We ate so you can, too


For nearly five months, I’ve gorged myself eating out at restaurants across Grand Rapids, asking anyone and everyone their favorite joints and then stopping in to taste the fare.

As I come up for a breath, one must first acknowledge Grand Rapids is not a top-tier U.S. culinary destination like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas — my temporary home city from 2017-2021.

But Grand Rapids has made incredible strides the past 25 years, particularly the past decade or so. The top restaurants continue to innovate and push the ceiling higher. There are restaurants here that can slip into those markets without blinking an eye. Then there also are gems hidden across the region, serving up delicious morsels of food.

Putting together a list of Best Restaurants is not easy and it will never be without controversy. Then combine the already tough
task with the two-year struggle each restaurant has had to continue outstanding services for dedicated diners. The list is not without its flaws; deserving restaurants likely are left off for one reason or another.

I consider myself a foodie, traveling the U.S. and globe eating foods of all sorts while consuming any culinary media available. But everyone has different tastes. As always, please shoot me a note to share your favorite dining experiences in the area. Who knows what we might find ourselves loving in 2022?

Elsewhere in the magazine, we highlight the surge in new businesses coming downtown, the Grand Rapids Public Library’s first Black assistant director and some of the city’s talented poets.

We also try out some newer restaurants, like Café Mamo and KROK, and explore the surging nonalcoholic beverage trend.

Now, back to dining out for next year.

Kelsey Dunneback. Courtesy Kelsey Dunneback

Highlighted Contributor: Kelsey Dunneback

What are your favorite spots to eat in Grand Rapids?

Butcher’s Union for any occasion, Ato Sushi for a casual lunch or takeout and Knoop Rooftop or Portico for cozy, yet elevated dinner or happy hour! I’m a big breakfast foodie, so I love Tupelo Honey for brunch.

Do you frequent the same places, or do you like to spread the love?

I love to try new places, which is easy with so many new restaurants opening up! I find it keeps me moving out of my comfort zone and potentially introduces me to a new favorite cuisine or culture. I’ve heard such good things about Café Mamo so that’s next on my list!

This story can be found in the March/April 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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