Our annual dining awards issue is easily one of my favorite issues of the year. I love recognizing the restaurants that are bringing our community together around the table for celebrations, meaningful conversations, to commiserate about life’s struggles and more. But this year when I began thinking about which restaurants to recognize, the feeling it evoked was much different. The past year has been more difficult for our restaurant community than any other with the threat of closure around every corner.
Normally, in addition to our Top 10 Restaurants, we name the Restaurant of the Year — a restaurant that stood out above all the others, that everyone was clamoring to eat at and return to again and again. But this year, that didn’t seem to make as much sense as in years past. The playing field is uneven with restaurants forced to focus on carryout and creating outdoor dining options since indoor dining was closed or restricted for most of the year. Simply put, dining in 2020 was just completely different. So, this year, we elected not to name a Restaurant of the Year and instead focus equally on our Top 10 Restaurants of 2021, highlighting the ways each of them overcame challenges and persevered.
Restaurants are still struggling, even the ones on this list, so I encourage you to patronize them through carryout orders as much as you can this year. Our vibrant dining scene has helped Grand Rapids become a destination in our state; we don’t want to see it lost to the pandemic.
In addition to highlighting the Top 10 Restaurants of 2021, in this issue you’ll find our Food & Drink section is full of great local businesses, from Brass Ring Brewing in Alger Heights to the newly opened Kaffeine Place, a coffee and small bites shop along the Medical Mile, and Eastown Cereal Café, which opened in Eastown and caters to lovers of classic breakfasts.
Managing Editor, Grand Rapids Magazine
This letter can be found in the March 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here.