors
Kooistra Chiropractic Clinic

Credit Union
The Best:
Lake Michigan Credit Union
Other favorites: Option 1 Credit Union
Credit Union One

The Best:
Thomas J. Lambert, DDS
Other favorites: Michael J. Crete, DDS
Karen O’Rourke, DDS

The Best:
Richard J. Ashack, MD
Other favorites: Marek A. Stawiski, MD
Robert Lamberts, MD

Dry Cleaner
The Best:
Sheldon Cleaners
Other favorites: Afendoulis Cleaners & Tuxedos
Curtis Cleaners

Hair Salon
The Best:
Design 1 Salon Spa
Other favorites: Jeffrey Richard Salon
Panopoulos Salons

Landscaping Company
The Best:
Harder & Warner Landscaping
Other favorites: Kappes Landscapes Inc.
Rooks Landscaping

Law Firm
The Best:
Other favorites: Warner Norcross & Judd Velzen
Johnsen & Wikander PC

The Best:
Design 1 Salon Spa
Other favorites: Nailcessity
LUV Manicures & Pedicures

Plastic Surgeon
The Best:
Bradley P. Bengtson, MD
Other favorites: Scott R. Brundage, MD
John D. Renucci, MD

Real Estate Co.
The Best:
RE/MAX of Grand Rapids Inc.
Other favorites: Keller Williams Realty
Five Star Real Estate

Retirement Community
The Best:
Porter Hills Retirement Communities & Services
Other favorites: Clark Retirement Community
Holland Home

Tattoo Parlor
The Best:
Mos Eisleys
Other favorites: Screaming Needle Tattoo Co.
Wealthy Street Tattoo

Antique Shop
The Best:
Other favorites: Eastown Antiques
City Antiques

Art Gallery
The Best:
LaFontsee Galleries
Other favorites: The Richard App Gallery
Gallery 154

Auto Dealership
The Best:
Fox Motors
Other favorites: Kool Chevrolet/Toyota
Todd Wenzel Automotive

Bicycle Shop
The Best:
Ada Bike Shop
Other favorites: Village Bike & Fitness
Freewheeler Bike Shop

The Best:
Schuler Books & Music
Other favorites: Barnes & Noble
Baker Book House


Best Farmers Market: Fulton Street Farmers Market – The completed expansion of the market this year made this beloved place more popular than ever.

Cigar Shop
The Best:
Tuttle’s Select Cigars & Tobaccos
Other favorites: Buffalo Tobacco Traders
Grand River Cigar

Farmers Market
The Best:
Fulton Street Farmers Market
Other favorites: Downtown Market
Rockford Farm Market

The Best:
Eastern Floral
Other favorites: Kennedy’s Flower Shop
Sunnyslope Floral

Furniture Store
The Best:
Talsma Furniture
Other favorites: Klingman’s Furniture
Art Van

Garden Center
The Best:
Fruit Basket Flowerland
Other favorites: Romence Gardens & Greenhouses
Countryside Greenhouse

Grocery Store
The Best:
Other favorites: Forest Hills Foods
D&W Fresh Market

Gourmet Food Shop
The Best:
G.B. Russo & Son
Other favorites: Martha’s Vineyard
Art of the Table

Home Accessories
The Best:
Wealthy At Charles
Other favorites: UbU Home Furnishings
Design Quest

Jewelry Store
The Best:
Siegel Jewelers Inc.
Other favorites: DeVries Jewelers
Almassian Jewelers

Men’s Apparel
The Best:
Other favorites: JoS. A. Bank
Fitzgerald’s Men’s Store

The Best:
Georgie’s Consignment Clothing
Other favorites: Goodwill
Urban Exchange

Women’s Apparel
The Best: Leigh’s
Other favorites: Lee & Birch

Annual Festival
The Best: ArtPrize
Other favorites: Festival of the Arts
Celebration on the Grand

Athletic Club
The Best: MVP
Other favorites: YMCA

The Best: Ben Tobar
Other favorites: Blair Badge
Liz Della Croce

Golf Course
The Best: Thousand Oaks Golf Club
Other favorites: Egypt Valley Country Club
The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe

The Best: Grand Rapids Public Museum
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Art Museum
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Performing Arts
The Best: Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Symphony
Circle Theatre

Public Park
The Best: Millennium Park
Other favorites: Riverside Park
John Ball Zoological Garden

Shopping Mall
The Best: Woodland Mall
Other favorites: RiverTown Crossings
Breton Village

Tourist Attraction
The Best: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: ArtPrize
The museums

Yoga Studio
The Best: The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse
Other favorites:
From The Heart Yoga Center
Seva Yoga

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