Each year, Grand Rapids Magazine readers get to declare the Best Of Grand Rapids winners. Readers then get to add a long directory of people, places, and things to eat and drink to their see-and-do list, courtesy of suggestions from people with similar interests.
The past year was still a strange time, still a difficult go for many businesses because of effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the poll’s 19th year, these people and businesses stood out to West Michigan residents, so check out the winners in more than 100 categories and let us know your thoughts on social media, using #bestofgr.
- San Chez
Runner up: Rockwell Republic
In the early 1990s, Spanish tapas were all the rage.
So, when San Chez, a Tapas Bistro opened in late 1992 — when downtown Grand Rapids was but a glimmer in the eyes of those who made it what it is today — West Michigan patrons loved it.
They still love it.
Tapas are meant to be shared, and the menu at San Chez can read like a big selection of appetizers, which helps explain why readers voted it Best Appetizers in Grand Rapids.
While the appetizer-esque menu is a hit for dinner, the 2004 addition of San Chez Café allows the restaurant to offer more substantial breakfast, brunch and lunch options, as well.
The Spanish tapas menu has something for almost everyone, from meats, cheeses and breads to a full lineup of vegetarian items and plenty of seafood selections. For a nice hearty meal in the same Spanish style, go for paella, which can take a bit longer to prepare than other menu items but is well worth the wait.
While San Chez offers perhaps the best appetizers in Grand Rapids, the eatery is capable of creating an ample meal for dinner customers.
- Nantucket Baking Co.
Runner up: Field & Fire
Walk into Nantucket Baking Company’s Lyon Street storefront and prepare for a sensory overload that will baffle the decision-making process.
From a hearty loaf of sourdough to a delicate pastry, the bakers at Nantucket have figured out what Grand Radians like out of an oven.
Regular customers are sure to have their favorites, but here’s a quick guide for a first-time visitor. Start with the bread selection:
- Polish rye
- San Francisco sourdough
- Garlic parmesan
Nantucket also recently opened a new facility on Fuller Street NE to help keep the fresh supply of baked items flowing in West Michigan.
The bakery also supplies plenty of other Grand Rapids Best Of honorees with its baked goods, including Founders Brewing, Mitten Brewing Co. and Two Scotts BBQ.
- Stella’s Lounge
Runner up: O’Toole’s Public House
With old-school arcade games, more than 250 kinds of whiskey, and giant stuffed burgers voted the Best Burger in America by GQ in 2012, Stella’s Lounge has a lively yet easygoing atmosphere like no other.
- Two Scotts Barbecue
Runner up: Daddy Pete’s BBQ
While the two Scotts behind Two Scotts Barbecue describe themselves as regular guys, their barbecue skills are anything but.
When Scott Hartmann and Scott Leucht were setting up shop in an old root beer stand at 536 Leonard St. NW, they wanted to make sure Grand Rapids had a barbecue restaurant that could hang with the joints they visited in travels across the country.
The meats are well worth the wait that sometimes accompanies a visit to Two Scotts, and those delectable meats the reason the restaurant was voted Best Barbecue in Grand Rapids.
From the delicious chicken and full racks of ribs to melt-in-your-mouth brisket and the piled-high sandwiches, Two Scotts is a place to satisfy those carnivorous cravings.
Beer & Wine Store
- Martha’s Vineyard
Runner up: Rishi’s International Beverage
From its collection of international and local craft beers and wide selection of global wines to its custom deli trays and cut-to-order cheeses, Martha’s Vineyard is Grand Rapids’ best beer & wine store and specialty grocer for a number of reasons, all of which you’ll enjoy.
- Rockwell Republic
Runner up: Sundance Grill & Bar
A lively gastropub located in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids, Rockwell Republic offers a casual yet energetic environment alongside a menu filled with a variety of seasonal, handcrafted cuisine.
- Anna’s House
Runner up: Real Food Cafe
Since 2002, Anna’s House has provided West Michigan with a bright, homey atmosphere and an extensive breakfast and brunch menu that fits a variety of dietary lifestyles. The hand-painted murals, high-quality service, and fresh, local dishes create a retro diner experience everyone can enjoy.
- Founders Brewing
Runner up: Mitten Brewing
As one of the largest craft breweries in the country, Founders has been a staple in Grand Rapids for over two decades. Founders offers one-of-kind beers and a deli menu full of classic shareable plates, sandwiches, and pizzas.
- Morning Belle
Runner up: Michigan Drag Brunch
Morning Belle creates a vibrant, friendly atmosphere with a brunch menu full of fresh dishes for any palate. With one location on the East Beltline and another on Bridge Street, both Morning Belle eateries serve as an excellent brunch setting for everyone.
- Stella’s Lounge
Runner up: Noco Provisions
- Beltline Bar
Runner up: Cantina Mexican Grill
Since 1953, Beltline Bar has served Grand Rapids with an extensive Tex-Mex menu, including its signature, award-winning wet burrito. While it has expanded and evolved throughout the years, Beltline Bar continues to use original recipes from 1966 and provide the best burritos in Grand Rapids.
- Sobie Meats
Runner up: Louise Earl Butcher
Since opening in 2004, Sobie Meats has become famous for its ready-to-serve pulled-pork, friendliness to patrons, and endearing slogan: “Home of the Free Butt Rub,” in honor of its signature rub for smoked pork butts.
- Martha’s Catering
Runner up: Kangaroo Kitchen
After years of public clamor, Martha’s Vineyard began offering catering services a little over 15 years ago and opened Martha’s Catering. That proved to be a wise move. Martha’s Catering strives to create memorable weddings, corporate and social events for all customers with its talented team of chefs and event planners.
- Chef Jenna Arcidiacono, Amore
Runners up: Kevin VanderMeer, KJ Catering; Oscar Moreno, MeXo
Award-winning chef Jenna Arcidiacono opened Amore Trattoria in 2010, serving Italian cuisine that combines both her diverse culinary experiences with her mother-in-law’s old familial recipes. Chef Jenna creates remarkable dining experiences with her passion for food, charisma and hard work.
Runner up: Sparrows Coffee & Tea
The creative and highly skilled team of coffee-bean growers and baristas at Madcap Coffee Company have provided coffee-lovers in Grand Rapids and Detroit with high-quality coffee and a lively, welcoming atmosphere since 2008.
- Long Road Distillers
- Runner up: Eastern Kille
Along with the world-class spirits made at the distillery, Long Road Distillers’ cocktail program also creates drinks that tickle tastebuds. Beyond the bartenders whipping up cocktails at the bar, Long Road also packages some of its more popular cocktails for at-home enjoyment.
- The Salted Cupcake
Runner up: Cakabakery
The Salted Cupcake serves a variety of delicious, creative cupcakes baked fresh each day, with classic cupcakes flavors served daily and additional flavors that change weekly. From walk-in orders and online ordering to wedding catering and a rentable cupcake truck, The Salted Cupcake provides dessert for anyone and any occasion.
Date Night Restaurant
- Butcher’s Union
Runner up: MDRD
Butcher’s Union has served an extensive and diverse selection of food, cocktails and whiskey since 2017. Butcher’s Union is passionate about serving locally sourced ingredients, being a positive influence in the community, and creating a welcoming and intimate atmosphere for guests.
Runner up: MDRD
Since 2004, Leo’s Seafood Restaurant and Bar has provided guests with a sophisticated dining experience in the heart of Grand Rapids through exquisite seafood cuisine, an elegant dining room and a more laid-back (yet vibrant) bar and lounge area.
- Real Food Café
Runner up: Royals
Since the first location opened in 2000, and the second in 2006, Real Food Café has offered guests an inviting and cozy environment for breakfast and lunch, serving a wide-ranging menu of fresh, handcrafted, classic diner dishes.
- Long Road Distillers
Runner up: Eastern Kille
- Marge’s Donut Den
Runner up: Sandy’s Donuts
From the wide range of doughnuts and cookies to custom cakes and cupcakes for any special occasion, Marge’s Donut Den has offered fresh, high-quality baked goods and a warm, welcoming environment for all customers since 1975.
- Patty Matters
Runners up: Two Bones BBQ, What the Truck, Pizza Parliament
Serving a variety of creative, gourmet burgers and sides, Patty Matters travels all over the state and is the first food truck in West Michigan to operate year-round, specializing in large events while being available for private events as well.
Runner up: Stella’s Lounge
In 2008, the original HopCat location opened in Grand Rapids, offering a unique food and beverage menu and an environment that varies between its nine locations throughout the Midwest. HopCat’s famous fries were voted one of the top 10 French fries in America by Food Network Magazine.
- The Pump House
Runner up: Sweet Yo’s
With more than a dozen ever-changing flavors of custard, yogurt, sorbet and gelato and what feels like endless toppings, The Pump House provides do-it-yourself dessert at four different locations in a bubbly, casual atmosphere.
- Grand Coney
Runner up: Wolfgang’s Restaurant
Grand Coney Diner serves classic diner dishes and creates an enjoyable, laid-back environment for all. Grand Coney has two locations in West Michigan, one in Allendale and one in Grand Rapids, with the latter open 24 hours a day on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A perfect schedule for those hangover blues!
- Rockwell Republic
Runner up: Queen’s O’Clock
- Vander Mill
Runner up: Farmhaus Cider
Since its humble beginnings in 2006, Vander Mill has become one of the biggest cider makers in the Midwest. Along with the significant cider operation that has grown with demand and cultivating a great supply of heritage apples, its taproom offers up a fine selection of food.
Runner up: Mad Dogz
A Grand Rapids favorite since 1976, Yesterdog provides both classic and creative hot dogs in a lively and unique environment filled with vintage posters, pictures with celebrity icons and sports memorabilia.
Ice Cream Parlor
- Jersey Junction
Runner up: Frosty Boy
Established in 1963, Jersey Junction is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in East Grand Rapids that offers a wide range of Hudsonville Ice Cream. From the school benches covered in customer signatures to the model Polar Express that wraps around the shop, Jersey Junction creates a nostalgic, welcoming atmosphere for all.
Late Night Drinks & Dining
- Stella’s Lounge
Runner up: Z’s Bar & Restaurant
Mac & Cheese
- Electric Cheetah
Runner up: HopCat
In The Electric Cheetah’s vibrant and unique atmosphere, it serves a menu packed with innovative, made from scratch, savory dishes and a variety of drinks, including its famous draft root beer.
- Sheshco Mediterranean Grill
Runner up: Zeytin Turkish Restaurant
Since opening its doors in 2012, Sheshco Mediterranean Grill has provided a wide-ranging menu of traditional Mediterranean dishes made fresh daily and fosters a family-friendly, inviting setting for all guests.
Runner up: The Score
Opened in 1992 and sitting on the shore of Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, Rose’s serves a combination of Italian, American and Mediterranean cuisine and provides a stunning, serene view of the lake from its four-season deck.
- Mitten Brewing
- Runner up: Harmony Brewing
Mitten Brewing Company is a microbrewery and pizzeria with an old-fashioned baseball theme, serving a variety of specialty pizzas and hand-crafted beers in the restored Engine House No. 9 since 2012. The beers and pizzas are both award-winning.
Runners up: The Chop House, Leo’s
- Mertens Prime
Runner up: Knoop
Mertens Prime, located in a renovated hotel that was built in 1914, provides French cuisine in a historic, elegant dining room, as well as a remarkably stunning view of the Grand Rapids skyline on the Mertens Rooftop.
- Schnitz Deli
Runner up: Two Beards Deli
Offering an extensive selection of classic deli sandwiches made from locally sourced ingredients, the world-famous Schnitz Deli has been a staple in Grand Rapids for decades, providing something good for all tastes.
Runner up: Fishlad’s
Runner up: The Score
Faro Uccello opened the first Uccello’s Ristorante Pizzeria & Sports Lounge in 1996. Now there are six Uccello’s locations across West Michigan, each serving a mixture of classic Italian dishes and bar food in a casual setting.
- The Chop House
Runner up: Ruth’s Chris
Steaks are tricky.
While a slab of meet is perfectly tasty after a stint on the grill, there are few ways to get more out of that perfect cut of beef.
Andrew Verburg, chef at The Chop House, takes us through a few easy ways to amp up a steak.
No. 1: We do aggressive seasoning. I’ve noticed cooking with family or people who are not too accustomed to cooking, they don’t use as much salt. We use an abundance of salt (and) a little black pepper. That’s it, just keep it clean and highlight the flavor of the meat.
No. 2: The equipment we use here, we keep very hot. A really good sear is key to ensuring a really flavorful steak.
No. 3: We like to temper the meat for an hour. What we do is bring it up to about 60 degrees and then we put it on the grill or broiler. I think tempering the steak is more important than the rest.
No. 4: Getting a good instant read thermometer is an incredibly useful tool. Whenever I train a new broil cook, I make them use it on every steak to get that touch and feel of a steak. They like to do that hand thing, but that really only works on filets or certain sirloins. Every meat is different, different toughness and fibers. A good instant read will not lie to you.
No. 4.5: I always go for a good Napa cab if I’m having steak. I really like a nice, melted cheese and a little bit of sauce. That’s what I go for. We have a number of sauces, too many for this space.
Runner up: Ju Sushi & Lounge
Founded in Okemos in 2009, Maru Sushi & Grill offers a variety of sushi dishes made with the freshest fish and vegetables, made-from-scratch sauces, and premium sushi rice from California in six different locations across the state of Michigan.
- Donkey Taqueria
Runner up: Tacos El Cuñado
Donkey has provided Grand Rapids with authentic Mexican dishes and beverages made with the freshest ingredients since opening its doors in 2009. From dining-in to catering events, Donkey creates a lively and entertaining atmosphere for all guests.
- Stella’s Lounge
Runner up: Anna’s House
- Brick Road Pizza Co.
The family-owned and operated Brick Road Pizza Co. offers an extensive menu full of pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta made with locally sourced ingredients, along with a large selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes as well.
As Grand Rapids’ first and only vegetarian restaurant, Gaia offers a complete and diverse menu of vegetarian dishes while providing a tranquil, classic cafe setting where guests can enjoy a meal and share various forms of art.
Runner up: San Chez
Runners up: Copper’s Hawk, House of Wine
The 2017 Grand Rapids Magazine Restaurant of the Year, Reserve prides itself on an impressive wine list. The restaurant has been recognized by Wine Spectator multiple times since 2012, showing West Michigan diners the curation is on point.
Runner up: Festival of the Arts
Since it first began in 2009, the open art competition has featured artists from all over the world and their various forms of art. For 18 days, the art is displayed throughout Grand Rapids, inviting visitors from near and far to view and discuss the various pieces.
Female TV Personality
- Ellen Bacca
Runners up: Deanna Falzone, Terri DeBoer
- Thousand Oaks Golf Club
Runners up: Saskatoon Golf Club, The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe
Rated a “4 ½ stars Places to Play” by Golf Digest, Thousand Oaks Golf Club provides a challenging and one-of-a-kind golfing experience on its four stunning courses, all offering a peaceful and enjoyable golfing environment for all skill levels.
Runner up: Desmond Jones
Touting themselves as West Michigan’s premier party band, Brena’s six members can trot out a wide range of instruments and play pretty much anything to keep parties flowing. Along with rocking out, Brena also offers a string quartet and DJ services.
- Fred Meijer White Pine Trail
Runner up: Kent Trails
The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail offers a 92-mile stretch of uninterrupted trail for West Michiganders to explore.
That awesome length helped it secure the best trail position by readers. Its size and the natural beauty found throughout the path also helped the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail achieve state park status.
A “rail trail,” the White Pine Trail was once the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, but converted to the path. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources eventually took control of the railroad land and started converting the rail beds to trails for the public.
For much of the 92-mile section between Comstock Park and Cadillac, the trail is a combination of natural and hard-packed gravel and paved asphalt.
From biking and running in the summer to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, the trail is a fantastic refuge for active residents.
The trail has waypoints throughout, offering parking and restrooms, but part of the joy is also venturing throughout the communities the trail passes through, including Rockford, Cedar Springs, Big Rapids and Sand Lake.
- River City Improv
Runner up: Pop Scholars
Since 1993, River City Improv has kept the laughs coming. With the art of improv more widely known now than when it started, the company has started to thrive more than ever. They don’t stick to West Michigan, either, as the troop has performed across the country.
- Z’s Bar & Restaurant
Runners up: Fulton Street Pub, Playstation Pub
Established in 1987, Z’s Bar & Restaurant provides a classic American bar atmosphere with a food and beverage menu full of pub favorites and entertainment in the form of Trivia night on Mondays, and live karaoke every Tuesday through Thursday night. Measure your vocal chops against Grand Rapids’ finest!
Live Music Venue
- GLC Live at 20 Monroe
Runner up: The Intersection
Established in 2017, GLC Live at 20 Monroe hosts a variety of live entertainment, music and other special events. The venue can hold over 2,500 people but has the unique ability to make nearly any event feel intimate, with most events being general admission and reserved balcony seating.
- Tony Gates
Runner up: Adrian Butler
Tony Gates has been with WLAV for 36 years and he’s kept mornings fresh for thousands of commuters every day. Gates and his crew do their best to keep the infectious laughter flowing out of the speakers.
What is the best part about hosting a morning radio show in Grand Rapids?
I’m a morning person. The best part of hosting a morning radio show is helping the non-morning people get up and get going. The morning people are up, but a lot of them don’t like their jobs or the people they work for or with, so we like to help them, too. When people tell me we made them smile, or better yet laugh, that’s a win for me. We go good with cereal.
What is your favorite concert you’ve attended?
Two of the most memorable in my life: Stevie Ray Vaughn’s last show ever at Alpine Valley. He was clean and sober and surrounded by friends for his encore, including Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy.
No. 1 for me came at the intimate Park West in Chicago when I was hired by Clive Davis and Arista Records and invited to a private showcase for one of the label’s young new voices three months prior to her debut release. Ladies and gentlemen: Whitney Houston.
Local Music Series
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Runner up: WLAV Blues on the Mall, Listening Lawn
Since 1995, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has provided guests with one of the best botanical and sculpture experiences in the nation. From self-guided tours to wedding ceremonies and their summer concert series, Frederik Meijer Gardens promotes a remarkable appreciation for various art forms and the natural environment. The annual summer concert series draws well-known acts from around the country.
Local Radio Show
- Free Beer and Hot Wings
Runner up: Gray and Green Show
A longtime syndicated radio show out of Grand Rapids, the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show has plenty of Americans laughing every morning on their way to work. It’s not all about entertainment, either;, each winter they “break into” homes of families in need to provide holiday cheer.
Local Visual Artist
- Michael Pfleghaar
Runner up: Kristin Zuller
Male TV Personality
- Bill Steffen
Runner up: Mike Avery
Bill Steffen is a stalwart of local media. Steffen has informed West Michiganders about the weather since 1974. He stepped aside to become chief meteorologist emeritus at WOOD TV 8 in summer of 2021, but his mustachioed smile still frequents local TV screens.
- Bill Steffen
Runner up: Ellen Bacca
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
Runner up: Grand Rapids Art Museum
Founded in 1854, the Grand Rapids Public Museum is the oldest museum in Michigan and provides a vast collection of artifacts and various temporary exhibits. GRPM aims to provide knowledge of and inspire visitors with the stories told through the artifacts and exhibits displayed.
- Robinette’s Applehaus & Winery
Runner up: Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm
Originally established as a peach farm in 1911, Robinette’s opened the Applehaus & Winery in 1973 and has been a Grand Rapids favorite since. Open year-round with activities and events for each season, Robinette’s Applehaus & Winery offers a one-of-a-kind experience and delicious, homegrown produce and baked goods.
- Millenium Park
Runner up: Riverside Park
Expanding across four West Michigan cities, 1,400 acres of land, and six miles of shore on the Grand River, Millennium Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States with amenities including nearly 18 miles of trails, a 6-acre beach, splash pad and boat rental.
Performing Arts Organization
- Grand Rapids Symphony
Runner up: Civic Theatre
Since 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony has kept the city entertained with an eclectic array of music. Each year, the symphony presents more than 400 shows and helps reach thousands of students with its music.
Place To Go Dance
Runner up: The B.O.B.
Mojo’s claims to be one of Grand Rapids’ most dynamic nightlife options, and with its dueling piano attraction, it might be hard to dispute that. Dancers at Mojo’s can request songs from the pianists, which keeps the evening (and dancers) moving.
Professional Sports Team
- West Michigan Whitecaps
Runner up: Grand Rapids Griffins
Founded in 1994, the West Michigan Whitecaps are the longest-tenured sports team in West Michigan. Since its inception, the baseball team has won six Midwest League titles and sent dozens of players to the Major Leagues.
Rock Climbing Gym
- Terra Firma Bouldering Co.
Runner up: Higher Ground Rock Climbing Centre
The Terra Firma Bouldering Co. creates a challenging and fun environment for climbers of any skill level with its 12,000-square-foot facility and 6,000 square feet of climbing terrain along with the help of a team made up of passionate, experienced climbers.
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Runners up: John Ball Zoo, ArtPrize
- WOOD TV 8
Runners up: FOX 17
The NBC affiliate has served West Michigan since 1949 — it was the first Michigan TV station outside Detroit. Its anchors have been trusted faces in Grand Rapids for decades, including a sweep this year with Best Male TV Personality, Best Female TV Personality and Best Meteorologist among Best Of GR voters.
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Runner up: Cheney Place
- Pinky’s Place
Runner up: Wallie’s Treasures Antique Mall
Pinky’s Place slipped into several categories of the Best Of poll this year.
Perhaps that’s because at Pinky’s Place, there’s a little bit of everything. Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Pinky’s Place, 4790 Alpine Ave. NW, features 130 booths and 145 vendors offering pretty much anything a customer might be looking for, from antiques and vintage goods to Michigan-made foods, sports memorabilia and home decor.
Pinky’s is a “whatnot shop,” a term used by Bert “Pinky” Anderson, who died in March 2021 from dementia. She was the anchor of Pinky’s Place, opened in 2013, which is an offshoot of the nonprofit Pinky’s Palace. The nonprofit uses proceeds from the sale of gently used items to help Kent County families struggling with dementia.
Along with the daily market, Pinky’s Place also hosts a variety of events, including a holiday open house in November.
- Fox Motor Group
Runner up: Kool Chevrolet/Toyota
Since 2000, the knowledgeable and compassionate employees of Fox Motors have provided customers in over 50 locations throughout the Midwest with new and used vehicles of more than 47 brands in a safe, friendly environment.
- Freewheeler Bike Shop
Runner up: Village Bikes
Constantly growing and expanding since opening in 1978, Freewheeler Bike Shop carries a tremendous amount of bikes, accessories and apparel from a wide range of brands and offers a full-service bike repair shop.
- Schuler Books
Runner up: Books and Mortar
Schuler Books creates a unique and enjoyable bookstore experience for all guests with a collection of over 150,000 book titles and 50,000 music titles, its full-service Chapbook Cafe and a spacious children’s area.
- Renee Austin Wedding
Runner up: Bridal Elegance
For over a decade, Renee Austin Wedding has offered an extensive selection of wedding dress and accessory styles from top bridal designers in a comfortable, inviting showroom for all brides-to-be.
Comic Book Shop
- Vault of Midnight
Runner up: Tardy’s Collectors Corner
In the past two decades, comics have grown in public consciousness thanks to the blockbuster Marvel and DC universes.
Need a primer behind those stories, head to Vault of Midnight, 95A Monroe Center St. NW, the best comic book store in Grand Rapids, according to readers.
While comic books were deemed geeky for years, the new era of movies and TV shows have turned them to main stream popular culture and nearly everyone wants a piece of them.
Beyond comic books, however, and readers can discover a variety of graphic novels — give them a shot, much more literary than you might think! — and collectables. They also hold special events and perform appraisals, just in case you’re sitting on a secret stash.
When Vault of Midnight opened in Downtown Grand Rapids, it helped usher in a new era of retail store fronts in the area. Vault of Midnight is not unique to Grand Rapids either, with stores in Ann Arbor and Detroit.
- Georgie’s Consignment Clothing
Runners up: Rock Paper Scissors, Elevated Grand Rapids
Located in the historic post house in the village of Ada, Georgie’s opened in 1981 when owner and namesake Georgie decided to sell the entirety of her professional wardrobe. Today, Georgie’s sells very gently used clothing from countless brands.
- Kennedy’s Flower Shop
Runner up: Eastern Floral
Awarded “Retail Florist of the Year” by Florists’ Review Magazine, Kennedy’s Flower Shop provides exquisite, professionally designed floral bouquets for any occasion using the freshest flowers in Grand Rapids.
- Talsma Furniture
Runner up: Stonesthrow
Founded in 1948 in Hudsonville, Talsma Furniture has provided a broad selection of furniture products that fit a variety of styles, budgets and comfort levels. It now has four locations across West Michigan.
- Romence Gardens
Runner up: Flowerland
Romence Gardens has been a family-owned and operated retail greenhouse for over 80 years and offers a variety of plants, as well as assistance in the care and upkeep of gardens.
Runner up: Kennedy’s Flower Shop
Rebel is a modern gift shop that offers a variety of gifts including jewelry, self-care products, home decor, games, candles and more. In its vibrant, charming environment, Rebel provides products from all over the world that aim to bring joy and inspire.
Runner up: Forest Hills Foods
With strong community values such as family, freshness, health and safety, and more than 240 locations throughout the Midwest, Meijer strives to provide customers with high-quality products and services, as well as a safe and successful shopping experience.
- Rylee’s Ace Hardware
Runner up: Kingsland Ace
Rylee’s Ace Hardware supplies customers with a variety of services and nearly any product needed to repair and maintain a home. While Ace Hardware has over 5,000 stores worldwide, the majority of its stores are run independently by local entrepreneurs, aiming to provide helpful hardware advice, tools and services.
- Pinky’s Place
Runner up: Kennedy’s Flower Shop
- DeVries Jewelers
Runners up: Almassian Jewelers, Bauble Patch Jewelers
One-hundred years after opening its doors, DeVries Jewelers continues to surpass customer expectations by providing high-quality pieces and extensive jewelry knowledge. DeVries Jewelers is an affiliate of several of the jewelry industry’s most esteemed organizations and offers custom jewelry design, appraisals and repairs.
Men’s Clothing Store
- Fitzgerald’s Men’s Store
Runner up: A.K. Rikk’s
With over 40 designers sold in-store and services including custom tailoring, hair styling by Groomed, and shoe-shining with Harley’s Shoeshine, Fitzgerald’s Men’s Store creates a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for men in Grand Rapids.
Place To Purchase Local Artwork
- LaFontsee Gallery
Runner up: Pinky’s Place
Originally established in 1987 as the Underground Studio and expanded in 1994, the award-winning LaFontsee Gallery has been a leader in West Michigan art culture for over 30 years. Carrying work by more than 60 artists, LaFontsee creates a casual environment with an appreciation and understanding for artwork.
- Martha’s Vineyard
Runner up: Horrock’s
Women’s Clothing Boutique
- Lee & Birch
Runner up: Leigh’s
Since 2007, Lee & Birch has provided shoppers with a great selection of women’s clothing and accessories.
Now, Lee & Birch stretches its inventory across four locations in West Michigan — Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Rockford and Kalamazoo.
The store prides itself on a “personalized shopping experience to each and every customer that walks into our stores and visits us online.” They must be doing a pretty swell job as our readers voted it best women’s clothing boutique.
Along with offering up a big selection in their showrooms, Lee & Birch also provides for a “fitting room to-go,” which allows shoppers to fill out a questionnaire and pick up a bag of favorite pieces to try on at home.
Readers like how the store will go above and beyond to find a new size or additional color of items for special orders.
- Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
Runner up: Animal Medical Center of Wyoming
The experienced and passionate veterinary team at Family Friends Veterinary Hospital are committed to providing top-notch care for pets throughout Grand Rapids. As a full-service veterinary with a staff of 11 doctors, Family Friends Veterinary Hospital creates a safe, comfortable and positive experience for families and their pets.
- Lake Michigan Credit Union
Runner up: Huntington Bank
With a mission to help businesses grow and communities thrive, Lake Michigan Credit Union is committed to providing financial help to all members through banking, borrowing and investing services.
Child Care Provider
Runner up: Appletree (and Gliden Woods)
The quality staff at Milestones helps each child further his or her development socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively through its play-based program. Milestones has five locations throughout West Michigan, offering accessible child care and a wide range of programs for varying ages.
Runner up: Kooistra Chiropractic
Award-winning iChiro offers safe, natural health care to patients all over Grand Rapids. Since 1998, iChiro has provided patients with modern computerized and manual chiropractic techniques, health and lifestyle advice, and massage therapy.
- Lake Michigan Credit Union
Runner up: Adventure Credit Union
- Design 1 Salon Spa
Runner up: The Woodhouse Day Spa
For over 40 years, Design 1 Salon and Spa has provided clients with exceptional and innovative spa treatment experiences. With five locations in West Michigan, Design 1 offers a variety of salon and spa services beautifully executed by talented, committed professionals.
- Thomas Lambert
Runner up: Stonecastle Dentistry
Dr. Thomas Lambert provides patients with safe, high-quality dental care, focusing on cosmetic and implant dentistry. Lambert has served as adjunct professor at the Grand Rapids Community College of Dental Hygiene for over 10 years and chair of the Michigan Dental Association’s Committee on Continuing Education for four years.
- Richard Ashack
Runner up: Dr. Rebecca Jansen
In the ever-changing field of dermatology, Dermatology Associates of West Michigan’s Dr. Richard Ashack is known for his skill and compassion for patients requiring various forms of treatments and services. Ashack specializes in pediatric and cosmetic dermatology, as well as laser and skin cancer surgery.
Doggie Day Care
- Animal Medical Center of Wyoming
Runner up: Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa
Since 1983, the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming has helped treat the pets of West Michigan residents, ensuring high quality health care for those who keep them company.
Accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming is a place that offers veterinary care for animals large and small.
But readers also love the extra services the animal center offers it lovable fur babies.
From grooming to boarding, the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming seemingly offers it all. But it’s the doggie day care that readers want to highlight.
With a turfed outdoor play area — complete with pool for the summer heat — dogs can run and play to their heart’s content.
It can be hard for pet owners to leave their animals in the care of another person, but sometimes it’s just as hard leaving them at home when work calls. A quality doggie day care can help solve those nerves and readers say the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming hits all the right notes.
- Alexandre Zucco
Runner up: Linsey Gleason
Estate planning attorney Alexandre Zucco of Dickinson Wright focuses on the design of customized estate plans and is passionate about assisting clients at varying stages of life in achieving their estate planning goals.
Family Law Attorney
- Connie Thacker
Runners up: Melissa Neckers, Carpenter & Judd Attorneys & Counselors, Varnum LLP
At Thacker Sleight, Connie Thacker works to take care of family law with a high level of care and discretion. Thacker has more than 20 years of experience and has been named Lawyer of the Year multiple times for divorce and family law.
- Amy Kwaiser and Brianna Cummings, Zumba With Amy & Bri
Runner up: Chad Hughes
Licensed Zumba instructors Amy Kwaiser and Brianna Cummings strive to make health and fitness fun by offering a mix of in-person and virtual classes ranging in difficulty, all while fostering an inclusive, loving environment for all participants.
- Jeffrey Richards Salon
Runner up: Design 1 Salon Spa
Since opening its doors in 2000 as an Aveda concept salon, Jeffrey Richards Salon has provided guests with a unique, sensory salon experience while being committed to giving back to the Grand Rapids community.
- Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton
Runner up: JW Marriott Grand Rapids
From its award-winning restaurants to its serene salon and spa, the Amway Grand Plaza’s knowledgeable and friendly staff has created a captivating environment that has given guests a luxurious, one-of-a-kind hotel experience since 1981.
- Fuschia Design
Runner up: Janel Joppie, Designer; Kathryn Chaplow LLC
Specializing in custom home renovations and luxury construction, Fuschia Design provides a variety of interior design services for Grand Rapids homeowners. The Fuschia Design team focuses on the idea that a strong relationship with the client is the most important aspect of every project.
- Tender Lawn Care Inc.
Runner up: Rooks Landscaping
Tender Lawn Care has been family-owned and operated since 1949 and provides high-quality landscape and snowplowing services to both commercial and residential clients throughout the greater Grand Rapids area.
- Design 1 Salon Spa
Runner up: Emily @ Palace Flophouse Salon
- Bengston Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery
Runner up: Plastic Surgery Associates Grand Rapids
Bengtson Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery aims to provide its patients and clients with safe, state-of-the-art products and procedures, as well as lead in the field of aesthetics and plastic surgery.
Residential Cleaning Service
- Cascade Fresh Cleaning Services
Runner up: Taylor Maids
Whether it’s a weekly cleaning or a special event, Cascade Fresh Cleaning Services has all customers covered. There’s a baseline cleaning to get in all the nooks and crannies, but the company also offers a variety of special-occasion cleaning services.
Residential Real Estate Firm
- Five Star Real Estate
Runner up: Greenridge Realty
Opened in 1996 by broker and owner Greg Carlson, Five Star Real Estate has become a leading real estate firm in West Michigan with the core belief that the relationship between homeowner and agent is the key to success.
- Holland Home
Runner up: UMRC and Porter Hills
Holland Home has provided Grand Rapids seniors with assisted living services, vibrant independent living and skilled nursing facilities since 1892. A commitment to care with compassion and love creates the best retirement experience for seniors with varying needs of assistance.
- Sovereign Arms Tattoo Co.
Runner up: Mos Eisleys Tattoo Studio
Specializing in Japanese, Blackwork, Traditional and Neo-traditional tattoos, Sovereign Arms Tattoo Co. creates a professional, hygienic environment for each client. With talented, experienced tattoo artists Gareth Hawkins and Brady Alberts, Sovereign Arms aims to provide the best tattoo experience in Grand Rapids.
- Funky Buddha Yoga Hot House
Runner up: AM Yoga
From yoga amateurs to veteran yogis, Funky Buddha Yoga Hot House creates a unique yoga experience in its 95-degree yoga studios. Funky Buddha’s experienced, passionate instructors provide fun and challenging hot yoga classes for anyone 18 and older, or 16 with a waiver signed by a legal guardian.
This story can be found in the January/February 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.